A rock-leaning, soul, R&B singer born in New Zealand and raised in Texas, most of Jaxon‘s influences stem from artists like Drake, Lenny Kravitz, Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Guns N’ Roses, Miguel, and Ben Harper, all of whom helped shape his style, which continues to grow and develop every day. The first music he put out was a bit more R&B, however when it came to creating the next batch of music, Jaxon picked up the electric guitar and began pulling from some of his rock music icons, creating a project that wanders into a new, unknown territory for him.
“Wildwest” is a musical recap of the journey and events Jaxon’s gone through since moving (west) to LA at 18. This EP was created with all live instrumentation and is rooted in a mixture of R&B, classic rock and psychedelic. “Smith & Wesson” is one of Jaxon’s favorite tracks from the EP. It has a lot of emotional meaning to it, which can raise awareness to modern day problems in society, but also allows you to groove along to it. Once you listen to it, you’ll see why it’s one of his favorites.
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Sean Ritchie: Let’s start off by talking about your hometown of Los Angeles a bit. What’s the atmosphere like? What really makes it home to you?
Jaxon: I actually grew up in Houston, and I moved out to LA when I was 18. Living on my own in LA, growing up in that diverse area, was different from being from conservative Houston, Texas. Coming out here, it’s a very open. There’s just so much going on out here. For me, it was growing as an adult, growing into an adult in Los Angeles really shaped the way of my music, and shaped the way of my free form thinking ideas. Stuff like that. I drew a lot of inspiration from the indie bands out here. I listen to a lot of Jimmy Hendrix, Prince, I really like Lenny Kravitz, and then there was a whole era of R&B music out here when I first moved. It kind of influenced [my] R&B style. So, it all just came together in the last couple of years for me.
© Sarath Kuchi
SR: Wow, that’s awesome! So, your inspiration is pulled from the location that you’re in?
J: Most definitely. Just being in California gives you that creative mindset you know?
SR: I can imagine. What would you maybe suggest first-time visitors to see, somewhere in the city?
J: If you’re coming to LA the Griffith Observatory is really cool. It’s like a science museum, you can learn about astrology and see the planets. It overlooks Los Angeles, so you can see the whole city too.
© John McStravick
SR: Wow, that’s pretty sick! So, now obviously Houston is vastly different from LA, they’re not really similar cities. Was it kind of a culture shock going to Los Angeles for the first time?
J: Yeah, I would say Los Angeles is very different. People are a lot more open, free and just don’t really care what other people think about life. I learned when I go home to Texas from LA, people are like, “What the heck are you wearing? Why is your shirt so long and you’re wearing boots?” It’s just a way different culture out here.
SR: So, to tie it into your EP “Wildwest”, what’s something about it that really stands out to you personally. Anything different from your previous work? What are you really excited about it?
J: It just really embodies Los Angeles. When you listen to it you feel like you’re driving in a convertible, the palm trees are above you, the sun is beaming out and you’re out in a huge field barefoot just enjoying nature and life. I really feel like Los Angeles has that vibe where it’s just sunny skies and good days. You know?
SR: Yeah for sure, absolutely. So, one of the songs that really caught my attention was “Smith & Wesson”. Obviously in today’s political climate, and how society is going, more and more people who have a following are called upon to step up and speak out. Was that in any way the motivation behind that song? There are a few lyrics that stood out to me.
J: I didn’t see it as I had to call out. I saw it as that was what was in my heart, in my head at the time and what I currently go through. It was more just as an artist I’m showing you how I feel. I’m not trying to be the voice of the youth. If they take what I say and it changes their views, or it helps them through the day, then that’s what I want to happen. I didn’t go out trying to speak out and to be this leader. I just wrote and sang what I really felt and really feel everyday, and that’s what it became.
SR: It’s definitely cool to see. Now, tying it into travel a little bit, there are a lot of parallels between music and travel. Whether it’s listening to music while you’re on the beach somewhere, performing a concert or just traveling and having a playlist on. How does it fit together for you in your life?
J: Oh man, music is everything. I recently went to Hawaii. There the beachy vibes kind of put me into the whole rock-style life, instrument stuff. I visited Rome and Italy, and just hearing the diverse music from across the country, [and bringing it] back to America really helped influence [me]. I want to bring real music back into the mainstream audience. For me, to make a project that’s fully live instruments, it’s just a result of me traveling and seeing that it’s still a big part of the rest of the world. I want America to still be a part of that.
© Edmund Garman
SR: Definitely. Now, when you do have some down time and you are looking to get away, are you mainly searching for a beach somewhere, to just sit back and relax? Or are you trying to be in the center of the city for some nightlife?
J: I am both types of people. I love New York. I love going to New York, but I wouldn’t want to live there. I love the city. I love being in the hustle and bustle, but I’m also a tourist. I love being able to get to a private getaway, and just be in my thoughts and my mind in nature.
SR: Cool, dude. Everyone has a list of places that they haven’t been to that they still want to hit. What are three that are on your list? Why?
J: I really want to go to Tokyo. I love Japan. I love the culture. I love how they dress and I love the food. So, Tokyo is a big hit list for me. I was born in New Zealand and I lived there until I was eight, but I haven’t been back since. So, I want to go visit the hometown in Auckland. Then, I really want to visit Barcelona or Brazil.
© Tom Hall
SR: That’s great. Switching gears a little, music obviously brings people together. Concerts bring people together and travel does the same. One of our core objectives at SCP is to bring people together while traveling. Talk to how special it is to be on stage and bring people together at a concert. People that may not even speak the same language as each other. How cool is it to do that on stage?
J: It’s amazing when you bring out fans that know your music. It’s definitely a world language, because anybody can listen to your music. They may not understand it, but they know the melodies and they know how it makes [them] feel. When there’s a group of people from around the world in one room and they’re listening to a song that they know, everybody can understand it. Everybody has the same general emotion to the song. The room just fills with energy. It’s the world language. Music is a world language. You can tell if it’s a sad song. You can tell if it’s a happy song. Just performing for people from different states and countries really opens your eyes to how you can really make people feel through music.
SR: What’s one location or venue that you really want to play? One that’s a goal of yours in the near future?
J: I really want to do the Hollywood Bowl, I love the outdoor feel to it. It’s not in some football stadium or basketball stadium. It’s very outdoorsy and you have the night sky above you. It’s probably one of my favorite venues.
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SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, what are you looking forward to in the next couple of months? What do you have in store? Any tours or shows coming up?
J: Yeah, I have some shows coming up. I’m working on new music already. I just dropped EP and now working on new music! So, basically it’s shows and merch coming up in the near future.
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For more on Jaxon and his Wildest EP click the album art: