As always, make sure to listen to the tracks whilst reading the interview for the best experience.
South London’s Jackson Mathod, to put it simply, is enjoying life at the moment. A new London artist on the scene, his contemporary Jazz style is turning heads in the capital. His debut release ‘The Park’ and the impressive instrumental follow up, ‘India’, both have a distinct uplifting and refreshing allure. He is a hugely sought after musician on the session scene, his solo work is only just seeping through and already emits an infectiously positive energy.
One year ago, the mood wasn’t quite so bright and jovial – Mathod put out a dark, brooding and bass-heavy, track called Words. He admits that he ‘‘was going through a dub phase, which was a completely different mood to the new officially released material’’. The song touched on the sensitive topic of mental health and the music certainly portrayed some darker tones. The song is still available on YouTube but Jackson made the decision to pull the plug on it ‘‘because it was too difficult to portray that dub-heavy music effectively on stage’’. Last years foray onto the scene was short-lived as he decided to go back to the drawing board again. ‘‘I was just desperate to do something back then and didn’t really think the whole project through‘.
Fast forward exactly a year (which includes half a year in lockdown) and it looks like he’s finally found his musical voice. He describes the new sound as ‘‘fun and cheeky’’, both adjectives reflect his personality down to a tee.
First and foremost, Jackson is a live performer. He has been gracing the biggest stages on the planet and performing with the world’s biggest names in music for years now. Mathod is one of the UK’s most sought after session musicians; touring with the likes of Stormzy and Jordan Rakei and frequently shares the stage with respected Jazz musicians like Julian Joseph. Not content on a life in the shadows, he has decided that now is the right time to have a go at this music thing for himself. His new found musical direction is perfect for the stage, his band are the business and his sound has become defined and purposeful. Making time to focus on his own music has been difficult, striking a balance between session work and solo work is tough.
”It took a long time to find my way and write my own music, I got caught up in the working (session) musician lifestyle and when you are in that cycle, it’s hard to make time for anything else.”
On June 19th, Mathod released his first official track to the world. The Park, the debut, ‘‘was written about a psychedelic trip with friends on a holiday in Amsterdam’’. For many looking in, it may sound trivial, but Jackson felt something more powerful that day – emotions which were strong enough to bring the experience to paper. ‘‘The Park was so personal and meant a lot to me, this piece of music fully represents the emotions I felt that day, in the park’’, he adds. There is nothing conventional about the way the song is composed: the introduction is prolonged and ambient, the bass-line is a simplistic electronic wobble and the vocals are euphoric. ‘It is a weird song’, he chuckles. Indeed it is, not many debut singles have such an experimental sound – Mathod operates in his own little world here – The sound of chirping birdsong throughout the intro, brings us all into that park with him.
The second single quickly followed and in the same impressive vein, this time a chirpy instrumental piece called ‘India’. It is our first full taste of Mathod’s acclaimed Jazz trumpet playing. The Park was a cheeky, vibrant introduction – India fits the same narrative too, yet oozes more Jazz rich elements. This track features some outstanding brass notes throughout, the tempo is perfect for a good old fashioned knees up. ‘‘India is a song for dancing, it’s a festival song, best experienced live at 2am with everyone going at it’’
Although the music is released under his own name, Mathod humbly takes time to earmark the importance of his band mates – ‘‘The music is built well-in-part by the band, they all had their creative input to make the tracks what they are today (and the sound engineers too, I can’t forget them)’’
Originally a classically trained Jazz musician (with a Guildhall Jazz degree under his belt), his music veers away from traditional Jazz and into a kind of Indie sphere. His deviation from classical Jazz comes, in part, from the fact he wanted to distance himself from a trend of musicians he observed solely trying to ‘‘out-do each other’’ on the live circuit. His style is also shaped, in part, by his experiences during his time studying Jazz (at Guildhall). He had a mixed experience there, and found the environment very competitive, which led him to lose his taste for singing as a result.
‘‘I couldn’t hack being in the environment where everyone is listening super intently to everything you say (musically) and honing in on every mistake’’
His experiences at the Guildhall led him into a battle with nerves, that took a long time to clear up. These experiences have molded him into the exciting musician he has since become. ”It wasn’t until after leaving Guildhall that I felt as if a weight had been lifted, I was happy to call music my job with confidence – how could I be nervous? I love playing music!!”
Jackson Mathod’s aim is to make music that is fun, exuberant and most importantly, captivating on a live stage. Since embarking on his solo musical journey, he has also featured on a track with London-Based duo FIKA that has passed the one million stream mark. The track is titled, ‘Make You Feel’, and features a sublime trumpet solo from the main man himself. Luckily, there is another collaboration in the pipeline.
When all the global uncertainty disappears, one thing that cannot be missed, is a Jackson Mathod live show. He has been itching to get back on stage for months, when the time comes, it will be a mammoth affair.
Mathod is looking forward to the future and there is a clarity to his planning of it. ”Going forward, I will be writing a lot of instrumental songs but will still be incorporating some vocals in along the way, I love singing, it gives a song so much more meaning when you can add words to it. Lockdown has given me a chance to find my path and think clearly about this new direction, hopefully people like it”
Listen to Jackson Mathod on Spotify Below
About ‘The Sound Sniffer’
The Sound Sniffer is a one-man music blog which is still only a baby – Founded and run by Kevin Coakley in early 2019. He is a music writer and ghostwriter. ‘The Sound Sniffer’ also runs gigs and showcases in London since Oct 2019. The showcases are picked from artists I find in my submissions inbox.
Check out my Interviews HERE