Interview: Five minutes with JBXDR
German drummer and electronic producer, JBXDR is just about to release his latest single, ‘Pocketcall’ via Springstoff. The experimental musician was formally trained in jazz drumming at Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts before he went on to begin creating his own original work, showering his fans in unique drum solos and elaborate compositions.
When not sharing his signature drumming with the world, you can find Jörn Bielfeldt making a difference in the world with a non-profit organisation, of which he is the Managing and Artistic Director. The non-profit focuses on the very industry that JBXDR loves, supporting artists and other creative professionals:
In between his busy schedule, we got a chance to sit down with the man behind the music
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I found a drum-set in my aunt’s basement when I was four years old. I have been playing ever since. Realizing or manifesting ideas seems to be the only consistent source of energy in my life… I mean besides air, water, food and love. There has never been the question of why rather the question how?
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Generally the sound. Externally or internally. So I guess hearing a sound internally is the same as an idea. So both. Always based on the task on hand.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yes. The track Soul Fool (3rd single release) features vocals by The Josh Craig – a singer, songwriter, producer, DJ & visual artist currently located in Brooklyn, NY. His music reflects the everyday journey that is living as an involved artist in a city that never sleeps and paints vivid pictures of life on the road in the driver’s seat. Often blending genres, TJC has a one of a kind style and flavorful stage presence.
His original songs involve him singing addictive melodies, playing deep chords on the synthesizer and reciting lyrics that speak to a generation of thinkers.
When DJing, he brings that classic funk bounce and new underground house swing with hip-hop classics along the way. He’s known for his late-night rare salsa and afro-beat in the mix as well Acid and Detroit Techno.
Social – @thejoshcraig
What’s on your current playlist?
Beatles again, J Dilla always, Sylvan Esso, Aphex Twin, Empress Off, Noga Erez, Cashmere Cat, Flying Lotus. And then everything else. Always changing. With stretches of hardly any music from the outside.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Performing on stage is like being in a deep meditation. It’s the most present state of mind. Sharing that energy from the stage, in my case through drums is like opening my soul wide open to everyone in the room. Since my instrument is very physical and not bound to a BPM, people seem to be open to connecting even more to me as a human. It’s only me. No machine is in the way of me taking a risk, making mistakes and all that. Very human. So the chemistry is very human and very personal.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
My specific set up, in general, is my very unique daily experiment to create my original sound. No one else samples music with drums the way I do it. When I am stuck I just let my sticks or hands fall chaotically and then try to repeat what happened in the form of a beat. Or all the other techniques that came from my improvisation teachers or sessions in that world throughout the years.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
There is the usual day. I sit down wherever my instrument is set up that day and just practice old and new ideas. Pretty much every time I play, I create a new track. When it’s any good it finds its way into the live set. When it can stand there it will be recorded next time I am set up to record.
The typical daily flow is always let by searching for that magical moment where I can find the right vibe with the task, the people in the room. Sometimes it’s about the food. The fire burning in the fireplace or taking a long walk. Or it’s about playing that track 23 times until you have it.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
As I was saying… yes – as a little kid with only four years on my belt. But several others over all these years reinforced that very first one. The first show in some big barn in the middle of nowhere in northern Germany when I was six. The first big show at a jazz workshop with 13. Some mountain in the Indian Himalayas, while meditating in a forgotten monastery way later with 21.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
Water. Always water.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Noga Erez. Sam Evian. Ätna. Yule Post.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Seeing badass inspired creative people who kick ass in whatever they do.. or lame people that suck and don’t really mean it. Both make me want to create.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
JBXDR human interface / hybrid drum-set
Acoustic drums (kick, 1 – 2 snares, floor tom)
Sunhouse – Sensory Percussion Triggers
Roland Drum Trigger
One Roland SPDSX Drum Pad
Dave Smith Mopho x4
AKAI MPC Midi Controller
Native Instrument Maschine and Complete
UAD Apollo Twin Audio Interface
MacBook Pro with Ableton Live 10 and Sensory Percussion Software
Any side projects you’re working on?
Besides my work around Papenwohld, I am currently working on tracks with Arooj Aftab (Esperanza Spalding, Meshell Ndegeocello, Petros Klampanis), VANDANA JAIN, Sera Kalo (Seraleez)
Furthermore, I’ll be playing an EU tour with the Brooklyn based band ‘TheRainbows’ – a solo project of Greg Albert (formerly of Celestial Shore, Really Big Pinecone, and Guerilla Toss). Often changing between different configurations and styles, the only constant for TheRainbows is weirdness.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
If you never stop moving, risking or pushing for new boundaries you never stop refining your craft. That’s pretty much my life goal. For me its always been about finding my own voice in this ever-growing world of complexity and diversity.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
While the first singles are being released, I will be working on the new and improved live set and the production of a few more music videos as well as a big live set video performance. I will continue to work on new material, especially those tracks that lent to further collaborations with vocalists.
Famous last words?