As we approach the end of the year, we felt there was something lacking in our interviews. We went from electronic to folk, and from pop to rock, without acknowledging the lack of voice we’ve given to any hip-hop based act. But, out of the blue, we were saved. Ross Jack came to rescue us. The South-African based singer-composer-rapper strongly bases his sound in hip-hop, but as he built his debut album merging his with others rappers voices, he added layers of pop and RnB creating an unique style. He calls it Stoner Pop. And his Self-Medicated album presents what it is all about.
The Pretty Simple Guy and his Stoner Pop
[WtMM] May we begin by asking you, who is Ross Jack, and when did you decided on a musical career?
[Ross Jack] I’m a pretty simple guy, it sounds cliche but it’s true.. I’m a huge football fan, not really a club guy but I love a good bar/pub, love a nice G&T or a whiskey. Mostly love making music, I didn’t really decide it just happened out of the love of it. Started as a hobby on a program called Reason, then turned into and obsession and I guess just snow balled till today. I never wanted to be an artist I started making beats and producing.
What type of music where you used to hear while growing up?
Listened to a lot of soul and Motown a lot of Rock’n Roll, then I guess i went through a Backstreet Boys pop band vibe then really got into rap and never looked back.
What are your main musical influences in the music business right now?
I guess I would say Kanye, Frank Ocean , Chance , M83 .. I like music that feels like something, not just music that’s on trend, I feel theses artists and a couple others don’t follow trends through genres.
If you had to describe yourself to new listeners where would you say you fit right in?
I dunno if I fit in to be honest, I feel the music is unique in terms of delivery and the combinations of feels and influence. My new thing is Stoner Pop , instead of hip hop or pop or whatever I feel Stoner pop is the best way to describe the vibe.
Your debut album – “Self Medicated” – come out last year on your home country South Africa, but only now it is hitting Europe, are you expecting to hit the road any soon? Have you had any shots on supporting bigger names in the Industry? Who would you dream opening to?
Not yet, however there are a couple things in the pipeline just don’t know exactly where yet. As far as opening for a big name I would love to open for ASAP Rocky I think the vibe would be sick…
When we first heard about you, “Fall” already had a very substantial amount of plays on YouTube. To what you attribute that success?
Well i think South Africa helped a lot the song did very well on radio in SA so hay definitely pushed the views a bit.
One of the stars of the album is the single “Fear The Rush”. How did this song come together, and what is it all about?
Well i was staying in Battersea and I was kind of in the middle of my time in London and I really wanted to make a song that I felt encompassed London and the vibe for me. So we decided to go left with it and take it to church a bit .. It’s about not being scared to step out your comfort zone and feel different things .
Arrow Benjamin sings with you on that one, are you a big fan of him? How did that become a reality?
Arrow was recording in the matrix where I was and I guess because he’s a creator and loves to create he jumped on after we played him our ruff draft. I’m a big Arrow fan I think the possibilities are endless with his talent.
Throughout the album you have several more collaborations, was that the idea from the beginning? Who would you love to have on your album that you could not?
I think collaboration is a huge part of art and music so yeah that was definitely the plan. There are so many p would love to have that I couldn’t, I’d love to do a track with Adele on a stoner pop rap vibe I reckon it would be ridiculous, then I would love to work with chance the rapper , frank ocean, Sam smith , Kanye , Rick Ross, many many…
“Burning Man” seems a very distinct experience from the rest of the album, was this more inspired by your local roots? Can you tell us a bit more about the story behind it?
Yes that’s pretty accurate, Burning mans groove contains a popular local sample here in South Africa from a Kwiato artist from the early 90’s late 80’s called Chico Tswala. Yeah it’s very different from my normal style, wasn’t sure whether o should include it in the final track-listing but thought it was at the very least interesting.
Are you that “Insecure”, or you would describe yourself a bit more like a “RocknRolla”?
I’m more of a RocknRolla definitely but I have my moments of Insecurity I think everybody does .. ah ah.
“Air Up There” has a very spiritual vibe behind it, adding to an urban feeling an honest layer of soul vibe to deliver a powerful message about life. Is this the type of message you hope people take away from your debut album and your music in general?
First of all great question and it’s so refreshing to do an interview where the whole record seems to have been listened to and appreciated. To answer the question that’s exactly it, I like to right stories and commentate about real life and different moments on life as much as possible. My favorite beat maker producer is J.Dilla this was a throwback to him.
Looking Forward to Shows
Are you considering to release any new stuff soon, or just focusing on playing the album live?
I’m working on stuff as we speak but want to take my time, and also hopefully tour and perform the current record as much as possible for the next couple months.
Focusing on playing live, was there any show/festival that you feel it was your favorite to date? Where would you love playing at during this next year?
Yeah we played a show on a mini island of the coast of Pletenburg bay in South Africa it was totally incredible just the setting from the start and the stage it was packed, wish I could do that every day.
Where will we be able to hear you in the next months?
If anybody upstairs is hearing me then everywhere…
If you wanna found out more about Ross Jack and the whole Stoner Pop, you can follow him in his social and musical networks:
We at Where the Music Meets would like to thank Ross very much for this interview, and will hope to see Stoner Pop becoming a tendency in the near future. Best of success.