Interview: Jackson Aide Creates Art with "LOVE"
Jackson Aide has a style all his own. I don't want to spoil the interview for you below by telling you what he calls it, but I do want to point out that once you begin listening, you'll find that you don't need a label on it. His album titled LOVE has it all: emotion, narrative, and an artful delivery. You'll feel that emotion in each song as it filters into the plot of your own love life; past and present. And the art is in the delivery. Aide had a hand in each step of LOVE. From the songwriting, to the production, to how he portrays it on his Instagram; each step is a piece in a much larger puzzle that has been sent into the world strategically and passionately for his fans to enjoy. We had a chance to get a few more pieces of the puzzle, beginning with a simple question:
How do you describe your musical style?
"This is always the toughest question for me to answer and also the most intriguing as well. Simply because I truly do listen to all types/genres of music... so when putting this album together I wanted to take bits and pieces from every genre of music. Old and new. This particular project was sorta driven by American singer-song writers. Dylan, Petty, Springsteen, Cash....basically my heroes. But I also needed these songs sonically to lean against some modern production techniques for them to find a new light. If you listen to the record, there is a lot of stuff going on, even underneath the surface, there is stuff hiding that adds so much depth to each song. I set out to compose a record that didn't sound the same from front to back. And that is both lyrically and even more so sonically. I truly wanted listeners to have a tough time describing my record. I wanted the comparisons, but I also didn't want people to be able to define it or pigeonhole me into a particular niche. This is the new way we consume music, we just don't listen to one thing everyone is listening to multiple types. If you listen close enough you'll find Taylor Swift influences, Bob Dylan influences, The Killers influence, and Sam Cooke influences. But I like to describe my music, or this record in general as: FOLK - ROCK - ELECTRONIC - POP - ART."
And just for fun....How does your personal style fit (or not fit) with your musical style?
"Well I'm sorta jeans and a plain t-shirt with some Nikes...type of guy. I'm really not into trends, or what is fashionable at the moment. All of that sorta fades away and slowly gets forgotten. I think having a classic style will always be timeless. I always browse old pictures of Petty, Springsteen, and Dylan and admire how cool they looked. But those times or types of fashion were just proper and classic. Fashion that never goes out of style. I guess I wanted my record to sorta be that as well. The classic, timeless sound that you can put on at any given moment and feel cool. Although I must admit that having proper shoes/boots and jackets makes the outfit, and also says a lot about the individual. I find myself having more jackets and shoes than other pieces. Turtlenecks are a must for fall. Scarfs for the winter months. I also have a pair of striped trousers, and also a pair of houndstooth trousers that I wear on special occasions. Those are my favorite pieces at the moment. I think the biggest thing people overlook when trying to be fashionable is trying to "look cool" when being cool has never been quantifiable, being cool is just simply being comfortable with who you are. An image is important in this music game, but being honest with yourself is far more important for your well being."
How long did it take you to write all 11 songs on LOVE? Where were you when you wrote them?
"Lets see, this record sorta came to be over the span of 2 years time. Maybe a bit more, Its very hard to remember. The title track LOVE was the first song that came out for this whole batch of songs which eventually became the record. I think I had about 50+ songs when we sat down to start production. The last songs I wrote that made it on the record were FIRE and WHITE HORSES after moving to Nashville. I also finished DON'T LOOK BACK while in the studio, which is why I felt it needed to be the final song on the album. It's funny looking back at the process simply because I really wasn't thinking about writing any of this, it just sorta fell out of me naturally. And that is a good thing. I actually wrote a whole other record before LOVE and was planning on tracking that, but in the process of moving to Nashville a whole new batch of songs came out of me. The thing I think people don't understand about writing is that its always a retrospective narrative. Simply because the way I process things and write them down, is from experience and I never write about what is happening at the immediate moment. I almost enjoy processing my experiences, thoughts and then deciding if it's worth saying, most of the time its not, but every once in a while you get a record like LOVE. I still lyrically and thematically believe it is the strongest stuff I have written yet."
The album has a theme of romantic love. Is it about one relationship in particular, or a culmination of romance and heartbreak over a span of time?
"LOVE defines the relationship between two lovers that have the world drifting beneath their feet and the trail of disenchantment that comes with the idea of heartbreak. I wanted it to be a story of sorts, from front to back. Listen to it, its all there. From start to finish, from one side to the other. It's a tale of lovers that are drifting apart, not because they chose to, but simply because that is life. Life changes, people change. Its tough, and it is not supposed to be easy. I'm not one to indulge people about what the record is or what it isn't. I would rather let people draw their own story from it. I already painted mine within the songs and lyrically. And visually, I do all of my artwork and design myself. I wanted to create a visual representation of the record for listeners. There are themes, and characters that you can find within the whole record that appear in one song and then reappear in another and then reappear again. The record has two sides, think of it like that. Some of it is very conversational, and then some of it is just me talking to myself. Truthfully it's just a bunch of poems."
What do you hope your listeners take from LOVE?
"To truly understand love, you must risk letting someone go. And if they come back to you, then....don't look back."
What's next for you?
"What is next? Pretty much anything and everything. I have some shows coming up on the 15th and 20th in Nashville. A festival on the 23rd in Nashville. Constantly working on something or another. Honestly, I have not stopped in 3 years. If I'm not out playing, I'm designing. If I'm not designing I'm writing. If I'm not writing I'm working on booking more shows. If I'm not booking, I'm working on merchandise. It is a constant and that is a damn good thing. I love being busy, because what's the point in being bored. There is none. I'm in Nashville and I might as well make the most of every chance I get. People tend to get so confused with their pursuit of art, they always fall into the societal trap. I am so lucky to be doing this, I don't want to take a minute of it for granted. I want to push myself further and harder than I have ever before with my art. And to do that I need to make a record better than this last one. Both Lyrically and sonically. Only In Dreams."