You can catch Jared Paul Jackson, better known by his moniker J. Paul, at such local venues as Cadillac Ranch or School of Rock in Tempe...when he's in the Valley that is.
Jackson's performed at various clubs and music venues all around North America and a few other destinations, either doing the solo thing or with his DJ duo HavocNdeeD.
And both Jackson and his partner Ben Garcia (a.k.a. OB-One) have the frequent flyer miles to prove it. Along with Sluggo and Liquid Stranger, J-Paul is among the best dubstep artists in the Valley and have gotten gigs throughout North America and even as far away as Australia.
We happened to catch Jackson for an interview before he jetted off to another far-flung destination to discuss HavocNdeeD, his Mormon upbringing in Salt Lake City, and plenty of other subjects.
Name: Jared Paul Jackson
AKA: DJ J-Paul
Genres spun: Dubstep and a lot of drum 'n' bass, all the way from old school jungle to the newer versions like the jump-ups, the tearouts, drumstep, all of that. My partner OB-One is a very old school junglist. We try to pull influences in all of that. And of course like glitch and IDM, that type of thing. Anything electronic, heavy, whatever. It's all good.
Current gigs: I've played all through Old Town Scottsdale and Mill Avenue, and now I pretty much do Cadillac Ranch when I'm home. And do it fun. I get to mix a lot of rock and the heavy stuff I like.
But you're not home much these days? Right. That's kinda the whole point, home gigs are getting more and more scarce. I did the math and I've actually been away from home more than I've been home this year.
Where have you been recently? Denver, L.A., San Jose, Tahoe, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Canada, and Australia, just to name a few.
So dubstep is getting huge in cities around the world? Yeah. When electro got big awhile back, you saw a lot of the hip-hop Top 40 clubs start to play it a lot. I get a lot of the DJs I know from the hip-hop scene hit me up and ask what the hot dubstep tracks are, 'cause they're really catching on to it.
So why is there only one or two dubstep nights in Phoenix? I think it's just the natural progression of things. You'll start to see smaller ones pop up more here and there. In other cities it's the same thing right now. It's always a "grass is greener" type thing, and with the exception of places like L.A., it's pretty much like one really big night or maybe two, excluding the rave-style parties and what not. But you can see it everywhere spreading out.
What do you dig about dubstep? I think the thing that attracted me and Ben the most is he is a huge reggae fan and we're both metalheads. Like we both collect a lot of traditional dubplates and he lived in Jamaica. I particularly love metal and also grew up on industrial. Pretty much if you combine industrial music and reggae, you have dubstep, especially the heavier kind. Even when I was producing 4/4-time, housier stuff, I was like, "This is fun, but I don't know if it's really me." I have this weird identity complex and with dubstep it fit me and I embraced it.
How did you get started in the DJ game? Because my band broke up that I was drumming in. It was called Dezmo in Salt Lake City. We were like Paramore before Paramore. The girl singer, all that. And the guy who taught me how to drum taught me how to DJ, because he had gone on to be a professional DJ. And it went from there.
So you're from Salt Lake City and now work as a dubstep DJ. Does that mean you're Jack Mormon? You could say that.
What do your mother and father think of your current career? My parents have been nothing but supportive. They come out to gigs left and right. Like when I played The Colossal Event recently and proposed to my fiancée Mary [Mahan], they were here. They watch the sets, they love it.
Okay, what does Heavenly Father think of your current career? You're going that way, huh? (laughs) You know what's funny? It's something that I think about all the time, not necessarily what does God think of this. But to be on a real note, I've always tried to be responsible to my younger cousins and everything like that. And it's all a reality versus perception game, just like any job. You could look like you have this great job and be a dirtbag or vice-versa. You've met enough of us DJs that you know that some do it because they love it for the job, others do it for the "other" reasons.
Is Heavenly Father a fan of dubstep? Of course. I believe that every god out there is a huge fan. And not only a huge fan of dubstep, but are the best producers just waiting to give ideas.
What's your opinion of DJs who play more drum 'n' bass at dubstep nights? It really all came from the same place. It's all bass music. And it's great to see the young kids embrace it, and it forces many of them to go back and look at old school jungle. Or the dubstep kids that are listening to brostep, pretty soon they ask, "This is heavy and this is good, but where did this come from?" And they start listening to U.K. Garage, 2-Step, and the stuff that I got into.
How were you exposed to dubstep? I lived in Capetown, South Africa, from 1999 to 2001 and all my flatmates were British. And that's when the Garage/2-Step vibe came out, which is inevitably where dubstep came from. And some of the radio stuff that I would hear when I drove around like Artful Dodger, Craig David, and M.J. Cole. My first exposure to dubstep itself was through myself and Ben were doing a 2x4 set at Pinky Ring together on the rooftop of Bar Smith before we were HavocNdeeD and both started playing dubstep tunes that were coming out.
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How did HavocNdeeD get started? From that experience. I was producing heavier electronica and Ben was doing the same in Vegas with another partner and we just hit it off. I did a couple of tracks, sent 'em over, saw what he thought, he added to 'em, and it was great. We made some tracks and got some attention.
What's the origin of the name HavocNdeeD? That was all Ben. He was a real artsy kid and he liked combing words and drawing 'em out. It's something he's always wanted to call a group. It's basically a double entendre: Havoc Indeed, Havoc and Deed, and HavocNdeeD. It's always funny when we get off a plane and a promoter asks, which one of us is Havoc and which one is Deed. It's fun when they assume and walk up to you and ask if you're Havoc. And you can mess with them and say, "No, I'm Deed."
What's your collaboration process like? Both of us have home studios and mobile studios on our laptops. And sometimes Ben will have an idea and sketch it out and send it over to me, and if I'm feeling it right away I'll dig in and knock out a tune. Or vice-versa. It's kind of like a permanent process.
Do each of you specialize in different areas? The thing I struggle with is getting inspired. Like I need something to actually spark and totally light a fire underneath my ass. And that's Ben, he's totally an idea guy. And I take the engineer side since I'm more of a geek.