Jives is a 20 year old electronic music producer hailing from Canberra. I was lucky enough to sit down with him and chat about his music, the up and coming EP (released August 19th), and generally talk shit. A quick background, Jives has just changed his name from Sonar and has signed with US record label Indigenous Records. He attends University at Monash Uni in Melbourne and it seems like he enjoys a good party and booze up, I mean, who doesn’t these days? Check out his Facebook and Soundcloud for more of his stuff, and buy his EP on iTunes.
Tom (Whono’s): Hey Jives, so this is your first interview?
Tom (Jives): Yeah first interview.
Let’s pop that cherry together then.
Haha let’s get right into it. So where are you originally from?
I’m from Canberra, very exciting, I know.
And you moved here to Melbourne in February yeah?
Yeah it’s awesome.
When did you actually first start getting into music?
I think it was like a couple of years ago maybe, in a shed, my dad is like a music fanatic and he set up a digital audio station sorta thing and just put a whole bunch of samples on it and… and I was like “yeah I’ll give that a go.” So I just tried it out in the shed for a while and then moved onto ableton and a real laptop and played with that for a while too.
Awesome, your music is pretty unique, how long did it take you to define your style? How did you do it?
Oh wow that’s a good question. I don’t really know. Maybe, I guess I was trying to be a bit Flume-y for a little while, especially when I first started, I probably still am a little bit. But I really like the whole Latin drum thing, default sounds on ableton, stuff like that. I just decided to chuck a few of those on and individualise those (the songs) a bit more… I hope that makes sense.
So you’ve mentioned Flume, would you list him as your major inspiration?
Yeah definitely. Also Giraffage, he’s a guy from San Francisco and he makes this sorta weird sample based electronic kinda stuff. That is a big thing for me, a lot of his stuff comes out. Wave Racer, but you know he’s like Flume, a lot of people fall under that category of influences. But now thinking about it, Giraffage is probably the big one, the closest to my sound and my proper influence.
Do you feel like you’re going your own way now?
Maybe, haha, I dunno… I guess I am. I’m not really trying to do anything, just have fun fucking around and whacking stuff out occasionally. But it’s hard because I’m studying at the moment. It can be hard to find time for it.
A few months ago, you changed your name to Jives, why Jives?
Haha, I don’t know. I don’t know. Like I was Sonar before that, and I dunno, my Dad, before that, was subscribed to a music magazine and one of the articles I read was to do with sonar and I found it kind of interesting. But Jives, I can’t remember where I saw Jives, some song I heard maybe, but I was just like “ugh that sounds cool, that’ll do.”
Nothing to do with swing and jive dancing of course?
Nah haha to be honest, I was drunk probably, I should look into it a bit. It just stuck out to me for some reason, and I was just like “yeah, that’s kinda cool, better than Sonar.”
Onto the EP, I’ve listened to it a few times, it’s really good man. It’s a great 7 songs. And great news about signing with Indigenous Records.
Yeah that was so awesome, they’re really cool. They’ve been really professional about everything, and I’ve just been “alright, you can sort it out, because I have no idea what I’m doing.” They’ve been really cool mastering it and doing the artwork, which looks really sweet. I’m really excited for the release.
They’re based in the US, how did you hook that up?
I dunno really, they sent me a message on Soundcloud just saying “Do you want to do an EP,” and I was like “um okay” and they pretty much just downloaded and developed all my stuff, took it all and did the rest. It was pretty easy for me, it was all through the internet. They found me which is pretty cool, it’s just a big ocean of artists out there, so I feel pretty lucky they found something they liked.
On the EP, do you have a certain favourite track? Does one stand out?
Hmm, not really anything, but there is this one called “Waves” on there. It was probably one of the first times I jumped on the set up in the shed, worked on that chord progression, and I’ve been doing it up ever since. Every few months I go back to it and make a newer version kinda thing, so I guess that’s the closest to my heart. So yeah that one actually.
Yeah I remember Waves was your first song you ever released a while back, over a year ago actually. How long were you working on this EP?
Oh yeah, I suppose I didn’t really work on the EP to make an EP, the guys (Indigenous Records) just said “these songs are cool, let’s do them.” Most of the songs are old but there are a few that I’ve made just for the EP this year, and then touched the old ones up to be better liked. It was pretty easy for me, they just told me the ones to do. But overall, it was probably over the course of a year.
