After an energetic and insightful Master Class in Production and Songwriting at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, we caught up with UK DJ and Producer Jax Jones to talk about his huge success to date and his recent collaboration with Martin Solveig.
Since his first release as featured artist on Duke Dumont’s 2014 smash hit “I Got You” his career has gone through the roof with three top 10 UK releases and three number 1 UK Dance hits including Breath which was 2018’s most Shazam’d dance track.
Electric Mode: Hi Jax, it’s a pleasure to meet you! We can’t start this interview without mentioning some stats and credentials; You are Grammy, Ivor Novello and Brit nominated, you have 2 billion streams with 20 million single sales, you’re within the top 100 most streamed artists in the world and your hit BREATH was 2018’s most Shazam’d dance track in the world! We’re blown away just reading that and you’re the person who’s made it happen! Can you tell us a little about how you started out and how you reached such incredible success?
Jax: I come from a musicians background, I didn’t start out in Dance Music. I learnt classical guitar from a young age and then I was in a band for a little while but Dance music was a way to be an artist and my own man again. I guess the first time you would have heard of me was on “I Got You” with Duke Dumont. Duke and I then went on to write and produce Ocean Drive and various other tracks and then I figured I should try and do this on my own, you know, figure it out for myself and the first record I achieved that with was most notably “You Don’t Know Me” which peaked at number 3 in the Uk charts.
Electric Mode: So would you consider yourself a musician first and foremost before a Producer, DJ and Remixer?
Jax: These days I can’t really put a title on myself. I just do a bit of everything and I try to do what ever I am focusing on in that moment to the best of my ability. I am also always keen to work with people who are better than me to allow me to grow and better myself. To be honest, I know a little bit about a lot and I just combine it all together until I get the finished product I am happy with.
Electric Mode: So here we are at the 12th IMS, Ibiza. How important are events like this to you and what do you take away from them?
Jax: It’s really cool to bring a community together and I think that’s one thing I have appreciated the most about this conference, bringing the Dance Music professional community together. I was really excited to be able to deliver my Mater Class on Production and Song Writing although I was pretty nervous! It’s kind of cool to share what you know and what you do but at the same time you have to be really secure about it so you’re confident what your sharing is of value. I think I managed that though, everyone seemed to like it! Also, these events bring awareness to key issues within the industry so it can be really powerful to discuss such issues and move towards improving areas of the industry that need addressing.
Electric Mode: Talking about key issues, it’s mental health week and this topic has played a big part here at IMS this year. Tell us how you keep yourself grounded between tour life, studio life and everything else that this industry throws at you – how do you achieve a healthy balance?
Jax: It’s actually something I’ve struggled with. Being a musician, regardless of what genre you’re in takes it’s toll on your mental health because by nature you’re offering part of yourself every time you deliver a new track or project which can be draining. The way I like to deal with it is to take regular breaks, which I can now and actually my secret weapon are my relationships. I have a very strong relationship with my Wife and that has always been a powerful thing for me, you know, to help balance me out because the peaks and troughs of being a creative can be pretty intense. Of course, I also make time to do things for myself like exercise and meditation, It’s important to do things aside from music that you value and to know that music isn’t everything. There is an end to Music and I’m only learning that just now. Everyone has their boxes they tick and mine was a certain level of success and when I reached that point I thought, do you know what, I’m going to take this a little less seriously, I can still be in it but not be so attached to everything.
Electric Mode: As just mentioned at the top of the interview, you are incredibly successful in your own right, can you tell us a bit more about Europa and your collaboration with French DJ & Producer Martin Solveig?
Jax: Yes! So, Europa is so cool for me because I’m back in the clubs and Martin is someone I have looked up to for a long time. We met for the first time here in Ibiza at his Pacha residency and we were hugging at the end of our DJ sets – there was an instant connection with us musically so when we got into the studio it was all very natural and we realised had a very similar way of working. I feel like I am part of a super group with Martin as I really look up to hims for me this opportunity is something I’m really relishing and learning from.
Electric Mode: Something you mentioned in the Master Class is how much you enjoy collaborations as it helps with your own growth as an artist, learning from others etc…
Jax: It’s something I’ve had to learn to accept because within the industry there’s a certain taboo with working with people – you kind of think that you have to do everything yourself and the minute I accepted that this isn’t the case and that so much can come from a collaboration I just learnt to enjoy the process and the shared result. The thing I love most about collaborating is taking another persons work and adding my spin on it. It’s like a good sample. You pay to get a sample pack and then you manipulate it to make it your own. It’s such a special thing when you get to do that with someone you look up to.
Electric Mode: What does the rest of 2019 look like for you? Do you hit the festival circuit and if so which ones can we find you at?
Jax: I’m everywhere!
Electric Mode: OK, tell us which is your favourite festival to play?
Jax: Well I’m sad I’m not playing Reading or Leeds – those are my favourites! But I am playing Isle of White, both weekends at Tomorrow Land where I’ll make my main stage debut and Europa will also debut at Tomorrow Land and Ultra in Croatia. Oh and SW4 – back to my hood!
Electric Mode: And finally, for anyone with a passion for music who is looking to turn it into their career – what defining piece of advice would you offer them?
Jax: I think it’s different for every person because everyone’s personality is different – what resonates with them etc but for me personally the minute it changed for me is when I believed in my material enough to know what was good about it and was humble enough to know what was weak about it. Once I cracked that I had the confidence and know how to strive to perfect my music and also not to think that I had to do everything by myself. If you can apply this approach to your work – you’ll fly!
Jax Jones latest single with Jess Glynn “One Touch” is out now. For his latest releases and news follow him: