Coming together to create a marriage of succinct hip-hop beats and strong euphonious vocals, Jones Jnr reignites a fresh spark on the sound of soul. A naturally born collaborative project with childhood mates Ev Jones (former Hobo Bordeaux) and Morgan Jones (Thundamentals), Jones Jnr has just dropped their latest EP, ‘Step On Sleep,’ with a forthcoming album on the horizon. The lads are set to support Mark Ronson on his upcoming tour as well as performing alongside the likes of Dwele, Miguel, and BJ the Chicago Kid at this years’ Soulfest.
We chat to Ev Jones about ‘Step On Sleep,’ the creative dynamic between the duo, and what he anticipates for the future of Jones Jnr. Ayla Dhyani writes.
You just dropped your latest EP, ‘Step On Sleep.’ How do you feel about it?
I think we’re both just pumped to get it out there, that’s for sure. It’s been in the making for a while. We actually went away and wrote a bunch of songs coming up to the album and then decided to put some of those on the EP. So we’ve been re-working it a lot. The whole idea was just to get something out before the album because we’ve been trying to drop something every year for the listeners. So it feels good.
And why ‘step on sleep?’
(Laughs) well, for a long period of my life I was running bars and basically living in the darkness of the days, and unfortunately never seeing the sun. So it was just a reference to me feeling like I was just sleeping, then going to work, then come home to a quiet, empty house every night tiptoeing around the place. So I’m not really sure what it means, but it just happened.
You’re both originally from Katoomba. Did you work with each other from a young age?
Well, we actually went to school together all through primary school and high school and played soccer as little fellas together. We’ve known each other our whole lives, but never really worked together musically. So it’s quite a bizarre relationship. Because we know each other so well, there’s no room for ego (laughs), which is great!
You guys are set to hit the road with Mark Ronson in a few months. How does that feel?
Oh, that’s crazy. I’m actually a little terrified about it. That’s ‘big-stage’ performance. It looks like we may have a few other extras up there, but we might just do it as the two of us. I think the Melbourne one is at Margaret Court Arena, so that’s a big fu**ing stage. But no, I’m pumped and really excited to get back out there. We’ve got a little tour coming up as well, just to hit the road with the EP and play it to some people. It’s been a little while since we got out there, so we’re really excited.
You’re also on the bill for this years’ Soulfest…
Yeah! I’m so happy to just go! It’s such an amazing line-up. If I can go and see Miguel and BJ the Chicago Kid on the same day, that’s me done. I’m happy.
If you could collaborate with anyone on the line-up, who would it be?
I think Morgs would say BJ the Chicago Kid for sure. It’s a tough call. I don’t know if I’d really want to sing with anyone, because they’d all out-sing me (laughs). So maybe I’d just have to try to jump on board with someone’s band, like Jill Scott. We actually did some shows with Jill Scott when she was out here a while ago and just hung out with her band a lot. They’re all just such amazing people. So I’d be so happy to see that crew again. But I reckon we’d go with BJ.
How do you find the creative process with Jones Jnr in comparison to your other projects?
With Jones Jnr it’s actually always been quite organic. With the other projects, the whole band would all be writing together. But with Jones Jnr, Morgs might have a bunch of beats, then I’d grab them (before the Thunda boys do), write over them, then we’d get back together and cut them and put little loops and samples into the tracks that you end up hearing. Sometimes I’ll have a song and then we'd write over it, but it is really different. However, I think with the latest EP and the album that is coming after that, we've definitely been exploring writing together a lot more, rather than just writing over loops. We’ve lost the idea of a sample holding up a whole tune. I play a lot of instruments, and Morgs does as well, so recently it’s been about playing drums, and bass, and keys and approaching it more as a studio production-based thing, rather than just loops and samples. It’s pretty fun!
So, what do you anticipate for the future of Jones Jnr?
Well, I guess the EP came from an angle of “let’s just get it out because we don’t want the record to take so long.” But I’m hoping to put out a strong record that doesn’t just follow the style of ‘old-timey soul.’ I think in Australia it’s sometimes hard to convince people that it’s a strong genre in itself. People just say “oh yeah, my mum would like that” and it gets dismissed. So I’m hoping to put something out that brings good moments from the past but has some reflections of the future that’s easy for people to vibe on. I think we’re still finding our sound as well. We’re still trying to figure out what Jones Jnr is. Will it just be the two of us or will we eventually start touring with a band? So, I don’t know! Definitely take it out of this dusty, little continent and do some more shows overseas. The small amount we’ve done has always been really well received. Japan was bizarre. We did that this time last year, and they’re just the most avid listeners I’ve ever played to in my life. It was bizarre as an Australian performer being over there, expecting everyone to be hammered and shouting, but they would stand with one beer and listen to the whole set. And if they’re gonna drink, they’d do it afterwards otherwise they’d just go home. I love it. There’s such a massive respect for going out and listening to music. Sometimes funny for us over here!
What stimulates your soul?
Well artistically, being able to do it to other people. If I can create something that’s going to move people and get them dancing, that makes me happy and makes it all worth it. Generally, though… just getting up and trying not to worry about anything and realising that I’m pretty lucky to live, to do what I do with the opportunities I’ve got. So that just gets me up to do more! Also just damn,good music. I’ve been listening to some good music lately and it’s making me happy that the world is putting out some good shit (laughs).
PURCHASE the Step On Sleep via iTunes