UK-based DJ/Producer Saxxon is known for his premium D&B offerings, yet remains shrouded in anonymity. His productions have landed him on touted labels such as V Recordings, Spearhead, LionDub International and Natty Dub.
In a creative turn back to the jazzier side of D&B, the music maestro teamed up with internationally respected trumpeter Jon Scott to create some seriously smooth, sultry cuts. In this exclusive interview, Saxxon reveals to Bassrush the blueprint to his latest EP Adventures In Modern Jazz, coming to Liquid V June 21.
Tell us about linking up with world-class trumpeter Jon Scott.
I’d been aware of Jon’s trumpet work for a good few years and had the opportunity to play him some of my music. He didn’t really know what drum & bass was at the time but he was feeling it—which is all you need! We set about recording some of his lines [and] after listening to the results together we decided to collaborate on the full EP.
How did you approach the project artistically?
Every track I’ve ever written cements a positive personal experience from my life, so they always mean something specific to me. Bringing someone like Jon into the framework was perfect, as Jon seemed to know exactly where I was coming from and elevated the feel of each track all the way through.
Who are you some of your most loved jazz musicians? Who do you look up to most?
I could go on and on but from before I could toddle, my father was the first person to play me jazz. It was his main passion and I remember it resonating with me very early in my life. With that said, it took a while to find new music we could enjoy together. When I was a teenager we got into the modern jazz of the time, like Guru, Tribe, De La Soul, and US3. US3’s collaborations with jazz supreme Gerard Presencer caught both of our ears as it combined modern sample-based production with original live jazz elements. It blew my father’s mind that it was on original jazz label Blue Note.
In terms of influences, first and foremost would have to be my father the trombone player and jazz drummer. Outside my family, other favorites include the all-time greatest drummer Buddy Rich. His switches in flows are a great influence in how I approach my drums and even arrangements on certain tracks. Then there’s guys like Dizzie Gillespie, [who] pushed his sound forward with every musical endeavor all the way up to when he had to stop playing—that’s passion.
Even as a drum & bass artist, there are so many musical pioneers in the jazz scene to look at and seek influence from. Sometimes the grooves may seem crazy, but you have to appreciate what it’s taken for those artists to question every musical convention and then break those rules. They pushed musical boundaries in every respect. The walls they knocked down are still being passed through today in all walks of music; got to tip the cap for that.