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Jonas Blue Shakes Alabama During Hangout Festival [Interview]



Born Guy Robin but known to fans as Jonas Blue, he’s sealed his place in the top ranks of Britain’s dance tiers. A naturally gifted musician who plays instruments like flute, saxophone, and piano, and has had his heart set on becoming a producer for most of his life. Deciding at the young age of 11 that this was going to be his path, music has really always held the answers for Jonas.

His truly explosive reboot of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” catapulted him onto the global scene in 2016. In just a few short years, Jonas has climbed the dance charts with hit singles like “Rise” with Jack & Jack, “Mama” with William Singe, “Perfect Strangers” with JP Cooper, “Polaroid” with Liam Payne and Lennon Stella, and “What I Like About You” featuring Theresa Rex. His 2018 debut album Blue encompasses the tropical good-vibes sound we fell in love with when we first heard “Fast Car” and much more. Holding soul-touching lyrics, meaningful depth, animated and fun melodies, orchestral piano and strings, and an overall cool flow, Blue was everything we’d hoped for and more.

Fast forward to May 2019, this past weekend fans caught a wonderful summertime glimpse of Jonas Blue at Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Alabama. Jumping over to Hangout’s Boom Boom Tent, Jonas’ mid-day show set the moment on fire. For all those who witnessed yet another classically electrifying performance, it was one hour full of high-powered drops, brilliant and unexpected bass, and lest we forget Jonas’ plethora of heartfelt bangers. Mixing in loads of rhythmic drum patterns, Jonas threw down old-school party songs like Enur and Natasja’s “Calabria” and Bingo Players’ “Rattle” that sent crazy shock waves over the crowd.

Forever on the hunt for fresh and rising talent, Jonas has explored the creative depths across the music spectrum. Experimenting with all sorts of artists like Joe Jonas, Kaskade, Jessie Reyez and tons more, his collaborations remain some of the most looked forward to in the scene right now in addition to his stunning original tracks.

We sat down to chat with Jonas before his incredible set at Hangout – read on below for his latest projects, 2019 tour plans, memorable festival moments & more!

The Nocturnal Times: Welcome to Hangout Music Festival 2019! Have you played this festival before?

Jonas Blue: No I haven’t and it feels great to be here! I’ll be here just for my show, then a few hours after I’m heading off to Florida to play Shephard’s Beach Resort.

The Nocturnal Times: We last sat down with you at ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event). Over the course of these past six months what have you been up to?

Jonas Blue: I have my new single which was released a few weeks back called “What I Like About You” with another new singer that I find (Theresa Rex). It’s very cool and it’s been doing amazing things, I think it’s up to 60 or 70 million streams online now and the video is up to 10 or 15 million so that’s doing really well. It’s kind of been non-stop touring at the moment and summer hasn’t even started. I’ve got a really big collaboration coming at the end of this month with two other people which will be a bit more on the commercial side. But again a very big collaboration with another DJ and artist and yeah that’s kind of it at the minute! Remixes here and there but just getting ready for touring.

The Nocturnal Times: When you released BLUE, you talked to us about the many different styles from both you and collaborators that are featured on the album. Looking back on that perspective, do you think your vision came through how you hoped?

Jonas Blue: Yeah definitely. It was a good experience doing an album for sure and I got to try a lot of different things. Personally I prefer doing singles because you can get them out quicker and especially in the style that we do when it’s moving so quickly. It’s not like an acoustic artist where you sit there with a piano. It’s a production where styles and songwriting changes, so I loved doing the album but now I’m kind of back doing singles and I got to achieve a lot of the things I wanted to do on the album for sure.

The Nocturnal Times: Speaking off of how this genre differs from others, what is one of your biggest challenges in working with dance music’s quirks that you try to overcome or stay on top of?

Jonas Blue: I mean, with my music since I released “Fast Car” back in 2016, that was kind of such a big hit that everything I’ve had to do since then has had to be as big as that which is very hard. Trying to write songs that stand the test of time and connect in every single country around the world is very very difficult. That’s definitely a challenge for me along with the touring which is very tiring. There’s a lot of DJs who only kind of do this like make their tracks and release it whereas I have the pop element to me as well so I have to do huge TV shows, all the promo for that, and it’s difficult trying to balance all those things. I think the key is having a great team around you that you can delegate things to and spread it around a bit.

The Nocturnal Times: Has there been one country or audience around the world in particular that you’ve been trying to grow your music in?

