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Charli XCX producer J£zus Million releases debut mixtape, opens up about creative process

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  • published
    3 Sep 2013
  • interviewed by
    Chris Kelly
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Charli XCX producer J£zus Million releases debut mixtape, opens up about creative process

The 19-year-old newcomer collaborates with Sasha Go Hard and more on Cold Shoulder.

J£zus Million first came to our attention with a pair of singles he produced for Charli XCX, the bass-heavy pop tunes ‘Cloud Aura’ and ‘What I Like’. This week, he released his first mixtape, Cold Shoulder, which sees him applying his skills in service of woozy, clattering beats in the style of Rustie and Two Inch Punch. FACT spoke with the young producer via email about how he got into producing. Cold Shoulder follows (download it here), along with bonus track ‘That Heat’, featuring London duo Pandr Eyez.

What’s your musical background? How’d you get into producing?

I started taking guitar lessons when I was 10. Along the way I picked up piano, drums, bass, etcetera. I started getting into producing and making music electronically when I first heard Dilla’s Donuts and Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See but Cannot Feel by Atlas Sound during my freshman year of high school.

In a short time, you’ve worked with artists like Charli XCX and Sasha Go Hard – how’d those songs come about?

With Charli, I sent her beats I made when I was 17 or 18 last summer. We ended up swapping. She went over ‘Illusions Of’ and I produced for her debut LP. It was pretty clearcut (Aside from sample clearances). As for Sasha, we linked up thru our managers. She sent some cuts of her rapping over ‘Bottles’ and I instantly loved it. I’ve always wanted to work with some Chicago rappers, and Sasha is one of the best out there.

How does your approach when producing for vocalists differ from your instrumentals?

I consider the instrumentals my own songs. They are more fluid and personal. If I know someone may feature on something of mine I think I have to give a little leeway or more space or headroom in the song for a vocal to be mixed in. There are really no specified rules I go by when creating anything though.

 

“Being young and on an undetermined leave of absence from school and “doing the music thing” — many doubt, many give a cold shoulder.”

 

Was there a theme or concept behind Cold Shoulder?

I’m always trying to get better at what I do. Cold Shoulder was initially going to be an EP of old beats I had made last year but ended up scrapping it because I had moved on to better ideas and fresher sounds I enjoyed experimenting with. The tracks have no common thread through them. However, being young and on an undetermined leave of absence from school and “doing the music thing” — many doubt, many give a cold shoulder. It’s not bothersome though

After Cold Shoulder, what’s next for you musically? Any other projects in the pipeline?

I’ve just started working on my first EP that will be released physically on Double Denim in (hopefully) January of 2014. I’m very excited about. I’ve taken a whole new approach to my creative process and finally have an idea of what the overall finished piece will feel and sound like. I’m singing on it as well, which should be… interesting. Honestly I’m a bit nervous about the vocals, but I’ll get past them.

What are you most looking forward to this year, musically or otherwise?

So far, I’m waiting on FKA twigs to drop EP2. Also stoked for Machinedrum’s Vapor City, Danny Brown’s new shit, and whatever HudMo may or may not drop in 2013. Lately I’ve been loving Sampha’s Dual EP.

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