Words with Jaël, Special Guest at Darker Than Wax Label Night
2015 Published: November 9, 2015 Updated: February 19, 2019  |  WORDS: Hana Kim

In Conversation with Jaël, Special Guest at Darker Than Wax Label Night

Hailing from Drachten, Netherlands, Jaël will be dropping some sick beats at the Darker Than Wax (DTW) Label Night showcase tonight. Read the interview with this talented beatmaker, and make your way to Kyo to experience his sound.

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Interview by Trang Ta
Photos by Kjegwan Leihitu
Article first published on DTW Blog

We know that you are kind of obsessed with music, but when you’re not making music – what are you up to?
When I’m not making music, I’m listening to it – for hours! Just to let all the inspiration float inside me. I love to travel with music. When I’m on the train, bus or car, I always listen to music. Jazz, Fusion Jazz, Bossa Nova, Gospel, Soul, Straight Up Funk, Hip Hop, R&B, traditional Moluccan songs…yeah, too many to mention.

Also I love to hang with friends and family, which is like “gold”. Time is your most precious gift, you only have a set amount of it. You can make more doe, but you can’t make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you’ll never get back again. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

Well said, Jaël. Absolutely agree with you on that. Time is precious, indeed. But, hey let’s get back to music: It seems like music is something you could surround yourself with all day long, right?
Yeah, I absolutely enjoy it. Playing shows in clubs and festivals, collaborating with friends and producers/musicians/artists, making beats with everything that is in my hands like pencils, bottles, keys, just anything. I just can’t help it. (laughs)

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So when did your musical journey start and what inspires your creative process?
I’ve started making music (digitally) like back in 2009 on my first Microsoft Windows PC with Fruity Loops Studio and realized that I can make everything I want. As mentioned before, I listen to a wide range of genres such as Jazz, Soul, Funk…I’ve gathered a lot of inspirations from those genres and created a very own vibe out of it – especially from my Moluccan roots.

When I’m with my family, we always sing traditional Moluccan songs. Growing up in a churchgoing household, singing was my basic. The young Jaël was always sitting in his bedroom, listening to music from his old school radio that included a tape recorder to record your own mixtape. I was analyzing chord scales, melodies, and always sang along with all the songs.

At every birthday party, my uncle was playing the guitar. I wasn’t a fan of playing it in the first place, but as I got older I started to realize that the guitar is a very interesting instrument to play. So my parents bought me a classic guitar and my uncle taught me some basics.

After a while, I was discovering a lot of chords on my own and started to understand how to play the instrument. Then I bought myself a MIDI keyboard and started to play that. After years have passing by, I’m still trying to find my own sound.

How would you describe your own sound then?
Well…very, very diverse. I love to make acoustic songs, but at the same time I love making straight up Boom Bap, Footwork, House, Garage, Trap or Future Beats. Choosing between those genres is very difficult to me. It’s just those certain moments you have when you feel like creating a vibe, but then 5 minutes later you feel another vibe and switch over and create.

I get stuck in music too, it sucks. Like having a lack of inspiration or if some personal stuff is holding you back – it could be anything that’s touching you. But sometimes when you’re emotionally hurt for instance, it can be a stress reliever to put your emotions into your music. The results can be really dope, or they just suck.

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Would you consider yourself a perfectionist?
Yeah, I’m a perfectionist and I like it. I’ve been called a perfectionist many times, it’s difficult sometimes. But I think it’s important for any artist to look for details and keep searching in order to be “good”.

Your debut EP “Imaginations” will drop on DTW sometime in January 2016. What sounds can we expect from your EP? Will it be a straight beats album or a mix of beats and acoustic tracks?
The EP will be a diverse mixture of Jaël. Songs about how I feel and felt, moments I still hold on to, love and passion. It contains self produced beats, acoustic tracks, Jaël vocals and instruments, and some collaborations with artists. Be on the lookout, ’cause there will be a single that will be released soon!

Finally, how are you feeling about your first show in Singapore? Excited?
I’m so excited! I’ve seen my friends’ photos who visited Singapore, the city looks nice and I can’t wait for my show to perform in club KYO! My mix-tape for the DTW showcase is a teaser for what I’m about to play, hopefully y’all like it!

Darker Than Wax Label Night feat. Jaël is happening today, November 9th, at kyo (133 Cecil Street, #B1-02, Keck Seng Tower, Singapore 069535). Visit the official event page and RSVP before 11pm!