“I think I decided long ago that music is what I wanted to do and that’s where I wanted to be because there’s pretty much nothing else I can do.”
What do you get when you mix an afro rocking, (serious) music enthusiast with a record deal to Sony and an impressive collection of tour dates being added to their belt? Introducing Jagga, an east-London musician that has been taking the stage at all of your favorite festivals, working with the coolest producers in the industry and gaining over half a million YouTube views on his current single, ‘Love Song’. Amaru Don TV caught up with the man himself to discuss everything from Sizzla to signing with Sony.
Your new single ‘Love Song’ is due to be released towards the end of July, and the music video has been causing quite a few YouTube comments to say the least. The idea behind the video was genius, what was the idea behind the song itself?
When I wrote the song I just started playing around with some beats. I just kind of got this real menacing vibe going on in the track and came up with some words to go with it. It just came very naturally, the whole idea for the track. It wasn’t really like I was sitting there putting myself into this crazy vibe for it, it just came very naturally.
Since 2010 when you released ‘Modern Day Romance’, you’ve taken quite a big leap into the industry. You’re now signed to Sony and you have toured with Katy B. How are you finding the transition from being an unsigned artist to being part of a label?
I think to a large extent a lot of the artists I meet have had the same experiences when they get signed. A lot of the fun goes out of making music for a start, and it becomes more about business and about other peoples opinions of what you should be doing. So it can be a really difficult road depending on who you’re signed to and whether they’re open or not. But yeah, it has been really good, it’s been two years since ‘Modern Day Romance’ but at the same time it’s been like a long time coming for me. I’ve been involved with a lot of different bands, a lot of different things, so it’s been a long road and quite a difficult one at times. But I kind of feel like my mission now is like … I’m only thinking about getting this album out right now. And I feel like the mission is approaching its end so yeah, I’m really happy.
Would you say you’re pretty much finished with your debut album?
Yeah, we’re drawing to a close on it really. I think I’ve got all the tracks that I need. I’m just looking at it now and thinking about whether there are any holes or any gaps and just trying to fill those gaps. There’s a few new sessions going on, a few new producers that I’m working with. There’s stuff I’m working on at home myself too and at the moment we’re just finishing the production on the tracks. The release date is probably going to be January…towards the end of January. I’m sure we’ll be finished by January!
Just going back to earlier on in the interview, you mentioned you were in a band. Would you say you prefer working as a solo artist, or do you miss the days of Devils Gun?
(Laughs) How did you know about that?! I think for me there’s something about being in a stand-alone band. I mean you get together, you start touring and you’re all in it together. You’ve all got one common mission and one common goal, which is to try and make it and get somewhere with what you’re doing. It’s kind of very different to what I’m doing now where I’ve got professional musicians working around my project. Which is really cool, they’re great guys and everything but the camaraderie you get from being in a band and you’re travelling up and down the country with no money and having to rely on each other and everything, its kind of hard but it’s a lot of fun as well. There are things I miss about being in a band but at the same time now I don’t have to compromise with other band members about what I want to do, I can do what I want so, yeah. Pros and cons.
What would you say would be the deepest song on your album?
Oh that’s easy, it’s a track called ‘Out of Control’ and it’s not really… it hasn’t got a structure like a normal song. It’s kind of, I think its about one minute, forty seconds long but it’s like, everyone who listens to it understands that it’s so special and that it’s a quite passionate song. I think most people who listen to it are affected by it in some way.
Staying on topic of being affected by music, you have enforced in many of your interviews that you have an all round approach to the music you enjoy listening to. One of these artists being Sizzla. You said in a previous interview “He makes really spiritual music”. So would you say that you are a spiritual person yourself?
Yeah, I’d say so. I wouldn’t say religious, but I believe there’s more going on around us than people realize. But I don’t think it’s anything to do with religion, it’s just my personal beliefs and my personal feelings about the world, but yeah.
What are your thoughts on destiny then?
I believe everyone creates their own destiny. I don’t think that anything is set in stone. I think when you start looking at science like the quantum theory, you know like… there are like thousands of possible roots in time that we can take, and every decision we make takes us into a different one of those paths. So I kind of believe that. I think you have control over your destiny.
You’ve worked with some big names in the past, for example people from Odd Future, M.I.A, Florence and the Machine. But who would you say you had the most fun working with?
I worked with a guy called Fabien Waltmann who’s interesting because he’s worked on a lot of really massive albums and so I’m really lucky to be working with him and he’s the person that I really connect with most when I’m making music and I made out of control with him, and a couple of other tracks. The thing is I’ll get into a studio session with him and we’ve got like, I don’t know, like six hours to work and we’ll spend like 3 hours talking and three hours working so you know there’s always a lot to talk about a lot of common subjects to touch on and everything. I think him, yeah.
Out of all of the festivals that you are doing this year, which one are you the most excited about?
The one I’m looking forward to playing the most is Lounge on the farm because last year they were just crazy. So I’m definitely looking forward to playing there again.
Are you feeling nervous about any of the festivals you’re performing at?
I don’t think I’m really that nervous about playing any of them, I find smaller shows more nerve-racking than the big ones I think. I always find that the less people, the more nerve-racking it is. Because when you’re working with a big crowd you always gets a response and everyone’s jumping around and having fun, so it’s easier.
Interview by @TiffanyCalver
Jagga’s current single ‘Love Song’ will be available to buy on July 23.
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