“It came to him in a dream-a weird, psychedelic dream about robots and butterfly-shaped spaceships. And it launched him into action.”
But Jack Splash hadn’t been sitting around waiting for things to happen. As an artist and producer, Jack has had one hell of a wild ride these last five years. With the 12-inch release of his band PlantLife’s debut single, “The Last Song,” DJs across the pond-including The Chemical Brothers, Groove Armada and Gilles Peterson-latched on immediately and clamored for more. In 2004, PlantLife’s The Return of Jack Splash won the prize for “Album of the Year” at Gilles Peterson’s BBC Radio 1 Awards.” Just a bit about this great maker of music, who’s inspiration came to him in a dream. (Text from his biography on Facebook.com/jacksplash). This Grammy Award winner is conjuring up a project that could very well change this generation’s view of music, technology, and… dreaming. Having worked with artists such as Cee-Lo, Jennifer Hudson, Missy Elliot, and Alicia Keys (to name a few), Mister Flash is feeling the call of returning to his own music. “I think it’s time to get weird and adventurous again…” Jack Splash
We’re stoked he agreed to interview with us and tell us about his music and magic… Enjoy!
MDM: How did you get into writing and producing?
JS: I’ve been writing since I was a little boy. I started off with poems which then turned into songs when I started playing the piano around age 10. I then got heavily into hip hop so my writing then turned into producing. I didn’t really know I was producing at that time, I was just having fun making music (which I think is the most important thing at the end of the day). I like to say that I fell in love with music as a child and I’ve been lucky enough never to have fallen out of love with it.
MDM: I see you have a couple of Grammys, Platinum records, under your belt. Can you tell us a bit about those and what it meant for you when your career went to the next level?
JS: It’s interesting because sometimes I look at the plaques I have on my wall (or the awards I’ve received) and it still feels very surreal to me. I’ve always been quite a rebel when it comes to the style of music that I like to make for myself or produce for others, so it still seems strange to me that some of the music I’ve made has been so well received by the public. I think that a lot of times when people have success they get greedy and then try to sell out in order to cash in on their success. I’ve always chosen the exact opposite route and I’ve used any money or success I’ve had and put it right back into doing exactly what I like doing which is pushing boundaries musically and constantly challenging myself. That’s what keeps it fun for me every day when I go to the studio.
MDM: You have a rather interesting way of producing…
JS: I don’t really have one set way of producing. Sometimes I will do everything myself along just running around playing everything and sometimes I’ll invite TONS of people into the session and kind of just have a strange future funk party that turns into magic. Sometimes I’ll use all organic instruments (like live drums, keys, horns, etc.) and sometimes I’ll use all synthetic instruments (like drum machines, synths, etc.). Sometimes I will record everything to analog tape & sometimes I will keep everything in the digital realm. I used to be very opposed to soft synths because for some reason I couldn’t wrap my head around how I could make them “real”, but I finally figured out how to make them “real” for myself and I’ve been having a blast with them ever since. I think my only rule in producing is to keep it fun and exciting. Without that, it’s just another job, and if that was the case I’d rather not be doing it.
MDM: So, what are you working on right now?
JS: I’m constantly working on a million projects at once. I think that’s what keeps me sane. At this very moment I’m working on some very pretty soul ballads and also working on a very hardcore underground hip hop project. That’s kind of how I like to keep it so it feels like a constant yin and yang energy. that way I don’t ever get bored with one type of energy in the studio.
MDM: Have you ever placed music in TV / Films?
JS: Yes, early on in my career (when I first put out the first Plantlife album) I placed a lot of music in TV and films and it was very exciting because it was these great sources of income that I totally didn’t expect when i was making the music. Luckily it was all movies and TV shows that I loved so it was a double treat because I got paid and got to hear my music in the TV shows that I loved.
MDM: What advice do you have for composers/producers trying to make it in today’s music business?
JS: I think my best advice to composers/producers trying to make it in today’s business is to just trust your own musical instincts. I feel like too many people think that the best way to make it is by copying someone else’s sound (i.e. another producer or artist). The truth is that the best new artists or producers usually have their OWN sound that might take a long time to find it’s audience…the beauty of that though is that when it finally DOES reach the correct audience it is usually welcomed with open arms specifically because it doesn’t sound like everything else.
Many thanks to Jack Splash for this awesome interview. Before we go, he leaves us with these words: “The most important thing is to trust your own heart musically and to make sure you are having fun while u are making the music. If u don’t enjoy MAKING the music then you can’t really expect people to enjoy LISTENING to it can you?”
Now go out, make music, and have some fun.