By Bailee Woods
JayWood started as Jeremy Smith writing songs and then recording those songs at home. This year, he’s putting his ideas and songs into live action and has got a band together! With busy schedules, we weren’t able to meet up, but I was able to email Jeremy and talk to him about music and the other weird stuff we normally talk about, like tacos, beer and deserted islands.
Stylus: How did JayWood start?
Jeremy Smith: Like most things, JayWood started from some bullshit. It was the product of a bunch of different things going on at once. I was going through a break up at the time, major family problems, and mental illness was kicking my ass. I figured this whole thing can take me in a bad direction in life, or I can try and do something positive out of all the crap going on. I chose the ringer.
Stylus: Was it a tough decision to come up with the name, JayWood?
JS: The name JayWood was always on my mind, it’s really just a play on my last name, “Haywood,” nothing special. However, when I was first trying to decide on a name, I was trying to be super hipster about the whole thing, kind of like, “Toro y moi”…Like, combine different languages and stuff like that. I look back on it now and realize how bad that might’ve turned out.
Stylus: What do you typically write about and why?
JS: I tend to write about all the stuff I don’t really talk about, like my depression or how I view life…and just watching society from an outside view almost (I know that sounds pretentious), but I find it kind of helps with the whole writing process. For me, it’s almost like an audio diary. It gives me a chance to get a lot off my chest, even though it sometimes comes off as whiny.
Stylus: If you could bring two things on a deserted island what would you bring and why?
JS: Well, I guess the first thing would be a box of flares, and a crate of Arizona ice tea – the green tea kind, no point dying dehydrated if you can help it.
Stylus: What three things (physical objects or feelings) do you want people to think of/associate with your music?
JS: It would be nice if people can find something to relate to in the music, so maybe a feeling of connection or just any feeling in general. I’d probably associate the music with nostalgia or a toilet bowl. Lol, fuck, I don’t know, this question’s got me flabbergasted!
Stylus: What is your writing process like?
JS: The writing process is either the best thing ever or me losing my shit and having a tantrum. There really is no in between. When I was first writing music, I’d do everything through a loop pedal and have all the parts stack on top of each other and that would be the song, but then I got some better equipment and shit changed. Rather than planning a whole song out, then record it, it went straight to recording each part as I came up with it. This would either make for some smart decisions or lazy ass song writing. Sometimes, a whole song would come out of a really cool guitar or synth effect and I’d just build off that. At first, I’d try super hard to not make any hooks or catchy parts, but then the music just sucked complete ass, so I eventually gave in to my indie pop roots and just starting making straight up pop music; the EDM approach, repetitive catchy and easy to jam to…I sold my soul.
Stylus: If you could only listen to 3 albums for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
JS: I guess I’d have to choose Demon Days by Gorillaz – they’re my favourite band, so it’s only fair. After that, maybe 2 by Mac Demarco. I can listen to that album on repeat and not lose my mind. Lastly, VEGA INTL. Night School by Neon Indian. That album fucked my whole life up, it was so damn good, but I’m gonna throw Lonerism by Tame Impala and Midnight Snack by Homeshake out there as well. Some tasty tunes right there.
Stylus: How do you get out of the infamous songwriters writers block?
JS: I take long breaks between songs, honestly sometimes I’ll grind on a song for days or even weeks and then after that, my mind goes blank and I can’t write to save my life. I try to do little side projects to occupy my time, but I also write little shitty songs too just to keep the ball rolling. Sometimes, just making a super poopy track and then working on it, I get more creative cause I just think “I’m not going to use this anyway,” so I play around and then before I know it, I’m working on like three different songs that all came out of a crappy idea.
Stylus: What are your plans for music and writing in 2016, and what can we expect?!
JS: Well, Bailee, considering that 2016 is pretty much over, haha. I hope to play some shows soon! I finally have a band now with some seriously talented musicians. I’m pretty lucky. We played our first show on November. 24th at The Handsome Daughter, but as far as the rest of the year we really want to be playing shows at least 2-3 times a month if we can. However for 2017, I think we’re going to release a new album, play more shows, and if all goes well (fingers crossed) maybe even go on a small tour or a big tour – just play as much as possible as far as possible.
Check out JayWood’s bandcamp page at jaywood1.bandcamp.com.