Answering the phone via the handsfree of his car, the interview began in a manner recognisable by creatives and corporate workers alike – on the go.
Returning from a trip to London on a Friday evening our talk began with a light hearted discussion detailing the start of J Fresh’s journey.
How did you come up with your stage name?
Chuckling gently as he pondered the response he replied:
Well my Christian name begins with a J so that’s the first part. My friend Richard and I were in a car park racking our brains to come up with a stage name that was cool. We came across a service station, saw the word fresh and just ran with it.
Following the banter surrounding this story and a mention of the close promximity of his name to G-fresh, whom he referred to as a “cool guy” discussion quickly moved on to the music.
Your music tends to incorporate a range of styles, who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
The list is endless MJ, Swizz beats, Dj Zinc, Wiley…seriously I can go on for ages.
Who would you most like to collaborate with and why?
Im the sort of person that likes to speak things into existence, so I am putting this out there with the belief that at some point in the future it WILL happen. One person I absolutely have to collaborate with in terms of UK talent is Kano.
J fresh recals playing a support slot on the last date of Kano’s tour, remembering thinking that Kano was just a dope artist. He also briefly mentioned wanting to work with Nas, before we delved into talks about his album.
The album is entitled ‘Juice’, what was the inspiration behind that and who came up with the concept?
The concept began back in 2017 with my EP and album which were both fruit themed. My first Album was called fruit salad so this album was just that concept liquidised. There’s no exact science behind it other than to say I eat a lot of fruit and it’s vibrant like me I suppose.
At this point the questions had all been relatively straightforward perhaps lulling him into a false sense of security, which was certain not to last. When question about the features on the album including his collaboration with Predz UK, Yus, and Tomy Turner on ‘Lockdown‘
Lockdown is the opening track on the album, it’s a real statement from J-Fresh cementing his position as one to watch in the near future. Feeding off a range of influences including dancehall and basement, the grime track tells the story of someone who is seeing the city he once loved on lock down.
J fresh talked about his collaborations effortlessly, with a story to accompany each artist mentioned, a likely indication of his passion and dedication to art and watching these individuals grow and develop.
It was no surprise that he was caught a little off guard when I steered the conversation away from other people and began to ask more introspective questions.
What makes you stand out from the other producers?
The brief silence that followed made it obvious that this was not a question that he had been asked frequently.
I’d say it’s my background as a Dj and the unique perspective that gives me. I don’t really consider myself to be a producer If I’m honest. I more like a DJ that produces.
Which of the two do you prefer to do?
I like them both for different reasons. Djing has a completely different vibe. With producing it’s like the process of watching something slowly coming to life. If I had to pick one it would be Djing. I mean it’s like a drug, the energy and the adrenaline rush during a set it’s just an instant rush.
But it’s not all glam and flashing lights, touring must have its ups and downs?
Well of course. This is my 2nd tour in 6 months and it’s been an amazing journey. Not only meeting people and interacting with them, which has been a humbling experience but also networking and building relationships with promoters and club owners. But there’s also the other side of things poor sleep, poor diet and travelling a lot. I just try to stay as focused and healthy as I can.
With the conversation progressing in open and honest matter it was time get into the album specifics.
Your track listing seems to be done in a very specific way, was there a reason behind this?
I’m glad you picked up on that because not many people do. The running order helps listeners to digest the artists showcase on the album. I am not a rapper or a singer so there’s not a single story line or lyrical theme that toes the album together. That’s why it was so important that the tracks were ordered in the way they were to create a cohesive vibe, despite the songs being of genres.
Which is your favourite track from ‘Juice’ ?
You can’t ask me that! That’s like asking a parent to chose between one of their children…not that I have any kids for the record. I don’t want to be seen as a one genre producer so the idea of fusion was really important to me. That the common thread in each of the songs. As for a favourite I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide.
Speaking of letting the listeners decide where can they connect with you online?
@jfreshofficial across all platforms
Well J fresh, it’s been a pleasure speaking to you any final shoutouts or plugs
Likewise, shoutout to Kat and the team at Ten Letter, everyone that works with me to bring this vision to life and also to you Ray for a great interview.