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  • Vasili Papathanasopoulos

BEHIND-THE-ALBUM: JXDN'S 'WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS'

WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS is out now!

Image: Juan Flores.


LA-based singer-songwriter jxdn has shared his anticipated sophomore album, WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS.  We caught up with the musician to go behind-the-album and unpack his sound, documenting a myriad of emotions, creating couplets within his music and more.



It has been about three years since you released, Tell Me About Tomorrow. How do you think your artistry and approach to music has evolved in that period of time in to what you've presented on your new album, WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS?


When I first came onto the scene, it was just a lot of love. I think that's one of the main things that's the same, is the love. But that really carried it a lot. You know, it was just opportunistic in a lot of situations and I really got a good break. I feel like I got lucky in a sense, and it just all made sense. It was kind of like the domino effect - one led to another. Then when that came to a stop, really when my best friend died, I think the difference between that first album and this album is I fought for this album, really hard mentally and physically. I made it purely for myself. I definitely made the last album for myself, but I was just so excited about what was going on. There was a lot of reasons for me to give up and let go of a dream that I've had my whole life, and I just didn't. So I think that translates in the music. It's a lot more raw than the first one and at the same time elevated. I got blessed that it came out that way.




I think it does definitely translate in the music and it is, at least in my opinion, such a personal and open body of work. You touched on it a little bit there, could you briefly unpack the themes explored across the album and the importance you in documenting it within your music?


I really wanted to make this album about emotion. Every song is based off of a feeling. I wasn't so concerned about structure and layout of songs or even melodies. Like when I first went in to Travis [Barker] after, I feel like I really came to myself and I had this moment in South America with my fans where I just realised everything that I built, right. So I went back in and I talked to Travis, I was like, 'I don't wanna make a single hit on this album.' I mean, I was being so serious and he understood exactly what I meant, and he said, 'perfect. You know we will just make a good album.' So that's exactly what we did. Really intentionally not trying to make things that we knew were gonna work online or whatever. We just wanted to make good music. And that good album turned into a great album.Honestly, it's turned into the album that I know is gonna be a turning point in my entire career. So it's really funny how things work out that way. But that was the theme of this album, just making music for myself. I took inspiration from quite a few things, but overall it was just a personal, personal record.




In looking at making the record as just wanting to make music for yourself, did you find that that affected or altered the way you create in terms of a creative process? Do you think it changed going into this album?


Absolutely. I think it gives you more freedom because you're not living within the boundaries of what the audience wants or what other people want. You're able to just create purely of like what you're inspired by in the moment. So there's a lot. Basically there's seventeen songs and each song has a sister song. There's three songs that are more similar, but basically they're in pairs and there's a lot of influence from like The Deftones. There's a lot of influence from The Strokes. Obviously kind of an ode to my first album. There's two pure pop-punk songs and a lot of indie records too. The whole album's pretty indie, more than it is alt-rock. I tried to just discover and also lay claim on the entire spectrum of rock music, you know? Because I am a versatile artist but ultimately I'm leaning towards... Like the focus track of this album, which is JUST LET GO, that's really kind of the lane that I'm hoping to go into after this album and after these tours. So this album is very important for me to set me up for the future, and that's exactly what I think it did. I'm really excited about it.




You mentioned there, the sister songs and the couplet of songs approach. Was that something that you intentionally did, or was it something that revealed itself to you whilst writing?


We actually intentionally did that. When me and Travis first got in, we were like, 'why don't we just...' because we hate when you find a feeling from a song and then you can't find a song that makes you feel that same way. Like I said before, this whole album was based off of feeling. So it was actually pretty easy to do. It was cool to see how you express one feeling in different ways. It was really cool. That was an intentional thing for sure.




The album was co-produced by Travis Barker and Andrew Goldstein, what do you think they brought to the project and how did you all work together to create the body of work?


