Jbox Interview - Melodic Grooves

Meet Brisbane based producer Jbox. Known for his melodic and atmospheric soundscapes, Jbox has been announced to perform at Brisbane’s Mountain Goat Valley Crawl. We had a chat to the rising artist about his developing career, making music, and forthcoming appearance at MGVC.

Futuremag Music: Hey Jbox, how's life treating you?

Jbox: Hey! It's been treating me pretty well. After a full on Christmas & New Year period I'm super keen to get stuck into 2019, though not before a 2-week adventure over to Canada in Mid-January. Brand new experiences and exploring places I've never been before does wonders for me, so I'm really happy I'm taking this time out right before the year gets busy again.

Futuremag Music: Could you talk us through your relationship with music? How did you move into production?

Jbox: It was my brother's iPod music library during early high school that introduced me to artists like Boys Noize, Justice and Gesaffelstein, launching my interest in electronic music. His library also shaped a lot of my early music tastes around post-punk and alt-rock. At the same time, Flume had just released his debut album and from there I was eventually exposed to Ableton Live. I got myself a copy and started mucking around! 

Production for me has always been naturally intertwined with the process of writing electronic music. Since all my songwriting is done in Ableton, I constantly have the ability to manipulate how the song is presented - and I think that has played a big role in shaping how I write and perceive music and the styles I've produced over the years. As I progressed with my music throughout high school at my own pace, I had learned a fair bit and gained more and more interest into the technical aspects of audio. And as a result I looked into what my options were after school, and a few years later I graduated with a Bachelor of Audio at SAE in Brisbane. 

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Futuremag Music: How do you go into the writing process? Can you outline how you achieve your emotive and lush sounds?

Jbox: I don't always approach it the same way and it's definitely something I've been experimenting around with, but the main focus that I've stuck with is creating that emotion and atmosphere through layering different melodic elements, and drenching them in effects - often getting carried away. These days I've gotten better at controlling the switch between the songwriter and producer hat, which has resulted in me working in a more diverse range of genres; but sound design still remains at the forefront when crafting my sound.  

Futuremag Music: How did you get involved with Double Dead Games' indie title, Sol Ensis? How does soundtrack production differ from your original releases?

Jbox: Sol Ensis was a capstone project for uni that I worked on with a small group of really talented game programmers, designers and an animator. Since early primary school I've had a massive love for video games and the worlds and sounds of those experiences. I really wanted to challenge myself for my final project, and for me creating the music and sound FX for a game was sort of a combination of two passions. 

In the Sol Ensis soundtrack, each track was written for certain areas in the game: each with different stories and landscapes. I injected a lot of my sounds into the tracks but overall they were very much orchestral and cinematic focused, using classical instruments adapted into plugins in Ableton. The challenge there was layering the sounds so they fit together in an orchestra-type space. I understood some different recording techniques for actual orchestras which helped my understanding of how I could artificially construct these soundscapes, however when compared to my previous original releases its a pallete of sounds I had never really played around with until then. This cinematic-fantasy style combined with my electronic sounds, linked it to my original works under Jbox but also complimented the soft, warm colours and arcade-y feel that the game presents to the player. I can definitely say that after undertaking this project I've started to subtly weave some of those orchestral elements into my more recent productions.

Futuremag Music: You're playing at Mountain Goat Valley Crawl. What can we expect from your showcase?

Jbox:I'm super excited for MGVC. Over the past 12 months I've written and produced a lot of new music, and this showcase to kick off the year will essentially be a testing party of unreleased work. Expect a journey of melodic downtempo grooves wrapped in reversed shimmery guitar recordings. 

Futuremag Music: Who are you keen on seeing at Mountain Goat Valley Crawl?

Jbox: What an unreal lineup! It's definitely not going to be easy to schedule the rest of my night; but I'm really keen to see Bayview Terrace, Requin and LALKA. 

Futuremag Music: A funny one to wrap it up, if 'Jbox' was a cocktail, what would be in it to best describe yourself and your music?

Jbox: Haha! Well it's definitely a caffeine-fueled project so I'm going to go with:

The classic Espresso Martini with Kahlua

Vodka; smooth spirit distilled with some impurities & flavourings

Espresso coffee; concentrated brew of rich alluring flavor

Kahlua; liquor that drives a positive change through the coffee

Chilled down with crushed filtered Ice 

Shaken then strained in a martini glass, served with crunchy coffee beans

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