Interviews

[INTERVIEW] JackLNDN On How Producing “Everything” Helped Him Find His Sound



August 21st, 2015

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Heading off a whirlwind of festival gigs, his first EP, Summer Never Ends, and assisting in production for Lupe Fiasco’s latest album, JackLNDN is everywhere. And with good reason — the house producer and DJ blends a deeper sound into his music, merging various styles into traditional house as he introduces heavier bass lines, pop and hip hop vocals, and varying tempos.

 

 

At Mysteryland 2015, JackLNDN woke up an early afternoon crowd with his high-energy set. “Are you ready to get bouncy?” he announced, launching into his signature sound — a dedicated house set with a hint of his widespread influences. Over the course of an hour-long set, he incorporated groovy house tracks with a slew of pop tracks, from Aluna George’s “Supernatural” to Faith Evans’s “Love Like This” to Mariah Carey’s “Emotions.” After a hard-hitting groove with Paul Richmond’s “Commitment,” he launched into Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” split up by a choppy, slapping bass. And as a nod to his fans, he gloriously wrapped up with his epic edit of Clean Bandit’s “Rather Be.”


 

I met with JackLNDN after his Mysteryland set at the pavilion of the Woodstock Museum — in the midst of festival season, the artist was a bit jet-lagged, but his enthusiasm bled through as we discussed festival wristbands (mine was sparkly; his was not!), music, and production.
jacklndn interview 2015 sarah

 

First of all, congratulations about Summer Never Ends — that’s kind of a huge deal. What was it like releasing that?

It was kind of interesting how we did it one track at a time, stretched out a little bit. I think right until the last moment, we were still choosing what tracks we were going to put on it, judging on how people reacted. Originally, it was going to be a cohesive, very similar-sounding EP, but then we were like, “Actually, you know, let’s just put out some of the other, different stuff,” to make it variable with lots of different vibes. I think it was a good choice to do it that way.

 

What was the process like, developing those new sounds?

Long hours (laughs). It was lots of time in the studio and also just sort of non-judgmental production. You know, when you’re not overthinking things, you’re not judging yourself and what you’re about to make. You just produce and see what happens. 

 

“I think I’m quite lucky that I’ve put out a couple of different sounds and people have responded well. I don’t feel like I have to subscribe to whatever sound people expect from me.”

 

There’s still a general sound that it ends up in, just because that’s how I feel when I make music.

 
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And you’ve worked on vocals a lot more this time around. That must have been a fun challenge for you.

Well, I mean, “Fooled Around” is actually my vocal. I sort of snuck that in. And there’s some more around the corner which you’ve got me singing on. Hopefully down the road, I’m going to do a live show with me singing and playing and all that jazz, which is quite exciting. So I’m just kind of exploring that and doing a whole bunch of different concepts — what I can play, what I can do, what I can sing.

 

What do you expect to do next?

I just got an Ableton Push and I’m getting quite good at that, playing it like an instrument. That and drum pads, I’m starting to get into playing them even with my hands or sticks. I’m not quite sure, but I’m feeling my way into it. There’s that, and I’m also doing some live harmony looping. I sang in vocal groups while I was growing up, so I’ve got decent pitch to do live harmonies, which is going to be fun. Audio looping, sampling, lots of effects and things — it’s still quite fresh, it’s still in the experimental stage.

 

You’ve experimented a lot with hip hop, too — do you want to continue that?

Yeah! I’ve been doing it on the side, not really as a JackLNDN thing, but it’s kind of a nice break between dance music, and I do like to listen to it when I’m chilling out. I sort of ended up randomly on the Lupe [Fiasco] album, so…that happened. That’s sort of encouraging: I’m thinking, okay, so it’s not all garbage. I’m still making beats. I’ve got a whole beat tape that’s going to end up with a bunch of different people.

It’s just a different kind of workflow. Usually with house sets, I work around the melody, with chords and riffs, and with hip hop I’m usually going around the beat a lot before I even have music in my ears.

 
jacklndn interview 2015 wakarusa

Do you see yourself putting your house influences into that?

For sure. I think some of the works coming up definitely have a JackLNDN flavor to them. I can’t really help that, it’s sort of the style I’ve got. It’s kind of nice because you do learn a lot from making something in that kind of tempo, the sort of flavors you can bring from hip hop back into house and vice versa. There’s a lot of transferable flavors that can enhance both genres. I’m also thinking of getting some rap on a couple of tracks. But it’s got to be done properly — it can’t be forced. It can’t be done just for the sake of it, it’s got to be done in a style that suits house music and suits my sound.

 

You already have a pretty heavy sound as it is, and that translates well. What inspired that sound?

When I was learning production, I explored…everything. I never released any of it, obviously, but I like hip hop, reggae, dubstep, drum & bass, trance, breaks…a bit of everything. Just to see how it’s done and try and figure out how different genres are put together. If you learn a little bit from something, that little bit can be brought across to house. So, I just sort of experimented with everything starting with house and came all the way back around to house, having looked through as much as I could possibly go through in terms of other genres. It was super helpful.

“I would always recommend [experimenting with everything] to someone who’s trying to find their sound. Just try and make everything, try and make a whole bunch of different genres. No one has to hear it. It’s just really good to experiment…there’s real transferable fun that could be happening.”

 

You see it in a whole bunch of different genres: the bounce in a reggae beat can be brought through in house if you do it the right way, and it’s easier to get that bounce if you’ve made reggae.

 
jacklndn interview 2015 mysteryland

And that’s great. My final question would have to be — and you can pick one — what is your first or your favorite record?

“Praise You.” Fatboy Slim. I think that’s one of the first and also one of the favorites. I can’t really not say that. I heard it come on the radio yesterday and I was just like, “Ah…” Every time. The chords come in, and you’re just like, “Ah… I’m home.”

He was one of the first DJs I ever saw, too, so it’s full circle when I hear that track.

 

 

JackLNDN is keeping on the festival circuit this summer, with stops at Lollapalooza, Shambhala, and Dancefestopia. His EP, Summer Never Ends Vol. 1, is out now and can be streamed in full on Soundcloud.



With a love of dance music stemming from countless years of dance lessons and bass-thumping car rides with her music-obsessed father, Sarah Ribeiro is a Hartford-raised music addict who moved to Boston in the pursuit of a supportive and open nightlife scene. A passion for learning and a willingness to grow has pulled her out of her trancehead sphere and exposed her to a crazy variety of music and introduced her to some of the most amazing people (and events) Boston has to offer. A writer and social mediac, her main interests are music, literature, technology, art, and her first love: the city of Boston.