The first project was definitely very much so, me leaning on them, basically for everything, you know? Because I was just such a novice and I still feel like a novice in a lot of ways. I think this wasn't anything else except we just jammed and we had fun. There wasn't any speculation to it. There wasn't any, really, structure, except we went in when we made music that we loved on that day. Turned out to be music that we loved now, and probably forever. So that's really cool. And I would be able to do that if it was with other people. Obviously there's some other people that share the same vision, but I'm lucky enough to have spent a lot of time with Travis and Andrew and it really was effortless in the studio. I feel like that's what music should be. Sometimes we fight for songs, but this album wasn't about that. It was just about putting out what we felt in the moment. I feel like we really did that in a good way. It's all thanks to Travis and Andrew, and also Brian Lee and All Day. They were also on the record and they had the same exact energy, you know? So I'm very grateful for that.



I really do think that kind of effortless, organic feel comes out through the album. If you had to pick three songs from the album to play to someone who had never heard your music before, that you think is gonna make them an instant on the spot fan, which three songs would you choose and why?


I don't know if it would make them a fan, but three songs I would choose are STRAY, SAD OCTOBER and JUST LET GO. Those are definitely the ones that I think are the motif of the album. They best represent what I'm doing and where I'm heading. And they would fall in love with the music, that's for sure. But a fan of me, that's a different [laughs] question.




You are going on tour in the US soon. Hopefully you'll get to Australia sometime in the not too distant future.


I tried, they didn't let me in. I tried. I was gonna do like a three week festival there like two years ago, but because I have a felony they emailed us days before, they were like, 'you really shouldn't come. Possibility of you getting deported'. I was like, 'oh'. So I didn't get to do that. But I think it's about to get expunged because I'm on probation. So hopefully I can come after that.




Hopefully super soon! How are you going about bringing the new album, WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS, into a live setting for these upcoming shows?



Speaker 2: (08:08)


This show that comes with the album and its tour is like, I don't even think there's words to describe it if I'm being honest. It's something greater than I've ever experienced personally even. That's always a beautiful thing because that's kind of the last place I thought this album would take me. You know? This album is like relief, and healing for me. It really took me places that I didn't want to go. In turn, like looking back, I'm really grateful that I did, but I never expected this album to be anything grand. But when I played the music, oh man, it's just, it's tangible really. It's electric also. I think that people are gonna be mind blown. I know without a doubt, everyone who comes to a show is gonna leave better than they came, because it's pure music. It's rock and roll from the heart. I'm very grateful that I've had the experience I've had before I did this album. 'cause I think that is also a factor that really amplifies what the music is, because of the experience that I've had on stage. I'm able to apply that and be the most comfortable I can be. So that's really exciting. I just know without a doubt this US tour and this European tour is gonna be the tour that breaks me. I just know that, and songs that come with it, they'll have their own moments. But so much bigger than just like a song on a DSP, it's right there in your face. It's like the crowd involvement, the community that comes with it. So I'm very excited to say the least.



Speaker 1: (09:44)


You mentioned there how performing has helped shaped you. How important is the live show to you - not only in terms of like showcasing your art, but when making that in-person connection with the audiences who do resonate with your music?



Speaker 2: (09:58)


I think it's more important than putting out music. I think doing shows is more important than putting out music, because I could go and do a show right now without ever releasing a song and people could be there and enjoy it, you know? They could have a connection with me. If you do the inverse and you just put out a song, maybe people won't have that connection, you know, because it's hard to these days over the phone. I think a lot of people do, and I've experienced that, which is really how my whole career started. But these days I'm obsessed with the idea of just being in person. There's something you can't fake there, you know? There's a veil that's taken away. Personally, my fans are all just such genuine, authentic people. I've met some of the nicest, most talented creative, down to earth people ever, just like at my shows. So it's cool that I have that community and I hope for that community to grow, but the best way to grow a community isn't to go looking for more people, it's to focus on the ones you already have.



WHEN THE MUSIC STOPS is out now!


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