Interview by: Camila C.
From sweet summer indie pop to fiery alternative, singer and songwriter, JAWNY has something for everyone. His authenticity and freeform nature radiates in all his songs despite how versatile they are, and this rings especially true for his new single “Strawberry Chainsaw”. This summer, JAWNY gave us a peak at what led him to this light- hearted and whimsical song, how he stays true to his sound, advice for aspiring artists, and more!
Thank you so much for talking with me; so go ahead and introduce yourself.
"My name is Jawny. I am an artist from Los Angeles, California."
You’ve definitely had a super busy year so far. What was the process of working on your single "Take It Back" with your idol, Beck.
"Oh man! The process was in November of last year, 2021. We were supposed to get in the studio and work at the end of November, but he was on a tour. And then I was on a tour, and I don't think our teams could line up or make anything work, and then usually from like december to like January 15th the music industry and everyone in it including, creators, all kind of go off of the map and that's when Mariah Carey kind of takes over and “All I want for Christmas” just becomes the biggest song in the world. And then when February came back around everyone was getting back to work and getting back in the studio and doing things, we were trying to link up again, but then again he got booked for some shows, and I got booked to do the French Music Awards, so it became this thing where every time our teams were gonna try to get us to work neither one of us was around, once I got off stage at the French music awards I think I was just riding the little high, having a good runner’s high from it all because that was kind of crazy. I just shot him a text from Paris. I was just like ‘hey, I know we keep trying to get in the studio and make something new, but I actually have this song that I have been touring around the world for the last year; it’s got a crazy reception, and it’s almost to the point where I feel like I need to kind of give it another little push and another little extra love, and re-inject it into the world one more time. And I feel like it might have slipped through the cracks.’ And by the time I woke up in the morning he was already texting me back, being like, ‘let's do it. I like this song, send me all the stuff’, and I mean, from there the rest is history. I got to work with my idol; we made a song that I really dig. I love all the stuff he added to it, and he got to sing on the chorus and sing on the pre-chorus. We added new guitars, new production elements, and it was just a really cool thing. And I even ended up getting to go on tour with him after that across Europe, and it was a wild, crazy, full circle life moment. And like you said it's been a whirlwind of a year so far, it's been a little crazy, but I'm holding on, and I'm ready to see where this rollercoaster goes."
How was going on tour with Beck and how has any of your previous experiences prepared you for your upcoming tour with Oliver Tree. What are you anticipating to be different, and what are you wanting to change from your last experience for this tour?
“Oh totally. The tour with Beck was awesome. Shows are amazing. There isn't much to say other than that… I was on stage opening up for someone I really look up to, and that just feels amazing and awesome. As far as what's going to be different about this next tour,
I don’t really know. I feel like I have kind of given my all at the shows.”
“I feel like if you would’ve maybe asked me that question a year and a half or two years ago, I’d have a lot more of not critiques, but a lot more adventurous thoughts of where I’d get my set, and how I’d like to get it to sound. As of right now, I’m feeling pretty good. I think I’m gonna go on the Olivet tree tour doing the same thing I’ve been doing and just kind of keep this train chugging along, and Oliver is a good buddy of mine so it's gonna be a good time. We’re gonna go play some shows across the United States and it’ll be a swell grand old time!”
How does your new single "Strawberry Chainsaw" differ from anything you’ve ever released in the past?
“I think it falls into the same guidelines as every song I release, which is that every song is pretty much different than anything I’ve ever done haha. It’s kind of like a weird habit of mine that I keep accidentally doing where like ‘Honey-Pie’ doesn't even sound like it could even be made by the same person that made 'Take It Back’, “Take It Back’ doesn’t sound the same as ‘Best Thing’ and so on so forth. I keep accidentally doing that, but I guess in the direction this one goes in, I feel like I’m finally making (with this song particularly) music that I wish I could’ve made when I was 16 and 17, but I didn’t have the capabilities or the resources… or even the skill at the time. I didn’t know how to produce or write that good; it took me years to figure out how to write a song.