Jonas Blue: I think Asia was one of the biggest kind of hurdles for me, and this year I was the biggest international artist that broke through in Japan which was huge for me. We did two sold-out shows in Tokyo and it was just incredible. It really showed the levels you go to when you break as an artist in those kind of territories. I remember going there and playing clubs that had like 400 people, now I’m playing to 15-20 thousand people in one room so it’s pretty crazy. That’s definitely one place and I think America is always another. Just chipping away every single day and every year and trying to make big impressions over here for sure.

The Nocturnal Times: Now that you are in America, what have you prepared for the crowd at Hangout today?

Jonas Blue: I’ve got some new music, I’m sure every DJ’s got new music but I’ve got that and I’m going to be dropping the new single. I’ve got this collaboration that I mentioned to you that I might tease a bit throughout my set so it’s going to be fun! I’ve only got an hour so it’s not much but I’ll try and smash it.

The Nocturnal Times: Your new single “What I like About You” spun off tons of remixes. Did you have this intention at first or did you unexpectedly decide to put them together in a collective?

Jonas Blue: You know what the weird thing is, I think the acapella somehow got out and I had people messaging me with her remixes and I wasn’t doing any competition like that or anything, but I think the acapella just got out there. Then a couple of people sent me remixes and I just loved them so I was like I have to put these out officially. So there was the Owen Norton remix as well as the Marivin Vogel one which turned up in my inbox one day and I just loved it.

The Nocturnal Times: In choosing the remixes, were you going for one overall vibe or did your choices differ for style?

Jonas Blue: They are all predominantly house, I have to have certain remixes that work for my sets. Back in London I wouldn’t play the Owen Norton remix I’d play the M-22 mix because people back in London are into a lot of deeper stuff. Then when I come to say here and I’m playing at Hangout, that Owen Norton harder remix goes all day long cause the energy is just…you need to really have the energy here. So it’s about definitely making sure you have the right remixes for the right moments.

The Nocturnal Times: What is one moment you remember playing in front of a crowd that didn’t go how you expected & how did you deal with it in the moment?

Jonas Blue: So one of my biggest songs now is a song called “Perfect Strangers” and I remember playing it at Tomorrowland for the first year and everyone just stood still. No one got it and it was a weird one. Even the chorus that everyone sings now, I remember playing it at Tomorrowland and everyone just stood still…I think people even left. It was my first year so I think I was playing the Robin Schulz stage or something like that and I’ll just never forget it. I play the same record now and I haven’t changed a thing, and it’s completely opposite! So I definitely remember how everyone just stood still.

The Nocturnal Times: On the opposite end of performance moments, what is one of your favorite memories from a show or festival?

Jonas Blue: Do you know what, playing “Rise” in Japan this year has been my biggest song over there to date, bigger than “Fast Car” so hearing everyone in Japan sing “Rise” was quite a moment for me. It’s the other side of the world and knowing that people can understand those lyrics and connect with them is incredible.

The Nocturnal Times: You also have a performance at Wembley coming up, tell us about what’s going on there?

Jonas Blue: It’s a big deal as a Brit to be playing Wembley and I do it every year. It’s a party called Summertime Ball, and it’s basically one of the biggest radio stations in the UK called Capital. They have this show Summertime then they have the Jingle which I think you guys have something similar like iHeart and things like that. We have a similar thing and it’s just huge. You have Taylor Swift come over, you have Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith, and I think this year it’s me and Calvin so yeah it’s going to be an amazing, amazing way to kick off the summer.

The Nocturnal Times: Other than the new collaboration at the end of this month, what else is going on for the rest of 2019 for projects & new music?

Jonas Blue: I’ve got a song that I want to release in the last week of August but it’s basically waiting to find out if this person is going to sing it. It’s a bit underwraps but that’s pretty much it, I’ll probably do a couple remixes. I’m remixing the new Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran song at the moment called “I Don’t Care” and I’ve got to finish that one by next week haha. Last year I did so much and so many collaborations and it was just so much to do. I also had my residency in Ibiza last year whereas this year I’m going to be spending more time in Vegas as well as Ibiza. I had an album to do last year, I took on like four collaborations last year and I had three singles out on my own so it was a lot. I’m not doing as much this year, kind of the less is more approach and hopefully I’ll get two singles out, this one big collaboration and a few remixes this year!

Photos courtesy of Jonas Blue Facebook

Caroline is an avid electronic music enthusiast. Born and raised in the Boston area, Caroline relocated Florida to complete her Bachelors Degree in Social Entrepreneurship & Business from Rollins College in Orlando. Her passion for EDM, music festivals and music in general has taken her up and down the East coast (she now resides in New York City) and inspired her to pursue her dreams within the industry. Electronic music truly has been a blessing in her life and brought a lifetime's worth of lasting memories.


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