Up and coming British producer/DJ, Jonas Blue, gave us the inside scoop on his musical background, the process behind making his smash hit singles, some of his current favorite tunes, and his plans for the future!
If you’ve spent any time this summer lounging on a rooftop bar, chances are you’ve heard Jonas Blue’s ‘Fast Car’ blasting through the speakers. His music sets the perfect tone for sipping cocktails alongside the sunset on a hot afternoon. The London-native is currently touring Europe, but took the time to talk to us about his career and inspiration. Scroll down to learn a little bit more about the man who’s soon to invade radio stations worldwide!
TK: How long have you been making music and what initially inspired you to get into it?
JB: I started as a musician when I was about 7 or 8 years old. It was by the time I got to high school that my friends made it very clear that playing musical instruments was very uncool, so I actually stopped playing the flute and became a DJ. I caught the dance music bug quite early, when I was around 11 years old. It was actually by the time I got to 12 years old that I began thinking to myself, ‘why am I playing other people’s music if I’m a musician as well?’ I knew there was a way to play my own music but I didn’t know how I could do it at the time. Then I learned about production and what it entailed and realized that that’s what I was interested in. I remember one day, in a box of cereal, I got a free piece of software that allowed me to make music on my computer. I loved that program! I learned how to make arrangements to go along with the music that was already integrated in the program and that was kind of what introduced me to the production world. From that day I’ve never looked back.
TK: Did you always know that you wanted to go into production? What did you think you’d be doing as an adult when you were a child?
JB: I always wanted to be involved with music – I knew music was my love. I just didn’t know how I’d be involved in it when I was really young. By the time I got to 11/12 years old I knew that I really wanted to make the music that I’d be playing.
TK: Tell me about the process of remaking such a classic song like ‘Fast Car’ – were you ever concerned about getting negative feedback as a result of it being so vastly different from the original?
JB: I never wanted to remix the song, but throughout the years I always wanted to reimagine ‘Fast Car’ and create a new version of it. Building up the courage to remake such a classic took a lot of time and even though it was something I’d always wanted to do, it was more so about finding the right time to dabble in it. It was actually August 2015 that I had this epiphany – I was out with friends at the time – and I had this whole idea come to me. I immediately knew what arrangement I wanted to do, the sounds I wanted to use, and it was that evening when I got back to the studio that I laid it all down and it grew very naturally from there. Even in terms of the release, as well, I never planned it to be released as a single. For it to have taken off the way it has has been incredible.
In terms of the original, I’ve always been a massive fan. If I’d felt that it was going to hurt it I would’ve never done it. But it was one of those things where I felt that both versions were so starkly different from each other that it just felt right to me. What I’ve also done is sort of bring back the original to younger listeners that had never heard it in the first place!
TK: How did you end up collaborating with Dakota?
JB: I had the instrumental done and it was from that point that I knew I needed to get a vocalist on board. I didn’t have anyone in mind who could record it because the original key is very hard for a female to sing, so I pushed the project to the side for a moment. Then I was out one evening with my manager having a drink and I heard this voice coming from the basement of the pub we were in. I definitely wasn’t there to find a singer, but after hearing her voice I rushed downstairs to listen to her set and thought she’d be perfect to assume the role of the vocalist for ‘Fast Car’. After her show I pitched her the idea and although she was skeptical at first, because she’d never recorded dance music before, she ended up agreeing to come into the studio the very next day to record it!
TK: “Perfect Strangers” is a phenomenal song and everyone should add it to their summer playlist because it gives off such great vibes! Can you tell me a little bit about the songwriting/producing process? Which came first?
JB: Being a musician, I generally tend to turn to production first. I generally work on melodies and cool progressions on the piano first, and then start building the song off of that. In the case of ‘Perfect Strangers’, ‘Fast Car’ was doing so well around the world that everyone kept asking me, ‘so what’s next?’, and I was just like ‘um..nothing,’ and I realized I had to get something made pretty quick. So I just sat at the piano and the first thing that came out was the initial riff that you hear at the beginning of the song. I started off with that and then created a rough demo, which I took on the road with me and I played it during my sets but I kind of just left it at that. I was always a massive fan of JP Cooper’s – I actually heard something of his on a UK radio station and I remember thinking about how great that voice would sound paired with ‘Perfect Strangers’. A couple of months later I was at a record label meeting and I played them the demo and they said they knew of the perfect vocalist to go along with it, and it turned out to be JP Cooper!
TK: Do you have any plans to release a full EP anytime soon? Fans would love that.
JB: I just signed my record deal with Virgin yesterday! So I will be releasing another single by the end of this year and then a couple at the beginning of next year. I’m planning on dropping a full album by mid-2017.
TK: Give me your favourite 3 tracks that are currently on your playlist.