Music Q&A: Jam Baxter

The semi-nomadic rapper made his new album Touching Scenes in Bangkok and here talks Spanish riverbeds, Polish vodka and a more mature sound

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How would you describe your sound?
At the moment I’m pretending it’s heartwarming family-friendly ballads, gentle sobs and music made for staring out of a window in a state of yearning. In reality it’s the same dark experimental hip-hop and grime kind of sound I’ve been working with since the beginning.

What informs your music and songwriting?
Ah man, I dunno, everything does. It’s all based on experiences I’ve had and people I’ve met and places I’ve been. More images and scenes that have warped and become surreal in my head that I try and describe or weave into a song I’m writing. I do get inspired by literature sometimes but to be honest my attention span has been torn apart by the modern world and I don’t read as much as I’d like to.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
The way I write and how I adapt to different tempos and styles of production has definitely got a lot more refined. I used to just shout over boom-bap beats, even when they were real chilled – just scream my adolescent drug-addled head off. I learned how to relax and experiment more. I have also grown to a hundred feet tall and I’m made of bronze.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m working on some video treatments for some upcoming stuff. Been writing a few bits here and there, little bit of prose too. Drawing weird gremlin-type figures that kids sometimes get tattooed on them. Sometimes I walk two dogs on a riverbed in Spain and make up smooth R&B songs about the toads but mainly I’m just promoting this new Touching Scenes album and eating yoghurt.

What’s on your rider?
At the moment it’s quite an unforgiving rider. Two bottles of Zubrowka, apple juice, beers, mixed nuts that never get eaten, loads of apples – you know, the diet of kings. I’m thinking of officially becoming a grown man and changing it to a nice Malbec and some Bombay mix soon. My guts sometimes visit me in my nightmares to beg reprieve.

Tell us your most embarrassing or surreal experience?
Sometimes the two go hand in hand. Once in an ayahuasca ceremony I puked a load of beetles and snakes into a black vortex/bin bag in a room full of people, but to be honest it wasn’t that embarrassing because they’d all disappeared.

Photo: Harvey Williams-Fairley

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