Australian DJ Jayson Brown, aka jaysnbrwn, sure knows his hip-hop and his R’n’B. He loves each genre as much as the other, and does a frigging brilliant job blending these when it comes to his own sets. Artists as diverse as Mariah Carey and Jay-Z, Rihanna and Notorious B.I.G., Drake and N.E.R.D. all pepper his sets.
Though Jayson has loved hip-hop and R’n’B from an early age, it was not until 2016 that he decided to take his love for the cultures to the next level. Not long into the year, he joined label Dough Related Productions as resident DJ and had also begun assisting his peers with their music. By the end of that year, he had not only done a slew of club gigs, but had also helped produce his label-mate B-Nasty’s first album, The End of the Beginning plus a dozen of other label singles, while also having directed a multitude of music videos.
Not bad for only a couple of years under his belt!
Then there’s all the live work he’s done, having supported everyone from A$AP Ferg to Bruno Mars, 360 to Ty Dolla $ign, each singing his praises as they make their own way on stage. He has also played alongside some excellent peers, such as DJ Yella (NWA’s Official DJ) and DJ Ricci Riera (Kendrick Lamar’s main mixing man) and has been officially made a Culture Kings DJ.
Next up, Jayson plays the One Day Sunday gig at the Ice Cream Factory in Perth on December 16, 2018.
Here he chats with Cream about his passion for music, when he first got the spark to DJ, and how music of today compares to that of yesteryear.
Interview by Antonino Tati
Were you always musical as a kid; did you play any instruments or listen to music religiously?
Yeah, I definitely used to listen to music religiously. Growing up, I would always have my stereo on in my room or have my headphones in if I was out.
What sort of music did you listen to growing up; what was playing around the house?
I think a big influence on my music tastes earlier on was from my older sister. She was really into her R&B music growing up, which rubbed off on me. Throughout high school, my musical tastes expanded, and I started having a true appreciation for all genres of music.
How did you break into the music and DJ industries?
It’s always really been about music for me. I love finding new tracks and playing them to people before anyone else, and it’s been that way since forever. So I guess DJ’ing was the natural progression. It wasn’t until I started with Dough Related Productions that I was introduced more to the nightclub scene and started getting gigs from there.
As a DJ live and a DJ/mixer in the studio, what skills would you say one needs to be able to crossover in those two areas of musical delivery?
I’ve learnt a lot more about the composition of music which I’ve attributed into my live sets. And a better understanding of what works well with each other, too. And back the other way, understanding what gets a crowd going, song structure, tempo and knowing what’s hot. It’s all relative.
Have you DJ-ed at festivals?
Yeah, I have.
What do you think of the festival atmosphere compared to, say, the club atmosphere?
It’s definitely a different kind of set. In a club, your set is normally longer so you have the chance to take the crowd on more of a journey, and you can experiment a little more with your set. At a festival, it’s much more high energy: get in, get out, and make as much of an impact as possible.
How would you compare the music in the charts today to that of the 1990s?
I don’t think it’s too dissimilar. I wouldn’t say it is better, or worse, it’s just evolved. With technology in music advancing so much, it opens the door for more musicians to make music. I mean, you can make a whole song at home on a laptop these days. And with the power of the internet, it has meant that it is much easier for independent artists to put their music out there and to make it into the charts.
It’s definitely a different kind of set. In a club, you have the chance to take the crowd on more of a journey … at a festival, it’s get in, get out, and make as much of an impact as possible.
Would you say the popularity of hip-hop and R’n’B has grown exponentially as we’ve moved more into the digital realm?
I wouldn’t say it’s grown exponentially. I feel as though the popularity of hip-hop and R&B comes in waves, just like with other genres, but the consistency of urban music since the early 1990s cannot be denied. We’re definitely in a good space right now, with the charts mostly dominated by urban artists. But this was also the case right back to the ’90s and early 2000s – where the charts were heavily infused by R&B and hip-hop. R&B Fridays and ‘throwback’ nights in clubs are evidence of how big the urban music scene was back then and still is.
Where do you stand with the concept of sampling in hip-hop?
Oh man, sampling has been fundamental in the growth and popularity of hip-hop since its birth. I fully support sampling and I love the feeling I get when I hear a sample has been used well!
Do you think much of the contemporary hip-hop and R’n’B audiences are aware that a lot of the music they are listening to actually contains bits of music from the past?
I definitely think others do not have the same appreciation [of sampling]. Whether it comes down to musical knowledge or is generation-based. Either way, it’s understandable!
There’s been a trend recently of DJs creating symphonic music, from Armand van Helden to Pete Tong. Those DJs were stemming from more of a club background. Could you see hip-hop and R’n’B music eventually being translated into classical style?
I think that’s one of the beauties of urban music. The possibilities are endless and so many times, artists have crossed genres when experimenting with their sound through sampling, through using different instruments, and through collaborations with other musicians. Classical instruments like piano, trumpets, flutes and violins regularly make appearances in hit urban records and many classical symphonies have been sampled, too.
With urban usic, artists have crossed genres through sampling, through using different instruments, and through collaborations with other musicians.
Will you be creating any original music of your own any time soon?
I might be working on a few thangs (cheeky smile).
Finally, if you weren’t making music or DJ-ing today, what would Jayson Brown be doing with his life?
I would still be working a regular old corporate 9-to-5 job and only having two days off a week. Ha ha!
You can catch DJ jaysnbrwn at the One Day Sunday gig at the Ice Cream Factory in Perth on the 16th December 2018.
Meanwhile tune into his brilliant hip-hop and R’n’B mixes here!
And to stay up to date with new mixes and gigs, visit www.jaysnbrwn.com.