Last month, Greg Jones - who goes by G Jones - released his eclectic debut LP, The Ineffable Truth. Although he's known for his production chops, his new album showcases an emotional gravitas and sophisticated musical sensibility unlike any of his previous work.
For almost two years, Jones put his blood, sweat and tears into creating a true sonic masterpiece. Each of the album's 11 tracks tells their own story almost like chapters of a book, but as a whole they tell a story sure to leave the listener in awe.
Not only that, each track is interestingly unique. Combining elements of trap, dubstep and bass music in general, they all share the varied and experimental style that Jones has created for himself.
EDM.com had the chance ask Jones about his innovative sound, the creative process behind The Ineffable Truth, and some of the plugins he uses for its songs. His answers can be seen below.
EDM.com: When listening to The Ineffable Truth, it's clear as day that you don't let subgenres define you or your sound at all. There are so many elements in each track and they're packed with a variety of sounds. For people who haven't heard the album yet, how would you describe your sound?
G Jones: I struggle with this a lot. I would probably just describe it as experimental electronic music.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up, and does it have any influence on your current sound? If not, what or who are your inspirations?
When I was first getting into music (when I was like eight or nine) I had a room adjacent to my older brother's room and would stay up listening to alternative rock radio through the wall, which was mostly Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins and stuff like that.
When I got a little bit older, in the Napster era, I started searching "techno" and downloading anything I could find, which is how I discovered Aphex Twin (probably my favorite artist of all time) and a lot of other stuff like Daft Punk, The Chemical Brothers, etc. I didn't have any friends who liked electronic music but I knew there had to be cool stuff out there so I'd use Napster or go on Wikipedia and research subgenres of house music or drum and bass to find new stuff I hadn't heard.
I'd say out of the stuff I discovered around this time, Aphex Twin's work definitely left the biggest mark on me - and I still listen to his music all the time. I'd say in terms of electronic music, Aphex Twin and Mr Oizo are probably two of my biggest early influences.
DJ Shadow says you're "the most gifted Ableton beatmaker" he's ever seen. When you're making tracks like "Different Sound" or "In Your Head," how do you go about it? What's the process like on Ableton as compared to other programs and what's your favorite go-to plugin?
With both of these songs, the main bass sounds are all from my Moog Sub37. I wrote them by first just fucking around on the keyboard until I found a riff I liked, then recording that MIDI into Ableton, adjusting it slightly, and recording several long takes of me jamming live on the synth. Then, I adjust parameters on the fly, recording everything, chopping up only the good parts and arranging them into a song.
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I can't really comment on Ableton versus other software because I rarely use any other music software, but Ableton is truly a gift to humankind and I am grateful every day that it exists. Plugin wise, I actually use very few plugins compared to most producers, but I'm a huge fan of the Valhalla DSP plugins. I got Valhalla Vintage Verb when I worked with Eprom on our first collaboration "Warrior" because I needed it to be able to work on the project file on my computer, and it sounds fantastic. I use it all the time now.
For aspiring DJs, what are some tips about making music and using Ableton that you wish someone had told you when you were starting out?
My best advice is to not be afraid to make a bunch of horrible noise in pursuit of something special. The more you fuck around and try new things that seem like they won't work, the more likely you are to discover some magical combination of sounds or effects or whatever that you would not have discovered if you were trying to achieve a specific sound as opposed to having an exploratory approach.
Also, I'd say that trying to achieve a perfect mix while simultaneously writing a song is kind of an overrated approach in my opinion. There's always time to mix better later, and a good idea that is mixed poorly is way more valuable than a really well mixed, mediocre idea. Sometimes I write on my laptop speakers even when I could be working on my studio monitors. It helps me to focus on a rough idea and not get distracted by trying to make everything sound perfect from an engineering standpoint.
What really blew us away was the emotional narrative that you weaved throughout The Ineffable Truth. When you were putting the album together what kinds of challenges did you face in order for the album tracks to really work with each other?
The biggest "challenge" I guess was curating the track list, but over time it just became more and more clear until the final track list just felt so obvious that I couldn't have it any other way. So I guess it wasn't really a "challenge" so much as a slow process that unfolded over about two years. Once I knew the songs and the order they should play in, the transitions felt like they kind of wrote themselves - like for instance, the noise at the end of "Time" resolving into "That Look in Your Eye" or the river sound at the end of "Iridescent Leaves Floating Downstream" flowing into "Forgotten Dreams." They just felt intrinsically right playing after one another, so all I felt like I was doing was listening to the songs and trying to hear how much space should exist between them, whether the transition should have any tension, etc.
You know your album even caught the attention of RL Grime with "Forgotten Dreams" being featured in his traditional Halloween mix this year. How does it feel to get such support from other DJs, and who's someone you would love to work with on a future collaboration?
It feels great! Shout out to RL and everyone else supporting the record. I'm honestly not super focused on collaborating right now just because I'm pretty deep into developing the live show around this album and writing more solo music. That said, working with Eprom is a literal dream come true and we have more new music in the works. I guess in some alternate universe I'd love to work with Aphex Twin or just observe his process, but I won't hold my breath on that one.
So after the tour, what's next for G Jones? Are you already working on some new music? Could you give us any juicy details?
It's really hard to say what's going on after the tour at this point because this tour and the music, video and lighting design for it has been pretty much my singular focus (besides the album) for over a year. I'm constantly writing new music and the live set will feature something like 10 unreleased new tunes, so there is definitely a ton of new music I've written that won't be out for a while. At this point I'm really just focused on bringing my vision for this show into the world!
The Ineffable Truth Tour just kicked off today, but you can still buy tickets here.