Sjxjx photo renee stamatis photography 2
Sjxjx photo renee stamatis photography 2
Photo by Renee Stamatis Photography

First Look Friday: Groove Into The Mood Fantastic With SilentJay x Jace XL

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Renee Stamatis Photography

We here at Okayplayer were super-impressed by the Melbourne duo, SilentJay Jace XL that we couldn't resist profiling them for this week's First Look Friday feature. For those unfamiliar with the Hiatus Kaiyote vocalist (Jace XL) and producer (Silent Jay) — the duo's collaboration is like witnessing Wolverine and Spider-Man team up for some grand adventure. Their unique strain of future-sounds, rooted in retro-R&B has endeared them to us and their native land, as they have created sincere and heartfelt songs such as "Sacrifice" and "Vibrate".

Their mini-album, Sacrifice, has been a defining event since their EP manages to pack a high-level of quality artistry within a runtime of just under 30 minutes. It makes you wonder what these guys could do with 45 minutes or even an hour. Not shying away from the powerful influence of '90s R&B beats and rhymes, Melbourne's own SilentJay x Jace XL have impacted audiophiles with an unique brand of music that places itself in a category all its own. Blossoming from a very fertile scene in Australia, the "Just Wakin' Up" tandem has opened up ears from hemisphere to hemisphere.

The Rhythm Section signees are not just for the lovers and the life-livers, they're for those looking to inject some much-needed soul in their existence. As we sit down for a hearty chat with SilentJay x Jace XL, these two creatives hit us with the dopeness like a sonic boom punch from Guile. What can be expected from this First Look Friday interview are the thoughts and musings from two of the smoothest and dynamic artists coming out of the second most populous city in Australia.

So, sit back, enjoy the slow jam groove, turn your love light on and enjoy as SilentJay x Jace XL talk about not making music for "music snobs," their most definitive obstacles they have overcome and why traveling to South Africa was their most memorable trip so far. Enjoy our exclusive premiere of "Just Wakin' Up" below!


Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, SilentJay and Jace XL are making an impact on both sides of the globe. What is it that audiophiles are seeing and hearing that the world has yet to discover?

SilentJay x Jace XL: To be honest, we definitely don't consciously make music to cater to "music snobs". If anything, it is the complete opposite. R&B in the '90s was pop music. Our music is just a reflection of those same vibrations and we think that's what people dig.

OKP: For those who have a sincere passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are SilentJay x Jace XL's most cherished influences in music and why?

SJxJX: What we appreciate most about an artist is their pursuit to carve their own path. Experimenting and evolving their own sound is a wonderful sight to behold and hear. With that said, Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, George Clinton, Sly Stone, John Coltrane, Pharrell Williams, J Dilla and Flying Lotus are just a few of our most cherished influences.

OKP: "Rockabye" is a very dope song and has placed you guys on the radar of music lovers who have a heavy presence within the industry. Can you talk about how life was for you both while developing as artists? How did you guys react to the first bits of press ever received as a duo?

SJxJX: We were both involved in a few different bands and experimented with writing some songs when were living together. The EP came about at that point in our lives because we both had something to say and offer. There's honestly no greater inspiration than hearing other people liking and appreciating your music. The two of us are always creating... it is just who we are. But knowing other people feel it just as much as we do brings us confidence and excitement to share our musical experiences with others.

OKP: What have been the most definitive obstacles that you guys have overcame in your careers thus far?

SJxJX: Letting go of our music has been, so far, the biggest obstacle. We're both always creating and experimenting, but to actually say that something is finished and worthy of sharing with the world has been the hardest part. Add the pressures and expectations of a first release and you can understand why the hesitation is there. To be frank, we've overcome that fear with this recent release and judging by the response, we're just excited to share more with you all.

OKP: Can you guys also talk about the importance of the music industry scene in Australia? How do you both see it evolving in the next five years?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Renee Stamatis Photography

SJxJX: Melbourne is thriving with so much good music at this very moment that it is crazy... and has been for quite a while. The fact that the Australian music scene is so much younger in comparison to everywhere else in the world, artists here are trying to find their footing and develop a sound or style that is completely unique and wholly their own. The support from the scene cultivates this creativity, so in that sense, we believe the next five years will find the rest of the world taking notice of what we're building here.

OKP: What are some elements that you've both learned about yourselves that comes out in the music?

SJxJX: It was pretty exciting hearing it all together as a finished body of work and hearing all of the influences that came out subconsciously in its creation. It was kind of like revisiting an old diary and re-experiencing emotions and moments that we were going through around those times.

OKP: What were some moments from the recent travels you've both experienced that will forever stick with you two and why?

SJxJX: Our visit to South Africa where we played with Hiatus Kaiyote will stick with us forever. It was our first international tour together and our first time visiting the cradle of civilization. The music we experienced both locally and at the festival we played at was crazy inspiring. Also, staying at the same resort as some of our favorite artists of all time was a complete trip. You could only imagine how it was bumping into them at the breakfast buffets [laughs].

OKP: What was the first song that either one of you ever wrote entitled? Can you both talk about what it has come to symbolize since you two have entered the professional industry?

SJxJX: The first song that we wrote together was something we came up with while we were living together. It was called "Do You" and the chorus was, "Keep your head / above the water / your head / above the water," and it was inspired by a phone conversation Jace had with his mother about whether he should do music or not. It was a reaffirmation to keep going and coincidently it was with me [Jay].

OKP: How can the duo's music speak truth to power in an age where people are so quickly digesting sounds and disposing of artists in a nanosecond?

Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, Lion Babe, Thundercat, SZA & More Rock The Afropunk Festival 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Renee Stamatis Photography

SJxJX: Music with soul stands the tests of time. Hopefully our music has the ability to connect our souls to others just like the music has done with us.

OKP: Collaboration is uniquely a key to the success of certain creative individuals who wish to change the game. Who would you both want to work with this year and why?

SJxJX: There are so many artists we'd like to work with that we can't even list them. But if you guys at Okayplayer are willing to arrange some things, we'll happily send you a private list [laughs].

OKP: Can you guys break down the inspiration behind the song, "Sacrifice"...? Speak on the creation and production of that song for our audience, please.

SJxJX: "Sacrifice" is a personal reminder to yourself and love of the balance between selfishness and selflessness. Sacrifice doesn't mean surrendering or refusal, but understanding both sides and making them work for you. [The song] started with a beat that Jay wrote with me [Jace] in mind, and when I showed it to him, he had already been working on some lyrics that matched the same vibe. Since Jace is born a week before me, we're both Aquarius and we'll sometimes be going through similar emotions and head-states at the same time. It is almost like he uses the same words that I'm trying to say with the music.

OKP: How do you both see yourselves changing the music industry for the better versus all of the bad stuff that goes on within it?

SJxJX: We hope that we get the opportunity to represent another side and another color of the Australian Music Scene. Australia is so multiculturally diverse, it is a shame that its music scene doesn't reflect that.

OKP: If the reader's learned one thing from this First Look Friday chat with SilentJay x Jace XL — what would it be and in what octave would it sound like?


Be sure to keep your eyes and ears open for more from SilentJay x Jace XL (and us!) by following them on Twitter @RhythmSectionHQ.