Jax Jones has been the definition of omnipresent on the radio and the charts. Indeed, courtesy of colossal hits such as ‘Instruction’ with Demi Lovato and Stefflon Don and ‘I Got U’ with Duke Durmont, the 31-year-old has been an inescapable force.
And he shows no signs of deviating from that trajectory.
This week, the ever-dependable hitmaker has announced ‘5 Alive Tour.’ Setting sail in November, the trek will see Jones pour out good vibes across London, Leeds, Manchester, and more.
In a candid chat with That Grape Juice, the star touches on his rise, his influences, dream collaborations, and much more.
You know the songs, now meet the man…
That Grape Juice (Sam): You’re a fixture on the radio with one hit after the next, after the next. But for those getting to know you, tell little bit about your journey up until this point.
Jax Jones: I am a music producer from London. You may not know me, but you will know my music. Even before my most well-known record which is ‘You Don’t Know Me’ featuring Raye or some people call that “Ooh, Na Na song”. I’ve written songs such as ‘I Got U’ for Duke Dumont, ‘Ocean Drive’ for Duke Dumont and even funnily enough The Vamps, ‘Can We Dance’ which was a fun one. And now this is me stepping out on my own and making you dance.
That Grape Juice. You have really unique cultural influences. Tell us a little bit about how that factors into your musical output.
Jax Jones: Yes so my mum is Chinese. My biological father, or as my wife likes to call him, my sperm donor, is Turkish. My stepdad’s Nigerian. So yes, it’s a bit mad. To be fair, it was my stepdad who came along when I was eight years old that kind of put me onto decent music. He had a massive record collection, CDs, tapes and seven Inches. He’d collect a lot of R&B and Blues records. He made me Kris Kross mixtape with ‘Jump’ and more. I spent my primary school days going singing that song in the playground.
So yes, all of that kind of combined. That and African music too. So I don’t know, I just absorbed all that stuff as well as 2000’s era Hip-Hop and Dance music. It all creeps into what I do now. I have this playlist that I just listen to of all my influences and I try to pull them into modern day kind of context all the time.
That Grape Juice: Now, your tour, we are super excited to hear that you are heading out on the road this November…
Jax Jones: Yes. It’s going to be sick, man. Five dates, 5 Alive tour.
That Grape Juice: You’re a producer but I’ve seen your performances. You’re very much a part of the spectacle. You’re dancing, you’re revving up the crowd. You’re very much in and of the performance. What can fans expect from your show?
Jax Jones: My show is something that you will remember forever. It’s going to feel like the best party in the world. And you’re going to hear some great music. You’re going to be able to walk away feeling like you had a unique experience. There’s going to be special guests. There’s going to be all the special effects. I’m playing live so not just pressing play which everyone thinks DJs just turn up and do that. I’m dropping some bass guitar, dropping some keyboards in there. It’s like all the essence of a live show but still banging.
That Grape Juice: You’ve teamed up with major names such as Demi Lovato, Stefflon Don, Duke Dumont, Raye as you mentioned. Can we expect to see any of these names on the bill with you?
Jax Jones: Yes. I try to have really good relationship with everyone I’ve worked with. It’s all very natural. I text them and say “yo, I got this thing. Can you come through?” And we just do it. I’ve done that loads of times. We did the Radio One Big Weekend and I had every single person I’ve worked with come and perform on that stage with me that day; even Demi Lovato with her crazy schedule. So for me it’s just one call away.
That Grape Juice: And speaking of collaborations, you’re always cooking up something. Is there anyone we could expect to see you on record with coming up soon?
Jax Jones: Yes, I got a lot of stuff in the pipeline. Sometimes I’ve given it away too early and I’ve kind of stuffed myself. But I will say I’ve been in the studio with really talented people such as Jess Glynne, Martin Solveig. I’ve been in the studio. We’ve got a really exciting record. I’ve been in the studio with Ellie Goulding and been just writing really good music. I’m at a good place.
That Grape Juice: We’re looking forward to it. And in terms of Dream Team, if you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
Jax Jones: My actual dream is to do a song without a collaborator on it. I want to either use my own voice or create a piece of music that travels a long way and it’s just Jax Jones. I think it’s important for a producer to do that at the right time and I’m definitely getting the itch for that.
That Grape Juice: That’s a great, great answer. That’s literally the first I’ve ever heard anyone say that.
Jax Jones: Cheers. It’s true [laughs]
That Grape Juice: No worries. And I know you went to Brunel University as did I as well.
Jax Jones: Bruuuunnnel!
That Grape Juice [Laughs]: How would you say that uni experience- the academic grounding – has impacted your music career?
Jax Jones: Well. If anything it kind of hindered my music career because I was moonlighting. I feel ashamed to say, you know, I did my dissertation in a week!
University was cool as it gives you … You have to learn discipline; you have to kind of take control of your situation. So that was kind of what I learned from uni. I just, I’m not a big advocate for uni, Bruv. I think for me the lessons came from outside the classroom. Do you know what I mean? I think if you’re looking to study academically just to further your knowledge, then yes it’s a good look. But for me, I built a nice community of friends and contacts at uni. I met some cool people but where I’m at now is directly due to the discipline that my mother taught me to be honest with you and not what uni taught me.
That Grape Juice: Kind of pivoting a little bit. Who were some of your biggest inspirations?
Jax Jones: Bra, I’ve got a few, you know. Some of my biggest inspirations. Okay. Pharrell, Pharrell Williams. I love his career and I love the music he made and the impact he made on pop culture. I love Calvin Harris again. His consistency is something I aspire to. And then on a live tape-I always blank out when people ask me for names. Let’s see, on a more worldly tip. Who do I talk about? No one. Oh Fatboy Slim.
That Grape Juice: Fatboy Slim. That’s an interesting one. Why him?
Jax Jones: Just like one of the most successful British DJs to ever do it and made seminal records. I think that’s what I love about dance music is you can make seminal-you can make records that define a period of time …
That Grape Juice: Up until this point what would you say the best advice and worst advice you received along the way?
Jax Jones: The best advice I received is to do music every day. That is the best advice. And then the worst advice I’ve ever received was “f*ck him (over). Don’t pay him.”
That Grape Juice: What would you say the biggest lesson you’ve personally learned on your journey has been?
Jax Jones: The thing is everyday I’m learning a different thing because I’m a very conscientious person. So I can’t tell you (exactly), but the main sticking point is preferring to approach creating music with the same ruthlessness I did at the start. Keeping that same energy where you just try anything, do anything, see whether it works without thinking about the result. And that’s the only way that your art will stay pure.
That Grape Juice: That’s a great one. And final question; a year from what would you like to have achieved?
Jax Jones: A year from now, I’d like to have a top ten album. I’d like to headline a festival and yes, I’d like to have eaten a lot of ramen!
Visit Live Nation for ticket info on Jax Jones’ ‘5 Alive Tour’