Jordan Arts recently sat down for an in-depth interview with journalist Martyn Pepperell, giving some real-talk on the ups and downs of his musical career so far.
It’s an open and honest look at how he’s come to terms with being an artist in today’s fast-paced world, and why he despises the “machine” behind the music industry.
Arts first broke onto the NZ music scene as one half of electro-pop duo Kids of 88, and they instantly topped the charts with their catchy tune ‘My House’. From there, he says he realised the need to create something that felt more true to him, and he started producing music for his solo project HIGH HØØPS.
He explains, “I was in purgatory after Kids of 88. I knew what the machine looked like, and I knew it was a freaky place. I still needed an outlet for creativity; and HØØPS is the vehicle for me to output this creativity. It wasn't until a couple of years into HIGH HØØPS that I started putting a lot of pressure on myself to deliver something that was all me. It was staring me right in the face; I couldn't enjoy my work or sign off on it. I wasn't as good as I wanted to be, and it started eating me up.”
He said he eventually realised he’d hit his lowest point, saying, “There was a D-Day, and I can call it D-Day because it had a capital D on it. That was when I realised it had got me. I was always a glass half-full, positive, perfectly balanced ego kind of guy. I'd been able to navigate through highs and lows, but this time, I was staying low, and it was a horrible place to be. I'd been booked to play this ‘30 Days In LA’ show in Los Angeles for Red Bull. I knew it was coming up, and it was this moment I needed to be right for. It needed to be the dopest shit I'd ever done. The time was right, and I was the right age. There were all these external pressures I was trying to not think about, but on a subliminal level, they were chewing me up.
“But I wasn't ready, and even though I was catching a plane to LA, there was no sunlight shining through for me… I'm in LA, I'm playing this show, and I'm getting really good at doing this fake smile. At the same time, the tunes aren't finished yet, the confidence is low, and I should be having a good time, but it's not happening.”
He says his new music has only started to come after taking the pressure off and starting to jam for the fun of it. He’s also learnt that collaborating is a key for him, explaining, “Once I was back on my feet, and could navigate again, I realised you're only as good as the people you surround yourself with... My focus had always been on myself first. I used to think I had all the answers, but you can't do everything yourself. I wish I had learned that earlier on. Having the right people around me on the collaborative side was a really strong thing. Working in LEISURE pulled me into this new zone of collaborating. Connor [Nestor] and I started what became A Label Called Success… I feel like I get to do everything I want to do with the right people, all my favourite people.”
Read the full article here, and listen to HIGH HØØPS below: