Best Believe The Hype: J-One
I first came across J-One’s music about a year ago after hearing his (quite literally) beautiful album on Phaeleh’s label Urban Scrumping, I have since built a friendship with him and am proud to own about an arms length of unreleased tracks from him, each one better than the last. He is one of a small collective of producers to be bouncing out of the fractures of Dubstep, Garage and Grime at the moment along with Wen, Lex, Baitface, Epoch etc... His sound leans in a 2-step direction but with-holds the euphoric synth work of early jungle records and sub play of dubstep, his sound is the perfect form of electronic music in my opinion as it is suited so perfectly for ipod listening when traveling about but also causes eruptions on the dancefloor. I caught up with him to conduct a little interview recently:
For those who don’t know, introduce yourself and tell us (in your opinion) what kind of music you produce?
My name's Simon Jones, I live in the South East and produce under the name J-One. Always find it difficult to describe my sound as I move around a lot in terms of style but I generally just try to make music that's soulful, moving or at least interesting enough to listen to at home but that still carries enough energy to work on a system. Quite a lot of people say my music has that post-club/5am kinda vibe.
How did you get into production?
Originally got into production through my love for hip hop. A few of my mates were writing lyrics and needed beats so I started messing with Fruity Loops. That was probably about 6-7 years ago now. A couple years later I started listening to more and more stuff outside of hip hop and gradually got into more club-oriented stuff.
How do you feel about the current state of UK bass music and do you think club music is still going strong?
I think it's an exciting time, there's so much talent about these days. The sheer volume of producers out there can make it difficult to be heard but I think it's also making people push themselves that much further to find their own sound. And yeah, I think the club scene is doing fine, I'm kind of removed from it a bit not living in any of the big cities and I don't play out just yet but do visit nights in London quite often. Always a stupidly good line up to be found somewhere at the weekend and there's a lot of variety these days even on the same night so definitely helps keep things interesting.
Talk us through how you typically start building a track?
Well, I've made a template file for FL Studio I usually start with, this has a lot of my fx channels setup so I don't have to go through the tedium of setting them up every time I start a new project. There's nothing too specific, but all fx channels are labelled and coloured so that I can find them faster. I've got a handful of drum channels setup with a bit of eqing on each (only roughly, all gets tweaked later on). These all go through a drum bus with parallel compression setup which helps give my drums a bit more presence.
I find having all this stuff setup from the get go helps me get ideas down faster so I don't get stuck pushing dials around which can quickly kill off any inspiration.
In terms of starting a track, I usually throw a few drum sounds into the step sequencer and loosely start constructing a beat. There's no real formula after this really but generally I start with a loop that would be the main part of the track and from there deconstruct it and start building up other elements of the arrangement. I've got too many project files that consist solely of loops though. Need to break out of that habit.
What are your biggest influences both musical and non-musical?
I find myself listening to more stuff from up and comers & friends that produce than anyone else these days. I'm lucky enough to know a lot of talented people from around where I live plus people I've met through music (Wen, Lex, Arktrix, Baitface, My Nu Leng, Etch & Atlas to name just a few). Definitely get a lot of inspiration from these guys as we're always swapping tunes/talking about music etc. Aside from music, pretty much anything and everything really.. films, places, time of year, people etc.
Name 5 records (albums or vinyl) you could not live without:
Cooly G - LoveDub
Jamie Woon - Wayfaring Stranger (Burial refix)
Synkro - Look at Yourself
Mos Def - Black on Both Sides
DJ Shadow - Endtroducing (one of the first instrumental hip hop album's I got into which basically got me into production)
Who are your favorite up and comers right now, and why?
Wen - known him since he started producing and was always in awe of how quickly he picked it up. He's been raising the bar with each new tune for a long time now and there's no sign of him stopping. Big things coming from Wen!
My Nu Leng - always mad stylish production from Tommy and Jammo. Admire how consistent their sound is whether they're making something to smash the dancefloor or something more on the deeper tip.
What can we expect from you in the near future?
Putting together an EP for South Fork Sound in the near future (new label from Blind Prophet). There's a few other bits in talks but nothing definitive just yet. Finally learning how to mix now too so hopefully won't be too long till I feel up to playing to a paying crowd! Hang tight for some free music soon too, going to put another EP out shortly with bits from the last couple years.
Big up to J-One for the interview and keep your eyes consistently locked on his soundcloud, he uploads pure fire on a worryingly regular basis, he has also been kind enough to share a smashing free tune with us too: