If you’re listening to the radio during the day or are out dancing at a club at night, it’s highly likely that you will hear at least one Jonas Blue song play during that time. His hit track-record is impressive with four top ten Aria Chart singles, and one number one placement with his innovative reworking of Tracey Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’.
Continually trying to push the boundaries of his sound, the British producer has delivered these big tropical pop inspired EDM numbers with ‘Rise’ featuring Jack & Jack, ‘Mama’ featuring William Singe and ‘Perfect Strangers with JP Cooper. But since the release of his debut album ‘Blue’ in 2018, he wants to continue to find ways to push his artistry before creating another LP.
His recent single ‘Mistakes’ featuring Paloma Faith heard him heading in a UK Garage influenced direction while his new single ‘Naked’ featuring MAX steps into full-blown disco territory. The playful track hears him getting really cheeky with the lyrical delivery while also tapping into his childhood influences for sonical inspiration.
I recently chatted to Jonas Blue about the experimental disco direction behind ‘Naked’, the DIY process of filming the music video with his family and reflected on collaborating with Paloma Faith and William Singe. Check out the chat BELOW;
THOMAS BLEACH: Your new single ‘Naked’ with MAX is out now and is a really groovy and playful track that seems like it would’ve been really fun to make. So how did this track creatively come together?
JONAS BLUE: For me, this was such an interesting song to do because I had always wanted to do a disco influenced record. I grew up listening to Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson and all the different kinds of Philadelphia soul music, so I always wanted to do something that aligned with that. It was just finding the right time and the right person to collaborate with to really bring it across.
Personally, I think it’s the most interesting song I’ve released in my career so far. It takes me back to when I released ‘Fast Car’ and then released ‘Perfect Strangers’ with how vastly different the sounds were. ‘Naked’ doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before, but yet the song is a classic Jonas Blue song because of the instant melodies at the start.
One thing people don’t really realise about this song is that it’s written in the female’s perspective. It’s about a woman being really confident to take charge in the moment, and it’s not necessarily about getting naked sexually, but also naked soulfully.
It just feels like a fun song, and I wish I was out on the road performing it at the moment.
TB: Well, sonically it is very different to anything else you’ve released in the past. What were some specific musical inspirations you were channeling on this track?
JB: With the guitar riff I was really influenced by Prince which I feel like you can hear straight away. But one thing no one really knows is that everything on this song is live. Nothing is using computer plugins, which again is really different to me as I’ve never been able to do that in the past.
So the horn section you hear is the actual five piece horn section I had playing in the studio. That was inspired a lot by Earth, Wind & Fire and the Philadelphia disco music I used to listen to growing up.
Bruno Mars with his recent material was also a massive inspiration to me, as well as the old Justin Timberlake stuff. A lot of people have said that it reminds them of Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Sop Til You Get Enough’ and that’s definitely something I was trying to aim for on the drums. So yeah, it’s a sort of blend of all of that.
TB: The lyrics are VERY cheeky. What is one of your favourite lyrics from the song?
JB: I think “when you’re banging on my bedroom door” *laughs* because it’s quite controversial how that can be perceived. Like we actually meant it as banging like knocking, but you can definitely take it another way *laughs*.
TB: That lyric is very cheeky! I was going to bring it up because I loved the way MAX sung it with a slight space to emphasise the playful connotation.
JB: Yeah! I remember when we were in the studio and we wrote that line we looked at each other and asked “can we actually do that? Is that allowed? Is it on the edge?”. But you know, this whole song is on the edge and that’s the fun of it. It’s not trying to play it too safe and that’s what it’s about. You can’t have a song called ‘Naked’ and have it be too safe.
TB: The accompanying music video is also very playful and while it was shot in isolation, it still has a cool retro vibe thanks to the post-production. How challenging was putting together a music video in these current times?
JB: It was difficult dealing with my mum and dad who helped me film it *laughs*. Nah, they were cool! It was a really long day, as we were shooting for over nine hours on my driveway at home. The grand piano we use is actually the grand piano from my studio here so it was a lot of fun and an experience I will never forget.
All my music videos in the past have had these huge teams and on this particular shoot it was legitimately just myself, my mum, dad and sister. So there was a lot of work that went into it but I firmly believe this is one of the most interesting songs of my career to date, and it was very special having them apart of the video.
