stylistberlin Interview: Jason Lanox
Burning Every Bridge That I Cross To Find Some Beautiful Place To Get Lost (HENK001)
”For me music is there to express things that we are unable to put in words.”
by E. Morin
Better late than never! Henk’s last party “Henk op de Helling” at NDSM Docklands in Amsterdam with producers like San Proper, Makam, Ion Ludwig, Delano Smith and Portable (Saturday, 21 July 2012, editor’s note) drew our attention to this particular Dutch fellow. Actually the Amsterdam-based promoter also founded a label a few months ago. Both the events and the label are based on a very unusual concept: 100% live acts.
Therefore we went off to meet not only one of the artists of the crew but also the first to release his debut album, “Burning Every Bridge That I Cross To Find Some Beautiful Place To Get Lost”, on the Dutch label: Jason Lanox.
Three years after his first vinyl release, “Heavy Romance” in collaboration with Aron Friedman on Bangbang!, Jason Lanox offers us a fulfilled and subtle album that’s up to the expectations that Henk has of this young and upcoming producer.
It was the highlight of my summer.
Before we introduce your first album, can you say a few words about Henk’s last party in Amsterdam…
The last Henk party was the open air summer festival edition called ‘Henk Op De Helling’. Just like every Henk event, there is only live music (live-sets) and visual artists presenting their work during the party in a very interactive and playful way. Since the summer edition is outside, the combination of art and music becomes very free. Lots of time and energy were put into the sound system of the festival, taking things to the next level, and the result was amazing. Needless to say, it was the highlight of my summer.
How did you story with Henk start…?
Back in the day, ‘Henk’ booked me for hirts first party, It was in a small basement in Amsterdam. I had never seen a party like that, only live music and lots of visual artists doing visual art and installations etc. I was really excited about the vibe of the party . Over time Henk and I got closer, becoming good friends, and I became the resident at the “Henk parties” that started happening more and more. At a certain moment Henk approached me about the label; at that time I was already working on an album, so everything came together and the release was born.
I had never seen a party like that, only live music and lots of visual artists doing visual art and installations.
“Henk op de Helling” at NDSM Docklands in Amsterdam
You chose a beautiful and powerful title for your first album! Can you explain its meaning…
For me, the title expresses this feeling and state of mind in which you are on a journey experiencing the freedom that is created by losing yourself in the moment. You don’t look back and don’t anticipate the future, and thus experience a special kind of beauty. I wanted a poetic title, so the words will encourage the listener to follow the story of the album.
‘Henk’ is a platform where I can express and explore with the freedom I am looking for and be challenged to go deeper.
Henk’s first release is your album, which is not that fashionable for the launching of a new label. Isn’t it a special feeling? Did you feel honoured?
Yes, I do! It is a blessing to release this album on a vinyl label run by people I feel really connected with, and that share the same passion and vision. ‘Henk’ is a platform where I can express and explore with the freedom I am looking for and be challenged to go deeper.
There are a lot of different kinds of music: from ambient to techhouse via drum&bass and experimental. Is it your conception of an electronic album? Does it have to offer variety and relate a story?
I try not to approach music in such different styles and I don’t have set rules or ideas of what an electronic album should be like. I just do music that comes from my heart and express myself. I like the idea of being free of restrictions and exploring while I am creating.
It was definitely a special period with its bright but also darker sides.
Is the variety of this album a sign of the confusion you had to beat at one moment of your life?
When I created the album it was definitely a special period with its bright but also darker sides, but I don’t think there was any confusion in the creative process and the choices I made. All the tracks just express different things and create different atmospheres that together make one story.
It seems like nature and the city have a paramount role in this album. Is this where you draw your inspiration from?
Yeah, for this project I took specific places as inspiration for many songs. This album is kind of like a soundtrack that should spark your imagination to follow a story. The story takes place in a city at night and the hints towards nature and places outside the city are psychedelic and spiritual experiences.
Your mind keeps wondering, unable to find the cure to sleep…
Which song is in your opinion the highlight of the album?
It’s hard to say but I guess if I had too choose…’Destinator’, since it was the starting point of creating the album. ‘Destinator’ is about that moment in the evening when the night arrives where the city goes to sleep but you’re sleepless. Your mind keeps wondering, unable to find the cure to sleep and finally you give in and go where it takes you. I remember one night the experience was so clear I made a piece of music about it. A few weeks later when I was in Paris, a friend of mine unexpectedly played ‘Destinator’ in a DJ set at a party. The dance floor exploded ; it was very nice. It felt like now the whole dancefloor was dancing and celebrating their sleepless night.
Your album does not really stand up, or rather it sounds tortured, which is actually really charming. It’s also the case with “Destinator” and “Get Lost”. Does your album reflect your personality? Are you also bipolar? Lunatic? Nostalgic?
I don’t know if the album sounds like that exactly, I can’t really put these words to it or any words for that matter. For me music is there to express things that we are unable to put in words. But I am sure it reflects my personality : otherwise it would be very strange.
“Darkwaters” is the penultimate track. It causes anguish and creates a heavy atmosphere. Just after, “Seas Of Aesfa” lightens the atmosphere and closes your first album with a 25 seconds break at 8”42, finishing with sea waves. What is the/your last message?
“The sea gives, and the sea takes away.“
What does your musical future look like for the upcoming months?
There are upcoming releases like the collaboration with my brother from another, Roman Azzaro, and also solo projects with new directions and colours. I will keep enjoying playing, meeting more amazing people and making music, basically doing what I love as much as I can.