INTERVIEW | jELACEE Talks Return, Confidence in Going Solo, & New Track “tIMBER”

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Back in April, we had the honor of premiering jELACEE‘s return to music from a year-long hiatus with wave tune, “fEEL.” Since then, the former Stooki Sound member has been making moves like dropping “tROUBLE” and playing Ivy Lab’s Twenty Twenty Global Livestream. This week, he brings a bouncy bass house tune called “tiMBER,” a song he not only produces but also spits bars on.

However, rapping isn’t new to the musician. He was also featured on “My G’s” whilst part of Stööki Sound. Dive into the interview below to see if we’ll be hearing more of jELACEE’s rhymes, his favorite clubs in London, and what we can expect next from the producer. But first, listen to his latest release, “tIMBER.” Enjoy!

jELACEE – tIMBER

What made you decide that 2021 was the right time to return to music even when nightlife had been down for almost a year at that point?

That’s a good question actually. I didn’t actually plan for 2021, I planned for 2020… but the pandemic seemed to work in my favor. It allowed me to hone in on what I was trying to do myself since I was coming off of a large project. When you’re in a project that big, it becomes your whole identity. If I returned in 2020, it would’ve been difficult to shake off that identity [since Stooki Sound’s completion in October 2019]. So I used that time to sit down, experiment, and figure out what I wanted without the distractions of worrying about what everyone else was doing since the whole industry was put to a halt.

Not gonna lie, I was actually anxious about returning, but my manager was like, “Look. Let’s go. Stop stalling.” There’s not really a right time in music, but also, timing is everything. You have to find the difference between finding “the right time” and procrastination.

Everyone is different—and I did see a lot of musicians saying they were having a hard time making music due to mental health, but it sounds like it might have been easier for you.

For me, personally, yes. I understand why people’s mental health was hit by it. But contrary to popular belief, I’m an introvert, though I am extroverted. So sitting in my room for 9 months was nice for me since I haven’t been able to do that in 10 years. It gave me time to really enjoy making music without distractions. You’re always going to have mental blocks as a creative, but having produced for 15 years, I’ve found ways that work for me in order to go over those blocks quite quickly. 

You’ve mentioned wanting to stay away from being pigeonholed similarly to how it was with your last project. What can people who’ve followed you for a while expect to hear from you for the rest of the year?

So people might not know this, but I started DJing drum and bass on vinyl, then house, then I did dubstep on YouTube. I found out about trap music through TNGHT which led to Stooki Sound and obviously that’s how everyone knows me, but I’ve always made a ton of shit.

But what people can expect from me… I’m a big believer in—regardless of whether you want to do different stuff or not—you should never forget who your original supporters are. So you’ll still hear trap and trap-type stuff, but I’ll also be doing DnB, house, r&b, rap and whatever other names are flying around. All I care about is cohesion and for it to sound like jELACEE. I don’t focus on genres, I just focus on, “is it dope or not?”

Can you explain what “tiMBER” is about to Americans (like me) who don’t understand British slang?

I wanted to write something where if you listen to it, or rap it, or sing it, or whatever you want to do with it, you feel it yourself. I want to make music that people can resonate with. Even though I’m writing it for myself, I want people to hear it and be able to say, “that’s facts.”

I wear nikes
Now I want my own checks
They bang gym
I’m on my own flex
-jELACEE, “tIMBER.”

It’s kind of a braggadocious song. When I wrote it 2 years ago, it was me being like “I believe in my own sauce” kinda thing. People know I’m good at what I do, but I need people to understand I know I’m good at what I do as well. There’s a fine line between being cocky and being confident, but to be successful, you have to believe in your own sauce. In order to do that you need to block out the noise, focus on what you’re doing, stay true to yourself, and be confident in your own ability.

Will we see you rap more like in “tIMBER.”?

Yeah, I definitely want to do more vocals in my stuff. A vast majority of my stuff will have vocals, whether it’s me or not.

You produce, you rap, you even do visual art. Do you have any other hidden talents we should know about?

I’m a gamer and I’m good at football. Off topic, I’m a football fanatic. It’s Euros season right now, so I’m going to have football on my screen to the right and music on the screen in front of me for the next month and I couldn’t be more excited.

I can’t get over your mom asking you if she should be getting royalties for being your producer tag. How did that even come to be?

Basically, I needed a new vocal tag and I was trying everything. I tried to do it myself. I tried to use a generator. Then, I just asked my mom to say “jELACEE” and she did and it was kinda sick. So I had her say it on the mic a few times and took the inflections I liked from each of them. What you hear is actually 3 takes chopped up into one. 

I tweeted that she better not ask me for royalties, and she saw that and probably looked it up because she doesn’t really understand the music industry. So she DMed me asking if she was supposed to be paid. She doesn’t actually want money for that though. She’s just a joke. That’s where I get it from!

Now that people are finally able to travel again, can you give me 3 music venues people who visit London have to check out?

I’m getting old in internet years so most of my favorite venues have been shut down and I don’t know if these ones are closed temporarily or permanently due to COVID, but I’ll say:

  1. Fabric
  2. KOKO
  3. XOYO

Is there anything you want to talk about that I haven’t asked about?

Well, this is my first interview as jELACEE, so this is a good start for people who don’t know me separately from my last project.

We’re honored to have done it. Thank you again!