“For my 16th birthday, I got a Tascam 4 track recorder. There was no metronome so I used to play the whole beat live for 4 minutes, record over the top and pray it was all in sync.”
Live beat-maker and multi-instrumentalist Jax Jones is, at his roots, a solo act. Growing up in a multi-ethnic household, Jax was exposed to a wealth of influences. After his Nigerian stepfather introduced him to afrobeat via Fela Kuti and rap with a tape of the Biggie Smalls album, Jax’s musical diet developed to consist of Hip Hop, R&B, Gospel and traditional African music. Producers like The Neptunes, Timbaland and Rodney Jerkins shaped his musical horizons and his fascination with the anatomy of a rhythm section. Having initially studied classical guitar from a young age, Jax took up beat-making at 15 after discovering Cubase on his friend’s Atari. Cutting his teeth at open mic clubs around London, Jax eventually came together with Rippermann, an up-and-coming grime producer from Mitcham at Brixton’s Raw Materials Studio and worked on notable releases for Big Narstie and Roadside Gs, among others in the scene.
The son of two teachers, Jax was encouraged to go to uni at 18. Opting to stay closer to his beloved Raw
Materials, he declined an interview at Oxford to attend Brunel. Despite a two hour trip, Jax went from lectures to the studio daily to work on his craft, posting beats regularly on MySpace. After graduation, Jax rented a studio in Sydenham after not being allowed back in the family home, bought a mac tower from Gumtree and worked daily to hone his craft. After meeting Duke Dumont, he developed his passion for house music and co-wrote and produced “I Got U” and “Ocean Drive”, both huge global smashes.
His latest single “You Don’t Know Me”, reached #3 in the UK Singles Chart and was a club smash. Jax says of the track, “The vocal was inspired by a lot of bashment and general bravado. I spent the next day writing and experimenting with different basslines which were good but not quite doing it. I’ve always been obsessed with the Booka Shade and MANDY Body Language track - its been a staple in my DJ sets - so I tried it and it was lit. We approached them and I was honoured when they gave me approval to use their notes. Bringing their classic techno sound to our new house setting is a total joy for me as I always want to show the audience today who the teachers of the music who inspired me are.”