Name: Jackson Mathod
Occupation: Trumpet player, composer
Recent Release: Jackson Mathod's Come On Now EP is out via Bridge the Gap x New Soil.
Recommendations: One has to be my mum Chris Wood and her dichroic window. These pictures are taken from my parents' house and it’s just incredible the change in colour of the room throughout the day, especially in summer.
"Las Vegas Tango" - Gil Evans. A recent discovery for me. I know Gil mainly for his work with Miles Davis but this piece taken from his album The individualism of Gil Evans really stood out for me. Incredible writing, arranging and use of instrumentation.
If you enjoyed this interview with Jackson Mathod and would like to find out more about his music, visit him on Instagram, Facebook, twitter, and Soundcloud.
When did you start writing/producing/playing music and what or who were your early passions and influences? What was it about music and/or sound that drew you to it?
Writing and producing is all a very new process to me. I’ve always been into improvisation and playing live but the art of creating something that I want the world to hear has really taken a long time to happen.
My whole approach is based around the diversity of the trumpet. The trumpet can be played in so many genres and evoke so many emotions so why can’t my music be like that! As a session musician I’ve been in bands playing all kinds of music from ska, reggae to hiphop and funk.
Playing a wide range of genres really forces you to play differently and that’s something I can’t get enough of.
When I listen to music, I see shapes, objects and colours. What happens in your body when you're listening and how does it influence your approach to creativity?
I’d say I’m quite a passionate and emotive kinda person so music always seems to affect my mood, both when I’m listening, playing / creating.
If the music doesn’t make me feel something I’m not going to be into it.
How would you describe your development as an artist in terms of interests and challenges, searching for a personal voice, as well as breakthroughs?
I’ve always been interested in Jazz music (Whatever that even means these days) but I felt like when I went to music college, I was put off by the competitive nature of it all. Hence why, when I left, my focus was just on being a session musician, playing gigs and surviving.
I’ve played for a lot of different artists but never really had a thought for doing my own originals project until now! The dream was to just earn a living playing music. Now it feels like original music has a very big part to play in the future of my career!
Tell me a bit about your sense of identity and how it influences both your preferences as a listener and your creativity as an artist, please.
My immediate family are all artists. My dad taught art and photography, my sister currently studies art direction and my mum is a light artist who gets commissioned all over the world! So art is at the very centre of my identity to be honest and I have always been encouraged to pursue music.
I consider myself very fortunate to have had this support around me and the openness to pursue a career in music.
What, would you say, are the key ideas behind your approach to music and art?
Diversity and community are at the heart of what I do. As I mentioned before I love how the trumpet can be played in so many genres and also give the listener completely different flavours in timbre. In true Miles fashion I love using a Harmon mute and the Flugelhorn has become a big part in my writing.
Especially with my new EP there’s lots of different personnel involved and I feel like there’s a community of musicians building within the music, which really excites me!
How would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I really think originality is key, however in Jazz music I think it’s super important to respect the tradition. I like to take traditional structures like AABA and incorporate them.
A prime example of this is ‘Dumb People’. This track gets a lot of love from some of the more jazz purists I know.
Over the course of your development, what have been your most important instruments and tools - and what are the most promising strategies for working with them?
Obviously first and foremost it’s the trumpet. It’s over 20 years that I’ve been playing it and I think my passion for it just keeps growing. It’s the foundation of what my musical journey is built around.
For creating and music production the piano is where everything happens. I had jazz piano lessons when I was young and I’m so grateful I did. I just love harmony and melody and the feeling certain chords can give you. It’s a whole other world that I still have so much to explore!
Take us through a day in your life, from a possible morning routine through to your work, please.
If I’m being disciplined I’ll be in the gym first thing in the morning. It always gives me the energy both physically and mentally to attack the day!
If it’s a studio day I’ll normally get in with my lunch and put on some sort of production tutorial or livestream. Learning production really is like learning a new instrument so the consistency of getting new information is so key. I’ll either then get straight into something new or something I’ve been working on. It’s the balance of creating and just general trumpet practice that’s always a challenge.
But wow how fortunate I am to have these things to balance. Gigging and creating are both pretty exhausting processes so normally by the end of the day I’m horizontal watching some TV.
Could you describe your creative process on the basis of a piece, live performance or album that's particularly dear to you, please?
Recently I have found a really creative time for me to be super late at night.
I remember I was writing something until about 3am and basically getting nowhere. I then decided to just start something completely new even though it was so late. Loaded up a drum loop and pretty much wrote the chords and structure. Wrote the melody the next day and now it’s the 3rd tune off my new EP ‘3am’.
It most definitely doesn’t always happen like that but it just goes to show that the whole complexion of a writing session can change in an instant!
Listening can be both a solitary and a communal activity. Likewise, creating music can be private or collaborative. Can you talk about your preferences in this regard and how these constellations influence creative results?
Listening is pretty much a constant for me. It’s very rare if I’m on the move that I’m not listening.
The more I listen the more I subconsciously take things in and that feeds directly into my writing.
How do your work and your creativity relate to the world and what is the role of music in society?
I just really want to spread joy but also release music that really represents me.
Music connects us, builds community and gives us real life experiences. Music is an essential part of not only society but life itself!
Art can be a way of dealing with the big topics in life: Life, loss, death, love, pain, and many more. In which way and on which occasions has music – both your own or that of others - contributed to your understanding of these questions?
The prime example of this was the pandemic for me. It felt so alien to not be playing so regularly and to be around lots of people. I think my only way to deal with this was just to create as much as possible so that I had something to give people when it all came back.
Music always seems to have my back any time I have hard times I’m dealing with. Sometimes it brings out some of our best work or sometimes it’s just that release we need. Harnessing those feelings of anger, sadness, pain etc and putting it into music is so powerful!
How do you see the connection between music and science and what can these two fields reveal about each other?
The more I’ve learnt about music production and mixing the more I understand experimentation with sound can be very scientific. It’s a world that was completely alien to me pre-covid but now I find it really interesting.
It’s all in the frequencies and tricking our brain!
Creativity can reach many different corners of our lives. Do you feel as though writing or performing a piece of music is inherently different from something like making a great cup of coffee? What do you express through music that you couldn't or wouldn't in more 'mundane' tasks?
I mean … we’re effectively comparing senses aren’t we? Eating good food can hit you the same way a good funk groove can. Also cooking and music go hand in hand.
I guess I can express my true self through music, which is something that I just can’t with anything else.
Music is vibration in the air, captured by our ear drums. From your perspective as a creator and listener, do you have an explanation how it able to transmit such diverse and potentially deep messages?
I’ve been thinking a lot more deeply about this over the last year and I really feel like music is like a higher power that goes beyond just humans.
It’s within nature and it’s the only thing that can really connect us all no matter what language we speak or views we have.