J.E.F.F. II – Interview

Over the past couple of months we sat down with a bunch of artists from the Stencil label, learning a lot about them and their career trajectories. One of the most interesting was J.E.F.F. II, and you can read more of his story below…

By Jane Howkins

How is 2018 treating you so far?

Not bad at all. I’m primarily a session and touring guitar player and I spend most of my time playing and recording for artists. But this year was a big one for me because I decided to release my own solo music. While playing gigs with my bands GetSome! (Rock) and Charly & Faust (Folk) I started producing a good amount of songs. I was constantly on my computer between rehearsals and sessions, I’m passionate about this project and I’ve been working on it a lot.

Have you released any music so far this year? If so, what can you tell us about that?

I released my first single and music video called Sleepless in July. It’s a good introduction for the people who aren’t familiar with my music. It’s an electronic song with hard rock elements and guitar solos. I came up with that crossover sound by accident, I was trying to write a riff on the guitar and I ended up playing it on a synth. I really liked the way it sounds so I edited the synth preset until it sounds close to a real guitar. I didn’t go all ‘I’m gonna mix EDM and Hard Rock music’, it was really natural for me.

Are you working on any new music at the moment? What are you working on, and when will it be released?

I’m working on my full debut album right now, it will be released at the beginning of 2019. I want to take the time to introduce people to each track of the record. So my plan is to release each song separately. I have a new single called Hollywood Anthem coming out in November. It’s a very modern track, very uptempo and straightforward. I’m spending a lot of time sampling voices to add some extra flavours to my tracks. So there will be more vocals than on Sleepless. I can’t wait for you to listen to the whole album!

Have you got any upcoming tours planned? If so, where are you playing and where are you looking forward to going most?

After the release of the album I’m gonna play mostly in the Los Angeles area. There’s so many venues around here, it’s a great place to be. Depending on how the album is doing and how the public reacts to my shows, I’m planning on touring on a larger scale. I’ve been playing in Europe for most of my life (I’m from France) so I’m really excited about hitting the road here in the US. I like the whole ‘rock n’ roll’ vibe here.

Who/what has influenced you the most as a musician?

I grew up with classic rock. Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Iggy Pop, Guns N’ Roses… I’ve been playing rock guitar for more than a decade now. When I moved to LA I began using DAWs and producing more and more music. I gained an interest for electronic music along the way. I like the rawness and the energy of rock music, the technique and complexity behind a guitar solo. But I also enjoyed the work that the producers put into making a great electronic song. So at the end of the day I’m influenced by both genres.

What have you been listening to recently that you can recommend to our readers?

If you like 70’s prog rock I would recommend the band Polymorph from Los Angeles. They have a very special vibe in their songs. If you are more into 2000’s rock check out the band Urban Escape, they’re from Brazil but they are based here in the US. Great live act as well.

Why do you think people should pick up one of your records or come and see you live, and what can people expect from one of your shows?

I think my shows can appeal to a very wide audience. The set up is pretty unique as well. I’m DJing, playing guitar solos, moving around. And there’s two incredible musicians with me playing the bass and drums. I bring friends of mine on stage, other guitar players, sometimes singers… It’s a party, man. An electronica/hard rocking/crazy party. And everyone is welcome to join!