Music interview – Jax Jones: ‘I remixed Missy Elliott and I was absolutely gassed’

Jax Jones
Jax Jones
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Barely a minute into his interview and Jax Jones has already had to halt proceedings twice after he was forced to explain the slang meanings of the terms “lit” and “sauce” through gales of whooping laughter.

The former apparently means that something is excellent while the latter refers to the confidence and style of an individual. “These are phrases you can take onboard!” he chuckles. “Trust me, I reckon in a few years, you’re going to see these words on Countdown!”

Jones’ effusive enthusiasm and good natured vibes are utterly infectious.

The 31-year-old, London-born DJ and producer – real name Timucin Lam – is a whirlwind of positivity, bouncing from topic to topic with a bouncy sense of humour.

At one point, discussing his back catalogue and his latest “flow” record, Ring Ring, the concept of a country-and-western-style reinvention pops up. He howls away at such a notion once again, giggling like a 10-year-old on a sugar rush.

“Nah, nah, nah!” he cries, before half-sobering. “I couldn’t reach that level of ego; I’m too conscious.”

Jax Jones

Jax Jones

His bravado and persona is refreshingly grounded, still very much determined that fame and success has not changed who he is.

“I remixed Missy Elliott when she made a comeback a few years ago on a track with Pharrell Williams, and I was just absolutely gassed.

“I mean, they sent an email with the stems that I had to use a password to access and everything! That was a pinch-me, I’m-dreaming moment for sure.”

In November, he embarks on the brief 5 Alive Tour, a whistle-stop jaunt kicking off in Manchester and zipping through Leeds, Dublin and London before wrapping up in Glasgow.

I remixed Missy Elliott when she made a comeback a few years ago on a track with Pharrell Williams, and I was just absolutely gassed. That was a pinch-me, I’m-dreaming moment for sure.

Jax Jones

It is branded as such to reflect that the locales are his five favourite places and venues to play in the British Isles but also because it is the name of his favourite soft drink, “apart from Capri Sun, of course”.

“They all have a special place in my heart,” he notes.

Though his first single, Go Deep, was met with a relatively anonymous reception upon release in 2013, he broke big the following year as the featured artist on Duke Dumont’s I Got U, reaching the summit of the UK singles chart.

He says that the five years since don’t feel like half a decade. “At the time, that wasn’t strictly seen as my record; nobody really knew who I was.

“To me, I only really started to poke through a couple of years ago with Housework and then You Don’t Know Me.”

Does he wish that that first flush has reaped faster rewards in the short term?

“No, it’s been cool, man. I would say that having that success was good, but being in the background over the following years also allowed me to develop further so that when I finally planted my flag in the ground, I felt more ready.

“I think the success I’ve had then shows that it was the right call.”

Having initially cut his teeth behind the decks, was the transition ever difficult, to make the move to a solo artist?

“Not really. I was already writing songs, under my own name, that were having success.

“I wrote a single for The Vamps called Can We Dance that was pretty big. But when I started to brand myself as Jax Jones, that’s when it started to take off.

“I’d been doing remixes and people would come to me for them, so they could have my brand on their work. When you see a Jax Jones remix, it holds more weight for some now, because of the status that I’ve attained.”

Jones’ run of dates comes on the back of a summer of well-received festival performances; for him, the significance of getting to play such legendary events is a personal honour.

“It’s like a moment in your career when you play at a certain time at a festival and you’ve moved up the slots.

“My dream is to headline a tent at Reading – it’s one of my favourite festivals.

“They make for an exciting challenge for me; I have to immerse myself creatively and deliver the best show that I can to appeal to the wider demographics, to earn that mutual appreciation from the crowd.”

He made a surprise cameo this year at the Little John’s Farm bash, having played in 2017 too.

“I was a sneaky add-on. I did it the year before and they usually don’t have you twice in a row, unless you’re Frank Turner. But they put me on as a special guest this year and the tent was just overflowing; it felt like a moment.

“It feels like I’ll be moving up the tiers next time round, hopefully.

“It’s like a wedding cake; I need to be that little person at the top!”

Jax Jones plays at Stylus at the University of Leeds on November 9. www.jaxjones.co.uk