As soon as school was over, Jackson left to London with a job set up on arrival. Immersing himself in London’s grime culture, he integrated experimental hip hop and sunny days on the Sunshine Coast to glue DËMKRÅTŸ together. With London’s insatiable taste for subcultures, DËMKRÅTŸ was able to create freely without having to tuck his shirt in or getting shitty school haircuts. His beats help you kick back with a few friends, revved for a seedy night out or help cure a hangover (mental support, not physically. Sorry kids).
Meeting up two years after school, Jackson’s long hair, baggy tee and sock and slides combo did him justice. With less restriction, Jackson was able to mix, mash, snip and chop up music variations to produce something with smooth street style, classical recognition and a personal twist. What a top dog.
What’s been happening Jackson? What’s new?
Nothing, just been kicking it – just got back from overseas, don’t have a job, just perfect time to kind of get into music making.
When did you realise you had the interest in producing?
Well, I dunno aye. I feel like it’s always kinda been in my head. Ever since I was a kid, my dad got me into guitar and stuff. I grew up around music and I eventually got into the beat making side of it.
So your family was pretty musical?
Yeah, pretty much. All my brothers play instruments and my dad. All the dudes in the family, haha. My little sister is a good singer too. But ever since I was a kid that’s all I can remember, guitar lessons. I would get over guitar lessons cause I would go to that many, y’know like “I quit guitar” at like six years old and so on.
Haha I think everyone has quit guitar lessons once or twice.
You were living in London for a while, was that kind of like an inspirational gateway to beat making?
Yes, definitely. It’s crazy, there’s so much going on in London. I met up with a couple of producers and rappers over there, I felt like I’ve done a lot more over there in a year and half than I did the whole time of been in Australia.
I can imagine, there’s not much of an outlet on the Sunshine Coast.
There are definitely people around that really interested into the beat making stuff, it’s just the Sunshine Coast with that kind of standard of being a live music rather than being experimental beats. Like at Solbar, I wouldn’t really see experimental hip hop, electronic beats being played. There are definitely outlets in Australia though, Melbourne’s pretty good.
I think it’s just got that hub of the coastal lifestyle.
So describe DEMKRATY. How’s that going?
Yeah, it’s going good so far. I’ve got a new album-slash-beat tape coming out in twenty seventeen sometime. Yeah, it’s going pretty sweet with Mascon Echoes and stuff, with live shows. Currently speaking with some Spanish people on the internet for some photos for the new album, they’re doing a photoshoot which should be good. Hopefully that’ll work out, but yeah, everything’s going good. Got back, and I’ve got heaps of inspiration being back, just the good weather man. Before I got here, I’ve been in two whole winters cause I was in London then went to New Zealand for their winter. But now, I’m back, cruising around, making heaps of music.
Yeah, love it. Has your music style changed a bit whilst being on the Coast?
I feel like that I have heaps of variations in my beats. I’ve got some real slow, trippy stuff and then more upbeat kinda stuff for people to freestyle over or whatever. I definitely feel like the surroundings around me affect my music, like the samples I use and stuff.
Take us through the steps of producing a track.
I’d pick my tempo first. Actually, before I’d do that I’d be finding a sample, haha. Looking through old vinyl’s for a one bar, two bar loop that I think sounds good. Then I’d take that, chop it up and sample it onto a keyboard and then kinda mess with it. Pick a tempo, put a real basic beat in it and just have a jam for a while until I kinda find something that makes me feel really good. And yeah, keep going on that. Some can be really quick to finish like an hour and some just take fucking ages to do.
Gotta be in the mood for it?
I dunno, I feel like the only way to get a really good, fun beat is by doing it live. Kinda like when rappers are free styling, they do like a hectic bar and they can’t even remember. Just in the moment. Them kinda feels.
Haha eventually something will hit and it’s just like aw man I love myself!
Is it kinda of hard to find that moment without being in a live performance.
Not really, I find it pretty easy. I’m just…
Yeah, always hanging out. I don’t really ever have any plans. People ask me what I’m doing in a couple of hours and I’m just like I don’t know bro.
Ask me when it happens.
Yeah, haha. So it’s been pretty easy. All my friends have drumkits and pianos so I just go there, a bit of weed and just play. And they kinda jump on it as well. So it’s kinda fun, taking electronic beats I’ve made and playing them in a live setting and an acoustic kit and piano and stuff. Yeah, I’ve got a lot of inspiration around cause a lot of my friends are musical. We all kinda bite off each other.
Tell us more of about Mascon Echoes. Is it a label?