Well yeah they’re pretty good songs, developed well. “Whatever” is the track that stood out to me as being really different from the rest. It’s quite heavy and not like the rest of the EP, where did it come from? Was that trying something new?
Yeah I guess so, I mean like yeah, I really like trap music and “Whatever” was my attempt at it a few months ago. I’ve been making some other stuff just for friends but I haven’t really developed it, but it’s just fun really. At the time there was this tribal recording that I found and just screwed around with it, summed it all up and in the end I really liked how it sounded all trap-y. But yeah it does stand out a bit, I really want to do more of that stuff.
You’ve got plenty of remixes and mash ups on your Soundcloud, would you now ever consider releasing a remix edition of your EP?
Oh maybe, that’s cool. I was talking with the guys (Indigenous Records) and they were saying, just for future reference it’s called a bootleg and not a proper remix. I’ve probably been lucky in that the other artists haven’t found me and sued me or something like that haha. It’s not an official remix so I can’t sell it, and I won’t or I’ll get in trouble… probably. But I dunno, I’m doing some for friends that will be a proper one. They’ve given me the stamps and all the right stuff, so I guess that’s how it works. But that could be cool, a remix album, one day.
The last time we spoke back at the start of the year over the internet, you said you had no plans for any live performances or live shows. But surely there’s gotta be something coming along now.
Haha not particularly. I mean like me and a friend have been doing mixtapes, like the one I did for you, which has been on a Traktor controller and we just mess around for a little bit while drinking. That’s about as live as it gets for me, mixing a bunch of songs we like together, and that’s as far as I’ve gone. Maybe if I get more time, I can figure something out, get some more money and see where that goes. At the moment I’m just having fun making music and studying at the same time, but it’s hard, tough life haha.
Ok so now the most general question ever, where to now? What’s the dream?
Ah man, damn. Back to back sets with Flume, Wave Racer, haha nah I dunno. I guess doing live stuff would be good, and lots of fun. And maybe getting… you know… money for it, that would be great. But I gotta figure out Uni and stuff first, get that out of the way. I’m just in my bedroom, just doing it all there until I get more time and money to do other things.
Gotta start somewhere.
I mean, Gotye started with a studio made out of mattresses.
Yeah man. Right so now a bunch of random ones. Favourite Meal?
Ah shit, okay. Ice cream? But I’ve got no money at the moment so I’ve been getting bulk packets of Kangaroo and I love it! It’s great haha! So that’s my favourite with a bit of cheese and bread, that’s as far as it goes.
Favourite place to go out?
The Nott, right next to Monash Uni. We go there every few nights and just get absolutely wasted there. I love it, it’s just so fun. I like it haha.
To see? I guess Flume haha, but he’s kinda been around now. Everyone’s seen him now so I dunno about that haha.
Fun fact or party trick?
Fun facts?! Umm, no party tricks either. Oh but I’m really good at getting drunk and passing out. That’s fun right?
Drink of choice?
Carlton Draft or a Long Island Ice Tea… or goon, actually goon.
I went travelling a few years ago, went to Europe with a few mates, that was awesome. We went to Budapest, that was sick, so yeah Budapest.
What are you studying?
Doing Biology, majoring in Zoology. It’s kinda easy, it’s not like maths where there is a formula for a bunch of things. You either know the facts or you don’t, I like it, it’s cool.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
Friends… hahaha alcohol of course.
Bar or Club?
Transition between the two at the moment, used to love clubbing, but it’s not good for you, so I’m moving out of that. But bars are good for casual drinks.
Coke or Pepsi?
Beer or cider?
Auto or manual?
Manual, been raised right.
AFL or NRL?
Hot or Cold?
Ice cold baby.
Eat in or take out?
Take out, you don’t have to clean.
Mac or PC?
Mac… oh no… PC. Actually both, I’ve partitioned the Mac so it runs both. PC for ableton.
Tom, Jives, it’s been a pleasure and all the best for the future.
Thanks man, and even though they can’t see that, we just shook hands.
Definitely makes it.
Jives’ self titled EP drops on iTunes on August 19th for 7 amazing and very unique tracks. Buy the EP now and look forward to the electronic goodness. For a taste of his style, below are some tracks that didn’t make the EP cut, but are available for free download.