An Interview With Jordan Jackson
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An Interview With Jordan Jackson

Jordan Jackson's new EP "As Audrey Asked, Where's Paul Newman" is a breath of fresh air in the indie music scene.

An Interview With Jordan Jackson

A lot of people assume that my taste in music is strict to Hip Hop and R&B, but music has so much to offer than for me to stick to one genre alone. I've mentioned before that I had a punk phase, and through that, I discovered so much variety in music. I tend to stick with Rap primarily because it's evolving so much and so fast that there's so much to talk about. I've strayed away recently from Rock and Indie just because there're so many blatant cash grab artists out there that I really don't feel like sorting through trash, but recently I listened to an EP that revitalized my energy in independent music. It's unethical as a 'reviewer' not to bring up that I grew up with this guy, then again I'm not really reviewing anything I'm just giving you my opinion, and I have no problem telling someone that I don't like their music, but this EP is not that. It's actually good. There I said it. There's something about knowing the grind that really goes into music, and actually telling a story that reinvigorates my love of music.

It's hard to tell you how much crap I have to listen to, to finally get something worth talking about. Now this EP isn't long by any means, in fact, it's only ten minutes, but in those ten minutes, Jackson brings more promise than some of the garbage being released these days. Now I'm gonna do something I usually don't do, and take a backseat to writing and let Jordan Jackson tell you his story, his process, and his ideas himself. I interviewed him, and I don't feel the need to take anything he said out. Now do yourself a favor and listen to the EP now or after, but you need to and you're gonna be more than surprised at the result. Now I'll meet you at the end and recap, enjoy. (Here's a list of places you can listen to the EP, so there's no excuse for you not to do so).

An Interview with Jordan Jackson

Donald Reuben: After listening to the EP it's clear you're not taking the typical cash grab variety of independent music. How'd you get your start in making music and has it always sounded like this?

Jordan Jackson: I started making music back in May of this year as finals were approaching to try and relieve some stress. All I had then was my guitar, my girlfriend's iPad, and this really cheap iRig interface adapter to play my guitar into. There weren't any serious intentions of composing music but as soon as I put down some drum loops and started playing some guitar bits over it, I felt this light go off inside my head. I started to come up with melodies and bass lines and eventually I released my first song "Twins" in late May. It was my first release to the public and although nobody really listened to it, my friend Vince told me that he really enjoyed the overall sound of the song and that encouraged me to keep going. I released two other songs this past summer but then realized that it would make more sense to put together some sort of EP or album. Those songs aren't similar to what is on this new EP but for me, it was good to put some music out there and hear people's critiques of them. It helped these new batch of songs to sound much more cohesive. My girlfriend Amber never let me get too discouraged and I'm really thankful she continued to push me to keep making music.

DR: Where does the title of the EP come from? Is it random or is there more meaning to it?

JJ: Around the time I started recording this EP I revisited a lot of films from the 1950's and 60's that Audrey Hepburn and Paul Newman starred in that my grandmother would show me when I was really young, like 7 or 8 years old. She was a big movie buff and I remember being completed infatuated with Hepburn and Newman. Audrey was just perfect to me and Paul was and still is the coolest man that ever lived. All of the memories from those times came rushing back to me and it eventually inspired the overall theme of these songs. The EP tells the story of one night where a down on his luck guy meets this wild, eccentric woman and has the time of his life. But the next day the party has ended and they both realize that the place they're in isn't good for them. So they both separately leave this dead end town, driving off into the night with the memories of the night prior still on their minds. The whole EP is like the three acts of a film, "Sabrina" is the wild night between the two people, "Flowers by the Door" is the morning after where they realize they can't stay in this town or with each other forever, and "Night Drive" is the instrumental outro that would play as both of them drive away into the night. It all goes back to the films from my youth, and Audrey Hepburn and Paul Newman would be the stars of this EP if it were a film.

DR: Favorite rapper?

JJ: Of all time: Big L. Right now: Kanye West. Big L did in one album what some rappers can't achieve in their whole career. Lifestylez ov da Poor & Dangerous has the greatest lyrics and rhymes of all time. Kanye West is still one of the most exciting, dangerous, influential artists out today. In a music world full of bland artists giving bland interviews with no passion, he's the exception that still pushes people's buttons and I love it.

DR: Favorite musician in any genre?

JJ: Just on a technical level, Johnny Marr is the greatest guitarist of all time to me. The sounds he gets out of the guitar and the iconic guitar parts that are littered through those Smiths albums are untouchable. No one can play like Johnny Marr except Johnny Marr. "The Headmaster Ritual" and "Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others" are my personal favorite Marr riffs, I could listen to him play all day long. I've seen him live twice and let me tell you, God is British and he plays the guitar like no other.