It’s a label. An electronic music collective. It really started with my brother, Josh and his mate, Thomas. They created the picture for it but yeah, it’s a collective of like-minded producers from Brisbane and the coast joined together. All kind of independent, done by us. We’re looking to make ourselves an organisation, be able to throw our own parties, sell our own alcohol and stuff. We wanna make it into a full company, we have mixes to be able record people.
It seems like you guys have a foot in a lot of doors, with the producing side to it but then with events and supplying alcohol and stuff.
Yeah, it’s been really sick. My big brother just got signed to Green Chimney, which is an independent label based in Brisbane who do jazz and hip hop around Australia. They’ve been helpful, been advertising Mascon Echoes, throwing gigs our way and stuff.
Ha you can’t complain with that.
Yeah, exactly. We aren’t making that much money but getting out there and getting recognition is sick. Being able to put our merchandise out, like our shirts, tapes and hats is really good.
I saw Mascon Echoes had an event in Brisbane a while back.
Yeah, whilst I was overseas, they had a couple of events. They’d be house parties, it’d be like live beat making. It would usually consist of whoever is free to do the party in our label, usually everyone cause we have around 5 or 6 producers, and just kinda good times. They start off kinda laxed out, chill hip hop and then eventuate in more hectic stuff. Just a good time, lax out. Smoke some weed. Drink some beers.
House parties are always good time. Less restrictions haha.
It’s always good cause it’s our place.
Has that personality.
It’s good. Also, it’s like sick cause you get play beats in front of your mates and if they’re all having a good time, you feel like a boss haha. You feel like you’ve made it. But then you remember that there’s heaps of people in London and all over doing the same shit.
Gotta start somewhere.
Yeah, that’s the thing.
The creative industry is pretty tough to make it in.
Just as long as you’re having fun, I don’t really give a shit. As long as I’m making music and have enough money to live, I’m easy, haha.
At the moment, you playing any shows or just chilling?
Me, currently I haven’t been able to play many live shows cause I don’t have a production system, I’ve got one coming, Native instrument mark 2. We’re really just looking for anywhere and really just putting sets together, rather than mixing music with other people, it’ll be all of your music as well as trying to pick the right music for a live gig. Say like some of my music is kind of more you’d wanna tripping acid in the room 3 in the morning and that can’t really go on in a gig, it wouldn’t really work haha.
Do you think there’s a lot of venues that’d be looking for that type of music?
I feel like down in Brisbane, it’s more of a place to go for me, especially cause half of the people from Mascon Echoes live in Brisbane. There’s just a bit more opportunity in Brisbane. Yeah, the Sunny Coast for venues is a bit dull for the music we produce. I’m sure the Sunshine Coast will eventually have some places and bars that’ll explore music like ours.
It has a lot of potential but I think the older generation wanna preserve the kinda traditional feel rather than branch out. As well as residential issues, that’d always be a struggle.
Yeah, probably haha.
What are some artists you’re into at the moment?
Um, yeah man hey. I get this question asked a lot haha. I have a really vast taste in music. I like experimental, hip hop and how you get some tracks that sound like it’s in another room, like muffled. I think that’s cool. I kinda like everything ha, a lot of classical music, a lot of garage, drum and bass, house. Just music as a whole. Some heavy metal bands I like too, just cause going to their gigs are absolutely insane.
Yeah, good stage presence is a must.
Yeah, it’s hectic. I just have a massive love and appreciation for all music. I feel like whenever I get asked this question I don’t know any music, haha, I just go blank, I have no artists in my head at the moment. Mick Jenkins new album is pretty sick, how he worked with BADBADNOTGOOD, that was really cool. Got that kinda bluesy feel at the start.
Any other hobbies than music?
Yeah nah, really just music. I was talking about this with my grandma the other day. She was like ‘what do you wanna Jackson?’ and I was like ‘I wanna do music’, she told me to get a real job haha. I’m just gonna keep doing it till I have a midlife crisis.
See how I go from there kinda style.
Yeah, pretty much cause that’s all I really wanna do. Any other job I look at I don’t really feel it. Music and art is what I want to do.
What next for Demkraty? Where are you gonna go next?
I’m really just um… see I have no idea. I felt more at home in London than I do here, so probably back over England or maybe America. There’s a really good music scene in London and i’d be able to meet up with the people that I started to do stuff with people which i’ve kinda slowed down on since being back in Australia. I’ve just been working on emails and you kinda like, yeah i’ll get back them when I want to you know?
Yeah, there’s a lot more motivation to do things when you’re literally surrounded by it.
Yeah, yeah. That’s probably next.
Jackson has just released a new tape with 8 tracks on SoundCloud, so what more perfect time to start listening to his finger-lickin’ beats. Below is a favourite of mine, you should treat your ears once a while and give it a swirl.