“Now with Strawberry Chainsaw, I feel like I’m making a song that I really wish that I had when I was like 17, because it's kind of like right in the vibe, that little indie pocket thing that I was into with influences of people that I used to relate with to when I was younger, and I’m feeling really good about it.”
I heard you base a lot of your art strictly on intuition without looking too deep into how it might play out. You pretty much just go by the first thought you have; that’s how you go into it. How has that given you more liberty in your passion?
“You are correct. I mean, it doesn’t become pretentious, you know what I mean? Like I don’t think too hard, not in like a simpleton way, it's just like…it’s music… you know, this isn’t ‘The 9 Inch Nail’ or a ‘Grave’. I’m not writing this deep freaking song. Like, when I’m writing a fun pop song I’m just having fun; I’m just getting on the mic and I'm singing whatever feels good off my chest. I can get to those darker moments, you know what I mean, but you know, ‘Hurt By The 9 Inch Nail’ is one of the best emotional written songs of all time. Like if I'm feeling really emotional then I might really start thinking about what I’m gonna say and how I’m going to say it, and what I’m trying to portray in this song. But for the most part, if I’m just trying to write like a fun upbeat song, then I just tend to really not think too hard about it . Same things that flow off of my mouth really easily and feel nice, and I don’t try to think too smart on if I sound smart or this line sounds like genius or something, because I don’t think people need that or really care about that. And I don’t think I really care about that. I think I just want to make something that feels really good to me that I like to listen to and that’s all I really care about it, like I don’t think anything else past that. If it feels good, and it gets me excited, that’s all I give a f*** about, and it’s helped me out throughout my passion for art. It helps you not feel like you have to pull teeth to write music. Sometimes, you know, like I said, if you want to channel something serious, there’s a time and a place to do that.”
“Man, sometimes you just want to get in the room and just make something freeform that’s fun, and that’s what art is about sometimes. Sometimes it can be very serious, but in this case, this is a fun, uplifting, indie, summer song, and I love it. I had a good time. I didn’t think about it too hard. I wrote it really fast, and I hope that you and anyone else reading this likes it as well.”
Let’s kind of jump back in time a little bit; what gave you the courage to leave nursing school and to continue pursuing music? What advice do you want to give your fans who may be struggling with starting fresh again in regards to a passion?
”Okay, so before I answer that, I need to be clear, so I’m not a fibber. Did I drop out of nursing school technically on paper? Did I ever even make it to the nursing program or take a single nursing class? No. I dropped out during the remedial classes. I dropped out during the math, and the science, and the credits you need to get before you even get to the nursing program.”
“I didn’t make it 6 months into my first semester at all. I just kept making beats in the parking lot, pretending like I was going to class. But any advice I'd give anyone, whether it's college or life or anything, is just do what you love while you can, you know? It’s kind of what I told myself, even when I was working a day job or really struggling to make everything work. Me and my dad would butt heads a lot when we’d be on the phone. It's like, I don’t want to be 50 or 65 years old, just never say that I did try at least, you know what I mean? I’d rather try then fail and than go do something I don’t love to pay the bills, than be one of those old guys that is just bitter that he never at least tried to do the thing that he loved, and this doesn’t even just apply to music. This is like ‘go be a f******* astronaut’ or for whatever reason your dream is to be an accountant, which I think is the most boring job in the world, but if for some reason that’s your dream, like go f****** do it or try to do it, or else you’re going to be one of those people that’s just miserable and didn’t ever do anything that you really wanted to do and just lived life for other people, and do everything you can to make it work . You know I try to do music but my god there’s times where I had to work all these crazy odd end jobs where I would wake up at 5 in the morning and then work a whole shift, and then go into my studio and make music and then do it all again the next day for like six days straight, every week for months on end like…it’s not fun sometimes. It’s not always going to feel like your living the freaki