So far as Songs of The Summer time go, Jean Dawson’s newest single, ‘CLEAR BONES’, is an unlikely providing. A self-described ode to the lighter aspect of mortality, it’s Britpop with its cheeky grin turned the wrong way up – Smash Mouth holding Oasis in a headlock as Blink 182 lazily movie the incident on their telephones. It’s directly utterly incompatible, and completely immersive, very like its creator.
Raised in Tijuana, Mexico earlier than decamping to Los Angeles, the 24-year-old’s profession has been simmering properly for the previous couple of years. 2019’s debut album ‘Unhealthy Sports activities’ drew consideration for it’s full refusal to stay to at least one concept, ricocheting between rap, indie and lots extra in addition to in a way than solely the torrenting era can actually pull off.
2020 single ‘BRUISEBOY’ ramped issues up additional, a creeping fever dream that by some means captures each the grounding sensation of a mosh pit and the out-of-body dissociation of a panic assault. Singing in each English and Spanish, ‘Ooga Booga’ is Brockhampton doing The Prodigy, with a bonus Spice Women reference – “inform me what you need, what you actually actually need.” Every track is a bit of the Jean Dawson puzzle, a snippet of the numerous multitudes that make him who he’s.
“I’ve been a product of so many alternative cultures that when folks ask me in regards to the genre-bending, I don’t even have a look at it as something apart from making music that I’d need to take heed to,” he says through Zoom. “Listening to loads of the rock teams that impressed me rising up, none of them actually seemed like me and it created an internal battle.”
“Rising up in a principally third-world nation, my issues had been extra like ‘what are we going to eat right this moment’ or ‘I’m afraid and if I get pulled over by the police, I’m gonna die’. That’s to not say that their issues aren’t legitimate, it’s simply to say that the issues that I’m speaking about cope with a distinct perspective. On my first EP, there’s a track known as ‘Napster’ and I wished it to really feel like The Smiths, however what would The Smiths sound like in the event that they had been from Compton as an alternative of Manchester?’ I like Britpop shit, however how do I maintain the identical intention of that music and provides it my very own identification?”
“For one track I believed, ‘What would The Smiths sound like in the event that they had been from Compton as an alternative of Manchester?’”
A choose ‘n’ combine method to music offered a powerful consolation in Dawson’s early years, soundtracking the 4am begins he made every faculty day to cross the US border through two trolley-trains and a bus. “Eight-years-old with only a skateboard, CD participant and the wherewithal to get to the place I have to be and are available again.” By no means fairly settling in with anyone clique, his outsider standing resonates together with his listeners, drawn to his refusal to dampen his persona for the sake of mixing in.
“I by no means wished folks to really feel like they need to be a weirdo to take heed to my music – from my experiences not less than, I didn’t know that I used to be bizarre till folks advised me!” he laughs. “However I suppose being a Black Hispanic individual, who seemed and sounded totally different to everyone… we’re all simply so multi-dimensional as folks. To negate your self a correct alternative to specific your self is a disservice in existence, I believe. I’ve associates which can be tremendous thugged-out and the primary time I performed them Mac DeMarco, they had been in love with it, like ‘rattling, I’d have by no means listened to this shit’. And I’m like, see! If I need to sing a people track with a golden grill in my mouth, no one’s gonna inform me I can’t do this. Individuals assume it’s actually cool, however I’m actually simply doing me – I’m not attempting to be provocative.”
His phrases, and the vivid sincerity with which he speaks them, recollects the vitality of a fellow maverick, able to plain moments of good musical self-expression. “Kanye is unquestionably an inspiration – ‘My Stunning Darkish Twisted Fantasy’ might be my favorite album of all time,” he says. “It’s a kind of albums the place I really feel like LeBron James watching Michael Jordan play – it’s like ‘fuck, how do I outdo that?’ I’ve had conversations the place I’m identical to, ‘if I don’t beat that album in my profession, I’m gonna be so pissed off with myself’. I believe there’s greater bars to succeed in, however that’s considered one of them.”
In his ascent to recognition, it’s clear that Dawson has an in depth circle of associates that he’s planning on bringing alongside for the journey. In search of to broaden his songs out from a spot of singular narrative, he repeatedly finds lyrical inspiration within the lives of his collaborators, encouraging them to open up about their pressures and views.
“I do that bullet level factor with the issues I need to get off my chest, like if I’ve daddy points that I’d like to speak about, or a relationship that I haven’t absolutely processed,” he explains of his songwriting course of. “I’ve been working quite a bit with my good friend Zac Fogerty, and since we’re so shut, I can ask him these questions on his life that drift into track making. I would like this shit to be a lot greater than me – I need to unify the voices of everyone that seems like they want anyone to make use of the megaphone. If I’m speaking about taking antidepressants, it’s not me saying ‘Woe is me, I take medicine’. That is simply my human expertise, and if that’s the identical as yours, that’s cool. And if not, right here’s this different layer about how I additionally desire a Lamborghini. You understand? Sure, I take anti-depressants, however I additionally desire a good automobile.”
Particulars round Dawson’s observe as much as ‘Unhealthy Sports activities’ are nonetheless cagey, however there’s each likelihood that it might ship him that Lambo. At the moment titled ‘Pixel Bathtub’, he’s having fun with laying breadcrumbs of knowledge across the web, a treasure hunt for keen followers to unearth.
“I like when artists play coy. I’ll be like ‘fucking inform me’, however truly it’s the not-knowing that’s kinda enjoyable” he smiles. “Credit score to a number of the youngsters on the market although. They’ve discovered some previous songs that I made in highschool which I genuinely didn’t know existed. I’m not doing the thriller factor to fuck with anyone, it’s simply way more enjoyable for everybody if it’s not only a date which you could mark on a calendar.”
His level brings us full circle again to ‘CLEAR BONES’, a ‘right here for time, not a very long time’ mantra that feels eerily related in 2020, a 12 months the place nothing could be taken with no consideration. What that means does he hope folks take from the track?
“After I was writing, I used to be identical to ‘man, morbid songs are sick, however how will you make a tragic track exist in a enjoyable atmosphere?’” he says. “I don’t actually like entering into explaining my songs or placing a border round then, however it’s nearly giving loss of life a persona, simply being like ‘yo, sit back, I’ll come after I come.’
“I like unhappy music quite a bit, however in the event you don’t give me the choice to be blissful whereas I take heed to that music, I’m out. That’s the place I need to be with my music. I’m not attempting to dictate how you are feeling – I simply need to amplify no matter it’s you’re feeling.”
Jean Dawson’s ‘CLEAR BONES’ is out now