Interview \\ Seven minutes with Jordan Rakei

Jordan Rakei released one of the most distinctive debuts that we’ve heard in a long time; we rated Cloak one of our best albums of 2016. On top of that, he recently revealed his house-inspired side project Dan Kye via Rhythm Section. The guy is on fire.

Ahead of his show at Jazz Cafe with Tom Misch on 9 February, Jordan Rakei talks to Jazz Standard about writing album two, his new alias as Dan Kye, and gives us an insight into his Spotify habits.

\\ What were your interpretations of London’s music scene before you moved here from Brisbane, and have they changed?

It’s funny because before I moved here, I had envisioned London as being a melting pot of jam sessions, underground jazz clubs and warehouse parties. However, as soon as I got here I didn’t really participate in any of those things… maybe I hyped it up too much in my head and I don’t consider myself much of a socialiser. London’s music scene as a whole is incredible and is so inspiring. I spent the first few months getting to know the South London scene (United Vibrations, Rhythm Section, Henry Wu, Steeze) and moved around a lot, getting to know all different types of producers. Most musicians I know hibernate a lot as it’s really cold here, so they all have really unique ideas.

\\ Cloak felt like a very self-assured release. Like you knew exactly what you wanted and grabbed it. Post coming-of-age, almost. What’s your thoughts when you reflect on Cloak?

Thank you. Yeah, I’m really proud of how it all came together. I made sure that I was writing lyrics with the right intentions and tried to be as vulnerable as possible. I think it came out as best it could. Really proud of that release, hopefully I’ll look back in 10 years time and still be proud of it.

\\ How is the second album challenging you? 

It’s great. I’m approaching it in a very different way. I’m spending a lot more time constructing more palatable song structures and delving into production afterwards. Since my last tour, I’ve spent a lot of my time working on it with my friend and drummer Jim Macrae, and we’ve come out with some really interesting stuff. Can’t wait to share my new music as it captures a different part of myself and goes deeper into some touching topics.

\\ Can you tell us about any collabs on the upcoming album?

At this stage, I don’t want to reveal too much. One highlight is that I’m showcasing an amazing new female vocalist. She’s incredible and hasn’t had much exposure yet, so I’m really excited for people to hear her.

\\ Do you have a label/release date for the second album?

I’m still in the writing process, so have no dates set in sight. I’m just enjoying writing at the moment and where it’s taking me. Trying to remain as non-judgemental as possible and letting all types of ideas flow! I can’t reveal anything about release plans at the moment but really excited for the next chapter of my career.

\\ Let’s talk about Dan Kye. Joy, Ease, Lightness sounds like a perfect marriage between you and Rhythm Section. What is it about that label that connects with you?

Yeah, Dan Kye. It’s so crazy how that project has really come in to fruition. I played a Dan Kye headline show a few weeks back up in Camden and there were people in the crowd singing the lyrics to one of his tunes. I couldn’t help but laugh on stage. The reason I created an alter-ego was to allow myself to explore house music, which I love so much, but without having the pressure of it being a Jordan Rakei project. That’s the whole energy of the record; making the project was very much about flowing with the energy I was bringing in the studio and laying all ideas down. Maybe that’s why people seem to be gravitating towards it because they feel nothing is forced or precisely put in place.

I have so much respect for Bradley Zero‘s label, Rhythm Section, and I consider myself really lucky to be a part of his movement. Like I said, I spent the first six months surrounding myself in the South London scene so their club night is a big part of that. He’s always wanted to collaborate in some shape or form, so it’s really cool that it finally worked out in the end.

\\ Give us three albums that are always on your Spotify. 

Hmm a really tough question. If you asked me this question 6 months ago, it may have been an easier answer. However, with my new headspace, I’ve been finding myself listening to a lot of old folk and singer-songwriter artists. In saying that, there are always some favourites I fall back on. I’d have to go with: Joni Mitchell‘s The Hissing of Summer LawnsOscar JeromeOscar Jerome, and Dhafer Yousef‘s Diwan of Beauty and Odd. 

Get tickets for his show on 9 February in London here.

JS | Tina Edwards

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