DR: You told me you do all your own instrumentals besides some of the loops, when did you start learning to play all these instruments as well as producing on your own?

JJ: The first instrument I played was the drums when I was 14. I got an electronic drum set and played them for a while but I lost interest and decided to buy a really cheap acoustic guitar when I was 16. Oasis were the band that made me want to go out and get a guitar, so all of my knowledge of chords and tabs come from watching Noel Gallagher. Such simple playing but it taught me how to get emotion out of a chord pattern. I really love playing the guitar, it's the ultimate stress reliever for me. I'm left handed so I play an upside down 1984 Les Paul and I have my own way of playing, I love it. I also play all of the bass parts in my songs with my electric guitar and just manipulate it until it sounds like a bass guitar. I just try to make it sound as authentic as possible with the limitations I have.

DR: If you had to compare your EP to any piece of pop culture made, what would it be?

JJ: Like I said before, this EP feels like a movie about two lovers who need to go their own way in life and move apart. Modern movies like Blue Valentine or Blue is the Warmest Colour were also big influences on this EP, along with those classic films from Hepburn and Newman. Musically it sounds a lot like early Kings of Leon, like something off of Youth and Young Manhood or Aha Shake Heartbreak. "Sabrina" reminds me of their song "Red Morning Light" and "Flowers by the Door" reminds me of "Talihina Sky."

DR: You're a student and a musician. Take me on the day to day life of Jordan Jackson.

JJ: I always wake up between 7 and 8 AM. During the week I have classes and I work on the weekends at a family owned grocery store. I graduate from Towson University in the fall of 2017 with a bachelor's degree in Information Technology. I'm not the greatest student in the world so I have to dedicate a lot of time to just review my work so the information can stick with me. Any free time I can find goes to messing around with my guitar, coming up with song ideas. My approach to songwriting is grounded in a really simple principle; if I can play the entire song with just my guitar and it still sounds as effective as the full band version, I know I have a good song. I'm also really devoted to running, it's been a big part of my life ever since I joined my high school's cross country team back in 2010. Running is another big stress reliever for me so I try to run as much as I can each week in between everything else I have going on.

DR: Where are you from, and how (if it) has affected your music?

JJ: I'm from Baltimore, Maryland and I think the lack of music around me actually fuels my interest in it. Although there is a really great music scene in Baltimore with a lot of really interesting artists, I don't really know a lot of people my age who are really into music like I am so I think that gives me the inspiration to make it. Some current Baltimore artists that I'm a really big fan of are Reagan Cats, Face Value, and Natural Velvet. They're the young bands that really stick out to me and I have the pleasure of knowing some of the band members of each group. The eclectic nature of my neighborhood, Hampden, also really inspires my songwriting. It's really bohemian and has a lot of character to it.

DR: How long did this EP take to make?

JJ: I started recording this EP in late August after a small vacation to Ocean City, Maryland with my girlfriend. I knew that I wanted to make an EP and not just release another single on Bandcamp or SoundCloud. "Sabrina" came to me quickly and was the first song I recorded. I wanted that garage rock sound so I went back and listened to some early Kings of Leon and within a day I had the song completed and I was really happy with it. It's fast paced and a bit chaotic and I love it. "Flowers by the Door" took a little while longer to finish. I had the chords and the melody but no lyrics and no real direction for where the song was going. Then one late night I drank a little too much wine, sat down with my guitar, and the lyrics just came out of me. That's my personal favorite from the EP, it's tender and kind of beautiful."Night Drive" is completely different from the rest of the EP and sticks out like a sore thumb, but I don't care I love it. It's a great way to end the EP. It reminds me of Kavinsky's music. The intro "Hooligans" is complete nonsense but it was just an excuse to get my friend Vince somewhere in there and introduce a bit of chaos to the listener. Overall the EP took almost a month and a half to make and it was a really fun, relaxing experience. I'm already working on my first full-length album that I plan to release on Spotify in 2017.

So what rating would I give this? Probably a really great out of 10. Like I've said a dozen times before music is subjective and I really enjoyed this project, but it's up for you to decide. I think even if you don't listen to music as intensely and analytically as I do you'll enjoy this project. So this week I'll be listening to "As Audrey Asked, Where's Paul Newman?" and the new A$AP Mob tape, so enjoy your music, and as always, thanks for reading. Keep an eye on my boy Jordan Jackson, he's got great things in store.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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