When I started rubyhornet damn near 10 years ago, one of the biggest things for me and Virgil was being the studio with artists. Just the idea of “the studio” was a magic place, something like behind the curtain of the Wizard of Oz. I remember those early days fondly of being in the studio with artists like Naledge, GLC, Mikkey Halsted, Rhymefest and many others. The studio is where Closed Sessions launched, where I first met a 15 year-old Vic Mensa, and got to watch a hero like Raekwon breakdown his approach to music. I think back on that time, my early and mid-twenties, running around like a kid in the candy store. I had a flip cam, and would just hit record. One of my favorite articles on RH were the in-studio pieces where artists would share their creative process and their new work. Since I’m back at rubyhornet, we want to get back to some of our strengths, and the In The Studio articles are at the top of the list.
For this edition, Cooper Fox hung out with Ajani Jones at SoundScape Studio. He talked to Ajani about his new music, life since he released Eternal Bliss last year, and got a glimpse of new music to come. Check out the piece below, and look for more of these on the regular.
RubyHornet: What are you working on today?
Ajani Jones: Today I’m working on “Bloom”, a song I did with my Manager (Alexy), and (Netherlands-based producer) Pim. And it’s going on a project called Cocoons.
When going into these sessions are you looking to build towards a project or just recording songs and figuring it afterwards?
Ajani Jones: I usually come up with a concept before I start a project. I like to have a genuine message behind what I’m doing, so when I get into it it’s not just music. There’s something behind it. Cocoons is an EP, and I have an LP I’m also doing after. They tie together, this one’s called Cocoons and the other one’s called Dragonfly. I have a third one, which I’m still working on. It’s basically all symbolizing growth, growth as an artist, growth as a human being. And having fun and being happy in life.
RubyHornet: What would you consider your ideal situation going into a session?
Ajani Jones: I don’t produce. I like to be with a producer. Usually it’s Banks The Genius or Boathouse. Both of them I can make a song with in 20 minutes. The vibe is, they start working and I let them do them. If there’s something I don’t like, I’ll say it, but for the most part I let them inspire me and I’ll go from there. I put down my ideas and it’s usually just we’re working together to complete the record.
RubyHornet: Do you usually come into them with a game plan?
Ajani Jones: It’s definitely off the cuff, they’ll play some shit and I’ll be like ‘fire, lets run it.’ And that’s what I do, it’s just good vibes everywhere.
RubyHornet: What’s been going on since putting out your last project Eternal Bliss?
Ajani Jones: The game plan after that was to push it, work on making a better sound than we made before and bettering our situation. And we did that. We now have the resources to work as much as we want, and be more creative and have the quality there as well. That was the plan and now it’s about delivering and letting everything come together.