We spoke to Just A Gent fresh off the boat at Stranded festival on South Stradbroke Island last weekend. After blowing up in 2014, this seventeen year old prodigy has already been all over the country, and is about to see the rest of the world.
We talk genres, touring, and communicate in onomatopoeia.
You’re about to embark on a huge international tour, are you starting to focus your attention abroad?
I’ve mostly been focusing on Australia to try and build my name here, and when it comes to performing, that’s what you really need to do. But lately I have been focusing some of my attention abroad as well, and all for the same reasons.
There seems to be a big competition with young producers on SoundCloud with how young you are; I’m sure you don’t want people to like you because of how young you are, but by how good your music is right?
I used to brag about how young I was all the time. Then I realised, you know what, people aren’t going to take you seriously if you’re young. So I just got rid of my age [being displayed on SoundCloud] when I was 15, but somehow people still all know.
When did music become your main focus?
I think I was like 14 when I got full on into making electronic music, sending to blogs and stuff. So it’s been a few years, but it’s only been the last year that things have started to be serious for me. And I’d never gone into a club – I still shouldn’t be in clubs – but I went into my first club this year at Ivy in Sydney.
On SoundCloud you categorise your tunes as a particular genre. Is that something you consciously decide on when you approach the track, or does that happen during the writing process?
It varies. Sometimes I start making a track, then I’ll title the track when I save it, and I’ll save it as the genre name that I’ve made up. All my working titles are “Lovetrap #1, Lovetrap #2”, and then after I finish them, I listen to them over and over again, and that’s when I’ll get the name. Which I think a lot of other people do as well. Unless you’re writing lyrics of course.
You don’t write lyrics?
No, I do write lyrics.
Are you ever going to sing on a track?
I don’t sing. I can’t. Well, I have sung, but I vocode. So I’ve got tracks coming soon that are me singing, but you can’t tell it’s me. You don’t even need a feature vocalist!
You just toured with The Aston Shuffle, how was that?
It was really fun, they’re really cool guys. It’s kind of crazy, because the first electronic album I listened to was the mix they did for Ministry of Sound in 2008, so they kind of got me into the scene. So, it’s a pretty big thing for me to go on tour with them.
You labeled your remix of ZHU’s ‘Superfriends’ as ‘Djentstep’ on SoundCloud. Do you actually listen to djent or progressive metal?
Not really…I mean, I like listening to all different types of music, but it related to me, so I’m going to get into it. I used to work in a toy store, and the guy that I worked with was heaps into it, and he’s the one that told me about it. So then I went and started listening and I sort of got into it. And all it basically is, is “djent, djent”…
Chugga chugga! And the reason I called that track “djentstep” was because I was always trying to find a track I could actually finally label djentstep. It’s kind of my heaviest track and it had a bit of a “djent” to it.
Will there be more djentstep?
There will be more djentstep.
How many djentstep working titles are there?
What goes up the highest?
Lovetrap. It was 63, but I made a new one yesterday so it’s 64 now!
Just A Gent is a huge brand now, do you think you’ll branch off and try other things too, or will that be your sole focus for the foreseeable future?
I’ll definitely branch off, but I’ll always stick to this…everything I’ve done was always leading up to it. I used to produce progressive house.
Yeah, I saw your “Jacob Grant” stuff.
Oh no! [laughs] I was producing under Jacob Grant for a long time, and I made so many tracks and I was sending them off to get signed. I started producing Lovestep stuff under Jacob Grant, then I made Just A Gent. I wanted to start fresh, I had no brand as Jacob Grant, it was just a dude with headphones and a Hurley shirt. That was my press shot. I’ve also got a duo with $aturn, we’re called Chilled Velvet. We uploaded a remix of Coldplay, but it was taken down due to copyright.
Here is Just A Gent‘s latest offering ‘Warlock Masquerade’
Just A Gent is currently on tour with just a few dates left in Australia before heading off to the USA. Pick one of the dates below and go see him do his thing.