Make way for your new favourite electronic dreamboat, Jason Nolan.
Despite years of insistence to his mother that he does NOT look like the lead character from The Wonder Years TV show, 22-year-old Jason Nolan has given in and named his EP after just that. A vocalist, producer and songwriter, young Jason is releasing his first 6-track offering with no less than powerhouse, Majestic Casual. It’s fair to say he’s off to a pretty good start. Jumping from bedroom Soundcloud producer to wunderkind since he first made contact with the blog-cum-label in 2014, Jason’s tracks start to rack up the replay counts just moments after being uploaded.
Needless to say, we were pretty much sold on his backstory alone, but how does the music hold up? This is no timid debut. A concept record of sorts, each of Jason’s tracks charts a period of movement through his formative years. The EP in itself, an intelligent pop-tinged piece, took a year and a half to create but the consideration is evident, the soft pulse of synths and glowing rise of each track never loses focus but no single element ever commands your attention. An artist worthy of the dreamy certification if we ever heard one.
We got technical and nocturnal with our latest obsession.
Describe your sound to us in 5 words
Soulful, textural, introspective DIY music.
What was your reaction when Majestic approached you to join their label? What’s it like working with them?
I was approached by them in early 2014 after sending them a track I’d just finished and I guess I was pretty excited but didn’t really expect anything to happen as I’d had a couple of major record labels reach out before and nothing happened. After a year or so of back and forth emails it seemed more real and I got a really good vibe from them, and felt they were really into the music which was great. I think Majestic have a massive impact on what people listen to and even create to be honest, and it is really interesting seeing them constantly expand and being a part of that.
Did you take a long time to come up with a name for your EP? Or did it come about organically somehow?
There were a couple of names it went through actually. The EP follows a loose chronological narrative which takes you from the first track which is about playing complete fantasy games on a playground, to the last couple tracks which are about working out where to live and trying to avoid a lifetime of discontent. Wonder Years just came about because it encapsulates all of that and my Mum always used to say I looked like the main character from the TV show!
Talk us through your process when you’re creating music. What’s the first thing you do when making a track?
These days I will listen to a sketch I’ve recorded on my laptop whether it be a texture, bass line or vocal hook, and play it back on loop for a silly amount of time and try to work out a vision for where I want to take it. It used to always start with the guitar but not as much anymore since I got a laptop which doesn’t need recharging every 5 minutes! I end up isolating myself from everyone when I start writing and becoming completely nocturnal – which I guess isn’t very healthy but just happens to be when I feel most creative.
You say you prefer working alone. But if you could collaborate with anyone in the future, who would it be?
I really can’t envisage working with anyone. Sometimes I’ll start writing at 1 am maybe through till 8/9 in the morning so I find it difficult to visualise doing that with anyone else. Its just how I have been writing since I was maybe 13 or 14 and I’m used to the whole experience being very personal.
Who are your biggest musical influences? Why?
I don’t think I could really pick any artist out as being a big influence on all of my output. I think it varies from track to track. It’s a terrible answer but I think everything that I have strongly liked and strongly disliked since I was little will have shaped my sound.
Out of producing, songwriting and singing, which one do you prefer the most? If you could only do one, which would you choose?
Songwriting – I’m always trying to create a unique aesthetic from a production standpoint but my intention is always to craft what I hope are well written songs. I think that maybe production has become the biggest component in a lot of music today which is great and there are producers who are really pushing things sonically but songwriting is always the aspect of music I appreciate most.
You mentioned that you initially disliked jazz. How come? And what changed your mind?
I actually always liked jazz. I lost all interest in playing flute and then when I first heard jazz it became really fun again.
Would you consider exploring outside of jazz and electronic music? Which genre would you love to experiment with?
Yeah definitely – I always want to push myself creatively. I’m not sure what genre though – whatever comes naturally. I think the EP has shades of hip hop and pop too so I think my music will always be a bit of a mish mash of genres.
Which song is your favourite off of the EP, and why?
I think maybe “Opals”. It’s a really personal track with lots of personal references but I think it pulls from lots of different genres from the jazzy bass line in the second chorus to the disco influenced backing vocals. The skit at the end is a voice recording of my brother laughing and that always makes me laugh too.
What does the future look like for Jason Nolan? Got any exciting projects that you’re currently working on?
I really hope the future’s bright – I plan on spending the next few years if I can get by solely writing more music and want to go exploring at some point too. I also think though that state of things in the world is becoming increasingly volatile, so plans may change who knows. Currently I’m working on lots of new music over the summer nights and am looking forward to sharing it when I’m done with it, whenever that may be.