Interview: Melbourne’s JXCKY Restarts His Career With “Lockdown Lover”

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At times, the worst of circumstances could give way to the most unexpected chances. Melbourne’s JXCKY was fortunate enough to find love under Victoria’s lengthy Coronavirus lockdown. After meeting his current boyfriend on Tinder and months of e-dates later, the physical distance between them inspired JXCKY to pen his latest release – “Lockdown Lover”.

Once going by the name Jacky X, an unfortunate confrontation with another artist of the same name forced him to rebrand, but he took it as an opportunity to switch up his sound too. Inspired by the likes of Taylor Swift, Zayn, Daniel Caesar and Bruno Major, JXCKY aims to delve into the sounds of dark pop – a lane that he’s very much enamoured with.

As a queer Asian artist, JXCKY also wants to bring awareness to the representation of similar artists within the music industry. Thus, “Lockdown Lover” serves as a reinvigorated first step for JXCKY’s burgeoning career into achieving that goal.

Listen to his debut single here, and read on for our full interview below.


Turntable Thoughts:

“Lockdown Lover” is your first single under the name JXCKY. Could you tell me what it’s about?

JXCKY:

“Lockdown Lover” is essentially a ‘pandemic love song’ and it’s inspired by my favourite love songs – “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran, “Lover” by Taylor Swift, and even “Stuck With U” by Ariana and Justin. I heard those songs and was like: “I really want to write a song that focuses on connecting with someone that you technically haven’t met,” since we were stuck in lockdown for most of this year.


Turntable Thoughts:

Was there any particular event that inspired you to write this song?

JXCKY:

My boyfriend actually! I matched with him on Tinder in April. 

I already had the title of the song in my notes before I met him. As soon as we went into lockdown, I was like: “Okay, I need to write more music and what’s a really cool title?” At the time, I had no idea if I was even going to fall in love or where I was going with this. 

As soon as we matched on Tinder, we started talking for months and doing the weirdest things – like Netflixing together or playing the Switch, even though we still hadn’t met each other. I just thought it would be cool to put that experience into a song. 


Turntable Thoughts:

What made you choose “Lockdown Lover” to be the first single of your rebranding?

JXCKY:

Yeah, I would say it initially wasn’t meant to be my first release. I wanted to get away from my R&B and lo-fi sound, but the funny thing is, “Lockdown Lover” kinda still falls into that lane. The reason why I decided to release it as my debut was because I couldn’t drop a lockdown song after lockdown as that wouldn’t make sense. [laughs] 

I really wanted to reflect the time that we’re in currently and it would only make sense if I dropped it now, given Melbourne’s long stage-4 lockdown. At the same time, I feel like a lot of people who have heard me play the song online were pushing for me to release it. And I was like: “You know what? I’ll give it to you.”

Turntable Thoughts:

So it was like a product of circumstance?

JXCKY:

Yeah. That’s probably the best way to describe it.

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Turntable Thoughts:

I wanted to talk about your Jacky X period. Could you tell me what it was like back then?

JXCKY:

From 2018 to 2019, I was performing and releasing music under Jacky X – 2 singles, “Drive Through” and “Where You Been”; both of which people seemed to have liked. However, there was a conflict between me and another American-Chinese rapper with the same name. 

I didn’t want to keep pushing it when both of us were trying to achieve the same thing, which was releasing music. Still, he had issues with it and I had issues with it, but in the end I thought it was best if I came up with something original and fresh, so I don’t confuse my listeners with his. 


Turntable Thoughts:

Could you tell me about the gigs you were performing at the time? Were you performing your own songs or did you work as a hired musician?

JXCKY:

As Jacky X, I did a little bit of both. It was constant performing in 2019, where I would be doing gigs either weekly or monthly, which consisted of original content mostly but in almost every set I would include a cover that I rewrote or rearranged myself. Sort of like when you listen to Triple J or BBC where artists cover a song and change it up. That’s how I saw it; giving people a fresh take on a song. 

I mostly performed at bars, in venues like the CBD, Fitzroy, Brunswick and such. Occasionally I would do hired stuff. 


Turntable Thoughts:

What sort of sound were you doing as Jacky X?

JXCKY:

100% more R&B and lo-fi. I was still utilizing pop melodies and hooks but the song overall was definitely R&B and lo-fi. It was like “Lockdown Lover” but not that…pop. The stuff I used to release was definitely more chill. 


Turntable Thoughts:

What were the inspirations that pushed you into the “Lockdown Lover” sound?

JXCKY:

I started off as a singer-songwriter in pop music and had no interest in R&B at all, that is until I started learning songwriting in university. In the end, I wanted to do something that went back to my pop roots. “Lockdown Lover” was something I could see Taylor writing, lyrics that are pop but still personal in regards to her story, yet can apply to everybody else.


Turntable Thoughts:

So how much do you think your university education in songwriting influenced your career?

JXCKY:

I went into university knowing nothing about music, other than that I knew I could kind of sing. [laughs] But I just thought: “You know what? I’m just gonna wing this. I’m gonna try out music.” Since I wanted to learn how to song write and describe my emotions and experiences through lyric writing.  

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Turntable Thoughts:

You did say you wanted to do more pop, but are there any other genres that you would wanna try out?

JXCKY:

It’s so funny that you said that cause pop is such a broad genre; there are multiple facets of it. So the path I’m trying to go down at the moment is like dark pop – rebellious, angry sort of music, which I think is really ‘in’ at the moment.     

I’d definitely love to explore a mixture of that and some rock stuff, cause when I arrange stuff with my band, some of the arrangements come out more in that sound. So I thought: “Wow, I could venture down that path sometime in the far future. Like the very far future.” [laughs]

If not that, it would be funk.

Turntable Thoughts:

Those are two very different genres, to be honest.

JXCKY:

[laughs] Yeah, I’m crazy. I could go from one end to another sound. It’s crazy.


Turntable Thoughts:

Also, could you tell me about your band? 

JXCKY:

Well, I obviously lead the band and write all the music. I just needed to find people who resonated with my music and would want to help bring those songs to life. It just happens that all my best friends in university fit the slots. We have a drummer, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist and 2 backing vocalists.

Turntable Thoughts:

Do you guys normally record your music together though? Or do you normally do it yourself?

JXCKY:

I actually started off releasing music with some of them playing the instruments. However lately due to the lockdown, I just thought of letting the producers just do it. It would be easier as well and that’s just my process at the moment. 

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Turntable Thoughts:

What goals do you have for your future career?

JXCKY:

As a gay Asian artist, I definitely want to reach anybody who’s queer and Asian that haven’t really seen that representation in the industry. I think it would be really dope if my music could help them and their experiences as well. 

Music-wise, I am looking forward to my dark pop project next year that I’m working on. Following that, I also have this separate project I’m working on that’s more R&B. Plus, I do have a single coming out in a few weeks. Be sure to check it out.

Posted by

Based in Melbourne and Malaysia. Jensen is a part-time journalist and full-time music fan.

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