TB: Well I was going to ask you about that because I did see that you posted on Instagram about how your dad was on camera duties. Was he a natural pro during this shoot?
JB: He killed it! But he had no previous experience with filming music videos so it was definitely something new for him. The last time he directed anything probably was our baby holidays when we used to go away as a family *laughs*.
TB: On ‘Mistakes’ you worked with Paloma Faith who is traditionally more sombre and heartfelt in her delivery. Did she come into the studio ready to dive into that playful spirit or did you work with her to find her confidence to dive into that sound?
JB: It was definitely more that. She actually sent me the song in late July last year, and it was an acoustic demo with just her vocals on it at the time, and she said she thought I could do something cool with it.
We had a really long conversation about our inspirations, and something we were both really into growing up was a style of music called UK Garage. That played a huge influence in that record, and again it was something different to anything I had done before. I didn’t sound similar to ‘Fast Car’, Mama’ or ‘Perfect Strangers’.
I’m super proud of that song, and she was honestly so incredible to work with. Like, we had a photo shoot together, and I’m quite a serious guy when it comes to the stuff, and she just took all the seriousness out of me and made it so fun.
TB: For ‘Mama’ you teamed up with our Australian boy William Singe. Are there any other Australian artists that you would love to work with?
JB: One person I loved growing up was Guy Sebastian, and my real name is actually Guy, so that would be really cool. I love his vocals so much so he would be great at some point. But I also am always looking for those unknown artists to work with, so there are actually some Australians that I have my eye on at the moment.
TB: ‘Mama’ was such a huge song globally, and I thought it was so cool that you got William on the track because he was still on his uprising at the time.
JB: I always say that working with Will was one of the greatest experiences for me and people are always like “why? he’s not even that big in the UK”. But to me in a weird way he always reminds me of my ex girlfriend *laughs*. We used to send each other Will’s YouTube videos back and forward to each other. Whenever he released a new one it would be a race to see who could send it first. It would always be our thing as we were quite the RNB heads.
I always wanted to work with him and when we finally recorded ‘Mama’ he was on this crazy North American tour and the only way he could record the vocals was on this crappy USB mic on his tour bus while it was moving. And that’s the final vocal take you hear on the song now *laughs*. If I was to isolate the vocal track you would hear all of his friends in the background and the tour bus going *laughs*. But I just knew that only Will could sing this song.
TB: Your debut album ‘Blue’ was released in 2018 and was an impressive collection of tracks that dominated radio and charts. So with preparing your next release, are you feeling a pressure to live up to a standard you’ve created and to push boundaries?
JB: I try to push boundaries on every single song I create, and sometimes that works in my favour and sometimes it doesn’t. I feel like people always want the same thing most of the time, but I get bored really easily, so I try to change up the sound a lot.
I don’t think it would be hard for me to do a collection of songs that are all really different from each other, but I don’t really have any plans to do another album at this point in time as I’m really focused on the singles and taking it back to how I did it at the start.
TB: With the global success of songs like ‘Rise’, ‘Mama’, ‘Perfect Strangers’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Fast Car’, where has been one of the strangest places you’ve heard one of your songs played?
JB: I was playing in Goa, India at the end of last year for this festival called Sunburn. We went to go get a drink before the show, and there is actually an old video of it on my Instagram, where we went into this shop and there was a cow in the shop. That’s how weird this shop was, it was very off the beaten track.
But anyways, we are in this shop and ‘Mama’ just all of a sudden comes on which completely shocked me. It’s not like the UK or Australia where you’d kinda expect it to play, we were in India in this little coffee shop with a cow *laughs*. It was very weird but cool!
TB: Let’s play a quick game of rapid fire questions! You ready?
JB: Let’s go!
TB: The emoji that best describe my new single ‘Naked’ is…
JB: The 70’s dancing dude and lady.
TB: When I think of Australia I think of…
JB: William Singe!
TB: The TV show I’ve been binging during isolation is…
JB: Tiger King! I was HOOKED.
TB: Pineapple on pizza is…
JB: A big fucking no! I’ve been learning how to make traditional pizzas during this time and pineapple just goes against everything *laughs*.
‘Naked’ featuring MAX is out now!