When it comes to exciting young Australian producers it’s hard to look past wonder kid Jackson Brown, better known as Axen. After a steady rise to popularity over the past couple of years, which included a string of well received free downloads and being named as an InTheMix “new breed top 10 producer you need to hear” the Perth based producer took a brief hiatus to focus on his sound and hone his craft and the results speak for themselves! Experimental sounds, hard hitting trap vibes, big horns, plenty of emotion and a heavy dose of bass, the young producer is set to light things up this summer with new material being supported by heavyweights such as Flux Pavillion, NGHTMRE, Doctor P & Carmada.
If you’d like to know more about Axen read on for our Trapstyle Australia exclusive Q&A;
Q1: So Jackson, the first tune you released under AXEN dropped over a year ago, and since then it seems everything has been building upwards. A recent official remix on Circus Records of Flux Pavilion and NGHTMRE’s Feel Your Love ft Jamie Lewis, and now your latest tune, a collaboration with Oriental Cravings; Falling 4 You, showcasing some crazy local talent. How does it all feel?
A: Its definitely a crazy feeling getting asked by your idols to officially remix their track, its something I didn’t think would happen this early on in my career. It was the validation i really needed to know that i was going in the right direction with my music, and that it is indeed possible to make it out there if you just work hard on your craft. I never had a team or a lot of money to invest into my project like a lot of other artists have and I’m self taught, so I was very proud of achieving something so big.
Q2: After celebrating your first commercial release on Circus Records, you were booked to support Flux Pavilion, Marshmello, Feed Me and Enschway at The Compound’s premiere event. If someone told you 12 months ago when you released your first tune that you would be getting to support these huge international acts, do you think you would have believed them?
A: Ive been DJ’ing as a local Perth DJ since i was 18 so I’ve had the privilege of supporting many different heavyweight acts in the past such as Porter Robinson, Marshmello, Ricky Remedy, Ghastly, Hydraulix, Nick Thayer, Mat Zo, Getter and Valentino Khan. I was real stoked to be supporting Flux Pavilion mostly, I mean the fact that it was only months before that i found out i was doing the official remix for him and the label. When i saw he was coming to Perth to do a show I latched onto the idea of it, as i thought it made perfect sense to be the support act for him.
Q3: Let’s take a few steps back, how did AXEN come to be and the real question is, how did you get into production?
A: When i was 18 I heard Harder Better Faster Stronger – Daft Punk for the first time and it opened my eyes to electronic dance music. In a suggested video, a live Deadmau5 performance of ‘Ghosts n Stuff’ at a venue called Hard Haunted Mansion popped up. There is a moment in the video where the track initially drops and the video pans over looking down over this enormous crowd and the entire venues lights and visuals turn on, was the craziest thing i had ever seen (on the internet lol). I then did a lot of research on why this DJ was so renowned and realised what a producer was – because at the time i had just taken up DJ’ing for my friends birthdays and I knew production was going to be the next logical step in DJ’ing. I then downloaded a copy of Reason 3.0 and messed around with synthesis by watching plenty of youtube tutorials not having a clue of what i was doing, the rest is history…
Q4: You definitely have your own distinct droid bass sound, how long did it take for you to figure out what you really wanted to flex?
A: So it took roughly about 2-3 years to get to where I am. When i first started out, I was making progressive house before it became the oversaturated garbage we now refer to as ‘Big Room’. So It was real anthemy melodic stuff, I then took a 2 year break from producing because I had lost my passion and drive and I didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. About a year ago I decided to give it another go and started making trap ‘Without You’ being the first track I made. I then wanted to improve my sound design so I had focused on dubstep for the last year. But now that I’m confident with melodic and heavy sound design I can combine them, which is what I feel the Axen droid bass sound/brand really is.
Q5: Are there any unconventional methods to your production, or any little secrets you can let us in on?
A: Its mostly sound design in my tracks the only samples I ever use are drums, so I always start with trying to make some weird crazy synth to base the entire project around but when it comes to more so melodic tracks I always start with a melody in the breakdown and then build from there. I tend to make my tracks extremely complicated with ideas and layers but when the structure is finished I strip back a heap of things, the un used ideas end up being midi used in other tracks. In terms of unconventional methods to my production, probably everything I do is unconventional! As I’m self taught haha, I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.
Q6: Tell us some more about your collaboration with Oriental Cravings, how long did it take for this track to come together?
A: I consider the OC guys some of my closest mates, initially I was building a few projects and a business with them, but we then decided to write a track together as well, the turnaround was a few days and was happy with the result, super stoked to hear it being played on Triple J too!
Q7: What’s next for AXEN? With all your recent success can we expect anything new soon?
A: I have plenty of releases ready to be released it just sucks having to wait on the business side of things to roll through, I’m spending more time emailing contracts back and forth with labels than i am writing music lately, hopefully another big release this month with one of my favourite labels NCS.