10 Questions with JAWNY
// Image courtesy of Interscope Records
Long, bleach-blond hair, a lilac blazer with matching pants, and sunshine yellow rain boots are what 27-year-old indie pop artist JAWNY sports on the cover of his debut album, It’s Never Fair, Always True. His upbeat, whimsical outfit matches the playful energy of the songs in the album, which was released earlier this month. The buoyant drums and zippy electric guitar that underscore songs like “lalala” and “strawberry chainsaw” make this EP both easy to listen to and also positively irresistible.
WHRB got the chance to do a written interview with JAWNY in the midst of his North American tour, before he performs in Boston on March 24.
This interview has been edited for style and clarity.
It seems like your newest album, It’s Never Fair, Always True, follows a narrative where you fall in love and get your heart broken. Did you have a specific person or experience in mind while you were creating this album?
No, I did not have any specific situation or relationship or person in mind. I think love on all levels whether fresh or heartbreak is such a human thing that a lot of people can relate to. If you have never been heartbroken, you know what it feels like to love. If you have never been in a relationship, you may know what it feels like to love from afar. I could go on but you get the gist. Love is so human and so I think when I write music sometimes it’s hard for topics like that not to rear their head.
You reference Asbury Park and Tasker-Morris Station in the album. What meaning do these places hold for you?
Tasker-Morris station is a subway stop by where I lived in an apartment in Philly but it isn’t historically accurate to anything in “selfish hate.” I actually used that station stop specifically to throw the scent off of anything I was writing about in that song becoming historically accurate to my life. Sometimes in songwriting, you can take a small tiny bit of truth and stretch it so far and thin that you can’t really tell what’s real and what’s not anymore, and that’s what I like to do in my music. All in all: I’ve never dated anybody who lived by that stop. So that one is a fib.
Asbury Park was a place in Jersey near by where I was living at a point in my life. I would often find myself there without even trying sometimes. Only made sense to use it in a storytelling song.
Which song in this album was the most fun for you to create?
Really stupid answer but I think they were all fun to make to a degree. I don’t think I was making them all with a smile on my face (especially not the sad ones) but as far as feeling fulfilled and enjoying the creative process of writing a song, producing a song and finishing a song, I think I enjoyed everything on this record. I got to really showcase a lot of sides of me as both a songwriter and a producer and it’s a super awesome feeling.
Are there any songs in this album you wished had turned out differently?
No. I made a f****ing incredible record. That’s my opinion at least — hahaha. I left no stone unturned and did not release it until I was sure every song was as good as it can be and exactly as I heard it in my head. I feel like if anybody ever answered yes to this question then they or someone else rushed their process somewhere along the way because unless I’m off base here (imo): If you are putting out a record into the world and stamping your name behind it, saying “this is me on a platter,” then I don’t believe there should ever be a feeling that a song on it is lackluster and not exactly how you imagined it. Those are all things that should have been ironed out before you ever decided to release anything. Now I understand the realities of the industry and the world and sometimes people are rushed for deadlines and/or their teams and management can peer pressure people to put things out before they feel ready but f*****cckkkk that. Anybody who does that to an artist of any category is a f***ing nimrod.
Who is your musical inspiration?
Everyone man. Seriously I’m inspired by so many different things. MGMT. Beck. The Killers. Tyler, The Creator. Mac Miller. E-40. All of rap production of all genres and all time eras. Luther Vandross, Prince. Everything really. It all had an effect on me.
How has your tour been so far?
It’s been really good. All sold-out shows, all crazy crowds, all big rooms. Really kinda can’t believe it tbh it’s sort of insane. After five years of doing this it’s some of the first shows I’ve really looked out at an audience and had the thought like “Be present in this moment, this is it.” I’ve done two little headline runs before over the years and they were equally as great. This is just the first time I really feel like I’m putting on a show that’s as good as I’ve always wanted it to be.
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
A million of them. But here’s three. I take 729482938382 pills and remedies all doing different things for the voice and the nasal passageways and the sinuses and the congestion. I have the most screwed up sinus issues ever so I come to each venue with a f***ing kitchen sink worth of drugs — some over-the-counter, some not; just ready for war. So that’s show ritual one. MEDS. Then two is the obvious ... warm-ups. Can’t go out there dry, gotta warm up the little baby pipes. Lastly three is I have about 5-10 minutes just quietly to myself thinking about what I’m about to do. You are kinda preparing for battle in a weird way. Shows are like an energy ritual. You feed off of the audience and as much as they decide to give you and depending on that give and take exchange is a direct correlation to the outcome of the show. All in all, you need to be ready for anything.
What kind of energy do you look for in an audience?
I don’t think I expect anything anymore. I may have when I was greener but I can describe two shows to you and both are incredible, beautiful, and amazing. Imagine this. Two shows. Around 1,000 people in the rooms. One show: People are pretty tame, singing just enough, smiling, and all around just there to watch a good show. Show two: audience is 10x as much energetic, screaming every song, chanting things, absolutely blowing the roof off the place. As i have gotten more shows under my belt over the years I’ve learned both are completely right ways to have a show and I appreciate both equally. You also learn the more time you spend on the road that city to city it can be entirely different! Sometimes major cities are a bit tamer while a stop in a town that doesn’t get as many shows have much more built-up energy to release. This is all a long-winded way of saying I don’t think I look for anything anymore. I used to when I was younger, and now the only thing I look for in a show is if people go home happy. What happens during that energy ritual is great but the only thing that matters is if you bought a ticket, then I want you to go home not regretting buying that ticket. Anything else that happens is extra and a privilege that I am eternally grateful for.
What is your favorite joke?
The last thing that happened that I thought was funny was when a TSA agent asked me if my guitar cases held a weapon and I said “only when i play it” — it was much funnier in my head, but not as funny when I was in the airport detained for the entire day because they thought I was a flight risk.
After your tour ... what’s next?
I will probably continue to promote and work my album and then once it has been out in the world and the work is done then I will work on new music. Thank you.
// Meredith Blanchard ’26 is a guest writer for Record Hospital.