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PJ on the throne (fnarr, fnarr)Prints Jackson

'One song every month 'til the day I die', it's a simple enough statement, albeit one that we reckon is totally unsustainable. Even if the songs in question are unutterably awful, to keep cranking them out every month is just... Well a bit mental really! And yet (you knew there would be an 'and yet' didn't you), Prints Jackson is now 24 months into this ludicrous project, and not only has he yet to release anything remotely approaching a stinker - from punky clatter to skewed synthpop, alternative rock to beat driven bug eyed Kosmiche chaos - he has also roped in loads of other people (artists, filmmakers etc.), to ensure that there's plenty to look at as well as listen to. In a world where record companies are reduced to re-re-re-selling old product and kids buy single tracks on their phones rather than full albums from record shops, Prints Jackson might just be the future of music, no really! Go have a listen to any of the links at the foot of the page and then come back and read this. So, assuming you've had a listen now and are suitably impressed let's begin with what went on in the young Jackson household...

Prints Jackson: ďMy mother taught me how to play guitar, play piano, mouth organ and harmonise. My dad encouraged me to make as much noise as possible with like minded friends. My parents had a great record collection and beautiful liberal minds. They taught me Dire Straits was a great combo of words, that Yes meant progressive, that Jose Feliciano was as good as Os Mutantes and that all the Beatles deserved recognition for the parts they played.Ē

Total Music: What music influenced you (we're hearing hints of Animal Collective, Pavement and Eels amongst others)?

Prints Jackson: ďYeah - I love one of those bands and like the other two. I certainly am not offended with any comparisons to any of those bands. I like all music and [I am] influenced by many parts and sequences in music (even if I donít necessarily like the band). The music that offends you the most also influences you the most in the very fact that you compose to itís polar opposite. Frank Zappa was important. Beck knows his shit. Arthur Russell was incredible and no music currently emotes me as much as Kristian Matsson."

Total Music: What were you doing before this project?

Prints Jackson: "Before the Prints Jackson Project (and still) I work. Iíve worked in bottle shops. Iíve worked in removals. Iíve worked selling shit. Iíve worked selling money to buy people shit. Iíve worked networking. Iíve worked in studios and now I work writing music for people and companies who are trying to sell shit.Ē

Total Music: Do you write on an instrument and then record or do you create everything in a recording package?

Prints Jackson: "I initially compose mainly on a guitar or piano. On occasions it has been drums and drum machines. I find it easier to channel emotions when playing an instrument - I think over the years pianos and guitars have proven to embody these best.Ē

Total Music: What sort of a recording setup do you use?

Prints Jackson: "A surprisingly basic home studio but with some surprisingly good toys. Pro Tools (mostly) and Ableton (when needed). Macís (always). Apogee (interfacing). Always outboard preís, compressors and EQís. A wide variety of mics. And an ever broadening knowledge of mic placements and room recordings. I could write more, but then I run the risk of you selling it to Sound On Sound.Ē

Yeah, we don't think this is him eitherTotal Music: Do you play live and if so where, when and with whom?

Prints Jackson: "There are plans to do some live stuff later this year to coincide with celebrating the artists (namely the artists responsible for the single art) but we are still working on finalising dates. I hope to get the musicians together who have collaborated on the project thus far, but those things are never easy - ask the Travelling Wilburys.Ē

Total Music: You do seem to have a very good supply of arty types who help you out with images. videos etc. where do you find all of these people happy and willing to work with you for nowt?

Prints Jackson: "I do have a good base of artistic friends yes - the project is also artistically directed by a very dear friend Dave Legion - who just happens to be an incredible artist and illustrator and general digital wizard [and] has artistic friends far and wild. Saying that you would be surprised how many artists we have literally just Ďcold calledí because we love their art, explained the project to them, tell them it is pro-bono but hopefully one day their art will be seen by a wider audience, and then they offer up some new art or some existing art. There is a lot of good people in the world who arenít driven by money. On the other hand there are a lot of good people in the world who are driven by money, but only to keep up with the flock and the industrialist.Ē

Total Music: So, one song every month is clearly unsustainable (unless you are already well into your dotage), how long do you think you can keep this up at the, admittedly high, standard you have set thus far?

Prints Jackson: "I already feel I have acheived my own small victory completing 24 tracks in 24 months, and [I will] try, every month, to release a new song. It may be a day late, it may be a week late - heck it may be a month late - I can but try and I can but hope. And being 84 this year - well, who knows if 24 songs is a wrap on the project ;-)Ē

Total Music: Always assuming that you actually want to do this for a living, how is this going to create any sort of revenue stream, is there a longer term plan?

Prints Jackson: "I want to do this for my living - not for a living. I make a living elsewhere - I have no need, want or intent to make a living from a free, giveaway music project. Itís my gift to me (and maybe a few other people including my mum).Ē

Total Music: This sort of approach would not be possible without sites like Bandcamp/Soundcloud etc. how important are these sites (and others), to unsigned musicians, and how likely to ever create a viable career path for those acts with no real fan base?

Prints Jackson: "Bandcamp and Soundcloud are indeed revolutionary. I use both - but with the amazing-touching-altruistic work by Lee Martin and his unlock.fm project within soundcloud - this has been at the centre of www.printsjackson.com. Recently we have added the collection to iTunes for download and spotify and other streaming services, but with soundcloud reporting $85 million in losses who knows what the future holds for indie musicians trying to distro their stuff. But one thing is for certain, there will always be something new to replace the existing platforms.Ē

Eeek!!

Total Music: People nowadays seem to believe that all recorded music should be free, how do we address this problem?

Prints Jackson: "Music shouldnít be free, but it should be inclusive and inexpensive. Even when music wasnít digital and free (vinyl and cdís), itís not as if the creators/ musicians were making good money or good percentages - that was going to the labels, CEOís, shareholders. Itís the kids nowadays making the music but also the kids who are making the platforms on which to both make and release their music. The kids dictate the future and the kids are alright! Itís harder for music to be heard nowadays as the pile of mediocrity is vast and increasing, but itís more organic, and more often than not, if itís good and intelligible, then it will find a new audience and get heard. That never would have happened in the past (unless it was backed by a sizeable advance from an international label) or Kenny Everett or Everett True."

Total Music: Aside from another eleven tracks this year what's next?

Prints Jackson: "This year will be the same old same old. When thereís surf - surfing . When thereís work - working . When thereís an idea - writing . Basically just going to be enjoying my 84th year on planet Earth."

Andy Basire

The ways to access Prints Jackson's music are many and various, we suggest you use his www.printsjackson.com or soundcloud or indeed bandcamp pages (also see Tumblr, Facebook, MySpace, we could go on but you probably get the general drift.)

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