He’s an L.A. native who grew up classically trained on the piano but has transitioned into making hard-hitting songs that get festival crowds absolutely hyped. His single “No Better” has over four million Spotify streams alone, and he shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.
I got to sit down with Jaykode at Electric Zoo to talk a little bit about his first experience in New York and what he’s got up his sleeve for 2018.
It’s your first time in New York. What have you done so far?
Yeah, I’m actually living in Los Angeles. It is my first time here. I pretty much just did all of the food research before I got here because that’s all I wanted to do for, like, four days straight.
What have you eaten?
We went to the original Halal Guys, you know, the cart, then Joe’s Pizza. Man, I can’t remember where we went next, but I definitely wrote it down. I always write things down so that when people ask me for recommendations I know. Oh! I did Katz Deli, Chelsea Market, Soho…
Hitting all the big spots!
Yeah, we’re doing the touristy things.
How are you liking the city?
It’s cool. I thought it was going to be a lot more humid, but the weather has been really nice. I feel like I need a month here to do everything that I actually want to do though. Three days, it’s not enough time.
Okay… a little more serious now. You want to coin the term “classical bass” as your genre. Can you tell us a little bit about what this means in regards to your sound?
Yeah—I was classically trained on the piano as a kid for about five years, around age seven. After that, I picked up the guitar, but I’ve always integrated a lot of classical elements into my music. I’m kind of mixing it with heavy bass and trap music. It’s a lot of heavy elements of trap music mixed with violin, cello, and piano. I wish I could play the cello and violin. I can play piano though! I just like to fuse elements the two, classical and trap.
You grew up listening to a lot of metal, and your favorite band is Thrice, if I’m correct. Does this influence your sound?
Yeah! Thrice is my favorite band. A lot of my influence comes from the more metal bands I listen to though. Thrice isn’t as heavy—their old stuff is way heavier. I just love them for their lyrics and how well they perform live too. It was almost like having them just pop in their CD and listening to it live, it was amazing.
The real influence, like the little arpeggios and stuff in my tracks, comes from the more metal stuff like Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red, just heavier stuff all around.
Best non-electronic show you’ve been to?
Ooooh, good one. I think it was 2007 or 2008; it was the Take Action Tour at House of Blues Hollywood. It was The Bled, Everytime I Die, The Human Abstract, August Burns Red, and then From First to Last played too but it was post-Skrillex. It was still an unbelievable lineup. Do you listen to that kind of stuff?
Well, I used to be a big From First to Last fan.
I went to their show at this place called The Troubadour in Hollywood, which is legendary. I saw them, Haste the Day and He is Legend. It’s a tiny venue, maybe 200 people. I was maybe 15. Skrillex was there for that, so I got to see them both ways. I got to see Scary Kids before they broke up too.
You’ve been pretty vocal in the SoundCloud vs Spotify debate…
Yeah, I definitely have.
Can you tell me a little bit about what you think?
God, that’s such a broad topic. We could be here for hours [laughs]. No, I’m joking. So, SoundCloud is still awesome for artists who are just starting out. When I was starting out, I was doing unofficial remixes just to get my name out there. I feel like a lot of people do that to find their sound before they dive into originals. So, in that sense, I think it’s still great because you can’t put those remixes on Spotify.
I think everything is shifting more towards Spotify, as it’s a streaming era now. Even compared to two years ago—when I put something up for a free download on SoundCloud, which is very rare nowadays—it used to get maybe 1,000 downloads the first day, and now it’s closer to 100, 150. No one wants to download a song, sync it to their phone, and go through all that hassle. Everything is definitely shifting towards Spotify, so I always tell artists: Once you get your original sound, you have your originals out—you should start building out your Spotify.
Also, SoundCloud is so unstable. It’s like a psycho girlfriend. You don’t know when it’s gunna tank. I still love SoundCloud. I can’t hate on it. It’s given, I think, 99% of us playing here the platform we needed.
I love both equally, it’s just a different kind of love. One’s a side chick, one’s a wife. [laughs]
You were just on tour?
Weirdest tour story?
Damn. I don’t know if it’s weird, it’s kind of funny, but I was on the Flux tour for five dates, their bus tour they had. It was my first bus tour, so it was crazy. The stage manager—everyone always picked on him. I think it was in Athens, Georgia, and we stuffed his entire luggage with the rider.
There was bananas, bread, crackers, plastic forks, and knives. He was busting his underwear out on the bus and bananas and peanut butter were falling out all over the place.
You’re obviously big on food. What’s your favorite local food you’ve had on tour?
Dallas had amazing barbecue at Pecan Lodge. Dallas’s food is great, but Pecan Lodge was amazing. In general I prefer sushi and ramen, you know, I’m from L.A. so it’s kind of all we eat.
Speaking of L.A., give us a look inside your day-to-day life.
Wake up in my underwear and produce music [laughs] and cook every now and then. That’s pretty much it. I envy people who can create everyday. They wake up, decide to have a full studio day every day. I know some people who do that. For me, you can’t force the creativity process. A lot of that just happens. A lot of my ideas come in the shower, and I’ve talked to multiple people about this. Everyone is the same way.
When I’m feeling really creative, I just lock myself in the studio. I do a lot of cooking at home with my manager. We do a team dinner.
Do you have a specialty you cook?
I make really good lamb with chimichurri. I have perfected the chimichurri.
Someone’s visiting L.A., they ask you what to hit up. What do you say?
Tsujita Annex has the best ramen you will ever have in your entire life. It’s super fatty, you can’t even finish the broth. It’s straight pork fat. If you like ramen and are down to not move for the next ten hours after eating, that’s where I take my friends.
Do you have dream collab?
Flume or Lido—either would be a dream come true. Flume went really heavy, really experimental, on his second album. His live performances are kinda crazy.
Anyone up-and-coming we should be looking out for?
There’s a handful. Most are out of L.A., I think. Kompany has been killing it lately. Black Sheep is really cool. Pixel Terror it also killing it right now too.
How do you discover new music?
I get a lot of promo stuff sent to me, like “check out my SoundCloud.” I find a lot there. I also dig through SoundCloud. I don’t do it as much as I used to because I have a hard time picking out what I actually like, picking what I want to throw on my crate for my sets.
What’s in store for the next year?
Still doing one-off shows. I’m playing Exchange LA tomorrow with Lil Jon which will be fun, I love that place. I have collabs coming up this next year with Sullivan King, Sam Bruno, and more, including one I can’t talk about. I finished up another original. Hopefully we’ll do a full headlining tour by fall of next year. Big 2018 plans in store.
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