Beyond The Stage had the opportunity to chat with JAWNY (AKA: 23-year-old Jacob Sullenger), who just made their festival debut at Lollapalooza this past weekend. We talked about all things music, from inspirations to their latest single, “Best Thing,” and more! Read on for the full deets.
Beyond The Stage: How did you get started in music?
JAWNY: I got started in music originally as a producer and never thought I would excel anywhere past that [laughs]. My entire goal in life was just to be a successful producer. It’s kind of insane looking back because that obviously wasn’t the case. I’ve become a lot more than that. At the time, I would look in the mirror and think nobody will ever want to follow you, leave that to the artist; you just stay behind the scenes [laughs]. Crazy how unconfident a young teenage JAWNY was. I have never been so proud to have proved myself so wrong.
BTS: How would you describe your sound to someone who hasn’t heard it before?
J: I don’t know, to be honest. Loveboy-pop, carnival-funk, indie-clown-rodeo-country? Or just country? I move country records like nobody’s business.
BTS: Who are some of your musical influences?
J: Oh man, so many. Like this question almost feels like I’m gonna offend somebody because I’m going to forget a lot of people. There are just so many, man. Beck, MGMT, Pavement, Tyler, Mac (R.I.P.), Luther Vandross, Prince, Green Day, My Chemical Romance… So many. Probably The Wiggles, even.
BTS: What was the recording and writing process like for your latest single, “Best Thing”?
J: It was fun [laughs]. I don’t know. I made it in probably 30 minutes, tops. It was just one of those songs that comes really fast and then you get demo-itis on and refuse to change anything. It definitely started off as more of a joke, but I love it [laughs]. It’s fun.
Stream The Story of Hugo – EP by JAWNY on Spotify below.
BTS: Do you have a favorite line from the song?
J: Not necessarily from that one. I have a favorite line from “Tombstone Grey,” though. ‘I don’t think about you like I used to/I don’t ever search your name on YouTube/I took you off my phone like you are U2/now I’m used to you’ — I feel it every time I hear that [laughs]. What a poor bastard.
BTS: You dropped a video for the single – what was the best part of creating it?
J: Just waking up and my job is to go make cool art for a cool song I love [laughs]. What could be better than that? We strapped a camera on me and filmed for over 48 hours straight and didn’t cut not one time. It’s an interesting concept and I’m so stoked with how it came out. Some scenes took like 45 minutes to film and only ended up being a couple of seconds with the speed up.
Watch the music video for “Best Thing” by JAWNY below.
BTS: Now that tours are starting to come back, what are you most excited about when you’re able to tour again?
J: Connecting with fans. You make music to get on that stage and share a moment. To get on that stage and see people sing lyrics back at you that you wrote in your happiest / darkest times and see the looks on their face because that song means something completely different to them than it meant to you. It’s not yours anymore. It’s theirs. And it’s fucking sick.
BTS: What artists have you had on repeat recently?
J: Been listening to a lot of Mason Ramsey. That little fucking kid smacks. “She loves me for my twaaaaaaaaaeeeeeaaaaeaeaaaang!”
BTS: What does 2021 have in store for you?
J: A hell of a lot more than 2020 did. Guess we will just wait and see!