On the eve of singer-songwriter, J.J.Leone’s new single release, Re-Load, we chatted to him about life, music and underground caves
What attracted you to the area of music you work in?
Songwriting is just something that came really naturally to me, it always has done. Even writing in general – I had some poetry published when I was 8 which I wrote about a jungle! But ‘Dark Soul’ was just something that happened, I didn’t start to think that this is the music I’m going to create, its just the sound that came out. I didn’t even name it, a friend did. He said that it’s still soulful music but its really dark at the same time, and I remember thinking that actually yeah, that’s a pretty good description of it!
What is your local music scene like? How do you think you fit in?
Norwich is doing really good at the moment, its got a few guys coming through right now, I put that down to it being in the countryside with not much else really to do! But in terms of where I fit in, I never concern myself with that. I don’t create music with an idea of fitting in anywhere, people can put me wherever they see fit!
You’ve got a huge concert lined up – what would be your dream venue?
Without doubt the Drogarati Cave in Kefalonia, Greece. I went there a couple of years ago and the acoustics there are so perfect they do hold concerts in there, its a chillingly beautiful place, and yes I did stand there singing whilst looking around – I chose Frank Ocean if I remember rightly!
Tell us about how you go about creating your music, from initial idea to completion. What equipment do you use (the more information the better – that way we can also target publications relating to specific instruments/brands)
For me, it always starts with a melody which 99% of the time comes from the guitar. My preferred guitars are the Yamaha electro-acoustic CPX700 and my electric is a BC Rich Assassin QX6. From there I can really start to work on the chords, structure and lyrics. I’d say it’s 50/50 as to whether the lyrics or the beat comes first, I use a Chord MU25 keyboard and I programme with Cubase. The lyrics are always the last thing I record as by then the music has already been put down and I always think the voice is another instrument, so can be used to enhance/ calm aspects of the music at certain points. The microphone I use is a Shure SM57.
Tell us about the inspiration and making of the videos which accompanies your tracks
I always try to keep it fairly simply and almost let people make their own visuals for my songs in their mind. The video for ‘Reload’ is a simple graphic style, but I think it works with the ambience of the track also.
What would be your ultimate aim in the industry?
There isn’t really one! I want to bring people together through music and just seeing somebodies face light up when their favourite song comes on is what made me fall in love with it in the first place. I’ve connected with people all over the world through music, we may not speak the same language, but we both know a jam when we hear one!
Is there anything you would like people to know about your current release?
It’s available for pre-order now from all major download platforms, with full release on October 6th.