JackEL talks influences, career plans and more: Interview
From performing at EDC Las Vegas in 2019 to owning his own label, producer and DJ JackEL is causing a commotion within the electronic scene as of late. Releasing his first single at the age of 16 (‘Too Young To Die’ with rapper MiMs), he’s been in the game for a while now and knows the ins and outs of the scene, and navigates it all with ease thanks to the insane amounts of talent he has. Garnering over 8 million Spotify streams currently, and finding his music on the Beatport charts regularly, there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to this young superstar and we managed to catch up with him for a chat.
How long have you been a producer/DJ for? Tell us about the origin of your music. What inspired you to pursue your career as an artist?
Hey, I’ve been a producer for over 15 years. I’ve been a DJ for 10 years. I started music at age 8 picking up a guitar, and forming bands. I started touring at age 12 in choirs in church which got me comfortable performing in front of people. I started on Fruit Loops at 13 years young and moved to Ableton Live at age 14. I haven’t looked back from Ableton and still use it daily. I was born into this reality that has been filled with pleasing music. I love to perform, play, hear and enjoy music. I’m addicted to creating musical art. The expression / emotional purge brought by creating music is my vice.
Who do you consider to have been your biggest influences throughout your career, that have made an impact on your productions?
Starting off at at 13 on Fruit Loops I was inspired by the electronics acts of the time. NERO, deadmau5, Showtek, Steve Aoki. I love dance music, and continued to fill my reality with more of it. Before EDM filled my life, I really enjoyed Nirvana, AC/DC and many rock, grunge alternative bands. All the music i’ve ever heard throughout my entire life has been pooled together in my head as ingredients for my JackEL songs. At this time in my career (2020), I enjoy lots of music and produce many genres. I’m inspired by the need to get a higher quality sound out. I’m also very inspired to expand my music knowledge and produce music that is an extension of me at that time.
Congratulations on your new record ‘Isolated’. What’s the story behind this record?
Thanks, I drop around a song a week. ‘Isolated’ with Monäva & Avis Ellis came out the same day as my other song ‘Stay Apart’. ‘Isolated’ was a remix I was hired to produce, I had no part in writing the lyrics, only producing the instrumental from scratch. The beat to me is for clubs and has a funk / disco vibe held within. The singer wrote her story with the lyrics, and I wrote my energetic beat to back up the energy. My other new song ‘Stay Apart’ has me singing on it which is fun for me. I had a blast writing the lyrics and singing on ‘Stay Apart’.
Looking at the whole Covid-19 situation and its impacts, how did the situation affect you as an artist?
As an artist I couldn’t pursue my tours planned. My dad was very paranoid and it caused me pain knowing that.
Looking at your music catalogue with releases such as ‘Straight To Your Heart’ which is reggae-influenced and your dubstep banger ‘Jacked Up’ to your recent track ‘Isolated’ which is a pure house record, you have a very diverse sound. How do you produce such different sounding tracks whilst maintaining your signature sound?
I don’t think I have a signature sound, I just produce music. I put my tools, love and emotion into my songs. I don’t look at music as genres. I look at music as a blessing we all have the ability to enjoy. I don’t really like dubstep now, because its not something i’m personally vibing with. I can produce dubstep, and will if needed, but i’d prefer house, hip hop or latin music to produce right now. I’m all about creating a sound that I can tour off of and play live. I don’t want to spin an hour long dubstep set standing behind turntables pressing play. I’d rather be on stage with my Grammy winning friend Skip Martin on the trumpet, and have a drummer and guitar player and perform a whole vibe instead of a one genre set. I’m thankful for my ability to produce multiple genres, and I am eager to venture into new areas music takes me.
Going on to talk about his record label, we wanted to get an insight as to how he runs it, as well as talk about the story behind it and future plans he has for the label going forward into following years.
As the head-honcho of the record label and musical collective FVYDID, could you tell us a bit more about the story of it? What was the reason behind starting your own label and hub of talented musicians? How’s the journey so far?
Thanks for asking. I started FVYDID in 2016 as a result of the fact that I was surrounded by super skilled producers who needed help getting their art on music stores. I was signed to a label in 2016 that I legally had to get out of to pursue my own label FVYDID. I need to be the boss of my music, to insure the songs protected and promoted correctly. I draw happiness from exploring the other areas inside the music industry. Producing / remixing and creating the music is only one step. Releasing . marketing and promoting music is another step entirely. FVYDID has a beautiful journey so far, and its really just the beginning. I’m thankful for the entire team at FVYDID. We’re growing and we will be unstoppable soon.
Following the previous question, what are you aiming to achieve with FVYDID? Where do you see the label’s direction in 5 years from now?
FVYDID will be equal if not greater than all EDM labels. I’m shooting for the stars and want to expand into many genres with a dance twist. The goal of FVYDID has always been simple: protect / release and promote high quality art. I’ve always wanted to create a career for artists so they can do what they desire to do in life full time, without having to work at an unappealing job that sucks their energy. FVYDID is a family, community collective where we ride this musical journey together instead of apart. Together our experience and knowledge guides our releases on a successful path.
As a label owner and active artist, what advice would you give to other producers who are looking to achieve success in the industry?
Don’t stop doing what you want to do in life. No one thought the video game industry would be a billion dollar industry, but now kids are millionaires playing video games. Same thing with music. Every famous artist was a no one before they gained their fame. It takes time and passion to build up a successful career in any industry. Keep producing, keep expanding outwards and meeting new artists in this world. Follow your true passion and create good art.
What was it like DJing at EDC Las Vegas 2019, sharing a stage with Dirtyphonics, Delta Heavy, Skream and more?
One of the main reasons why I create art is to share it with a group of people. When I was 13 years old I loved to throw parties and be the DJ. I love hosting an event and guiding the journey with sound. Fast forward 9 years into the future and i’m DJing Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas 2019. I got to see my brothers in the crowd cheering me on, very proud. I got to smoke a big joint whilst DJing on stage. It was the best feeling of my life, and I can’t wait for more festivals. I still get messages from fans telling me they saw my set at EDC.
You’ve releases a song or more on 16 labels in the past 365 days. Why so many different labels?
Because of my unique past, I am very specific on which label I want to give one of my songs to. The 16 record labels i’ve released on all home a JackEL art piece and i’m thankful for that. I personally needed to see what other labels do to artists when they release their song. I took all the best things from each label and now use those practises for FVYDID with our artists. I needed to take advantage of these label’s networks and see which label provided the best promotion. Basically, its an ongoing experiment releasing on different labels. I would never release on the same label twice unless its FVYDID or a label that provides great marketing from their organic fan base.
What does the rest of 2020 hold in store? Any hints or clues that we could get about future productions and collaborations? Any interesting gigs in the pipeline?
It could hold anything, I think all of us on earth are waiting to see what happens. I can’t tour until the countries allow me to. I’ve got new music coming out on Play Records, FVYDID Records, Repost (SoundCloud) and many other labels this year. I’m collaborating with Anthony Oak and Monäva right now and i’ll be headed to Japan, Canada and Jamaica as soon as I can! In the meantime i’ll be in Las Vegas / California working on more music. I also have an amazing album coming out soon caleld ‘Roots Reggae Wine’.
As you can see, he is a very versatile producer with clear plans to what he wants to achieve. Whilst we wait for his brand new album, you can catch him over on Facebook to stay tuned with what he’s getting up to.
Image credit: via official JackEL Facebook page