Maddox Jones: "Good things happen outside of your comfort zone"
“Good things happen outside of your comfort zone, don’t they” Northampton singer/songwriter Maddox Jones states as he contemplates his move to Glasgow in the wake of the “Ready To Be Better” release.
This emotionally-charged single is taken out of Jones’ upcoming debut solo album Believe It. “I’m planning on immersing myself in the music scene up here,” he talks about his relocation. Brought up in a Christian community without TV or radio, as a child, Maddox Jones wasn’t exposed to the same music other kids were. He elaborates: “It was only when I became a teenager that I started listening to the radio around friends’ houses. I was into Oasis, and the first single I ever brought was Spaceman by Babylon Zoo. Safe to say, I’ve been inspired by music from a very young age”.
As a former frontman of lauded indie-rock band The Departure, Jones reminisces over the first band he formed. “It was with school friends, and I think my brother. We had an attic that we used to use to rehearse, and we couldn’t afford a drum kit, so we made one out of cake tins and various pots and pans.”
Forming a band is one thing, but how Maddox Jones got into singing was a case of a lucky coincidence. Acknowledging the hurdles of coming of age, Jones naturally looked for distractions: “Music was an escape method, for the simple joy of creating something out of nothing. I ended up becoming the singer just because no one else wanted to sing. Looking back, I’m glad I started singing young. To give you an idea of how good we were, we played a school concert once, and all the parents got up and walked out”, he laughs.
Today, Maddox Jones is a solo artist who found the treasure within himself. Before the pandemic hit, he started writing songs about his personal thoughts and feelings. And that’s not what he was used to: “Previously I’d write songs about things that I thought people might relate to rather than writing about my personal feelings. This was a real breakthrough for me”, he reveals, identifying the start of his solo career with the release of Headspace, his debut EP.
With his new form of songwriting, Jones did not hold back and discovered some unpleasant emotions on the way: “Writing songs from personal experience can be incredibly therapeutic. It can also bring up some tough feelings, but I believe we are here to feel all the feelings, good and bad.”
Once you open up the volt of your locked-up emotions, it is difficult to close it back up. Maddox Jones shares what he does to keep his head above the clouds: “Having someone to talk to is really important to me. I’m lucky that I have people with whom I can be open about my feelings. Getting up and making myself go for a walk or to the gym is also another good remedy, especially if I’ve been sitting and thinking for too long”.
Like the majority of our generation, Maddox Jones suffers from the case of the crippling overthinking syndrome and shares the cure of simply living in the moment. “I try and stay focused on my music, no matter what life throws at me. I have to work a day job as well, so sometimes that can be pretty draining. After work, I have all this music stuff to get done. I think making sure I try and enjoy the process rather than always looking to the next thing”.
He continues: “It is a good thing to remember. It’s a good question you asked because another interpretation would be - I keep my head above the clouds by staying inspired and listening to jazz whilst I eat dinner; highly recommended; and remembering that we are here on this earth to learn lessons, everything is a lesson”.
When asked about advice for other up-and-coming artists, Jones gives an honest argument of the existing pressures. However, if your intentions are right, it is all about the music at the end of the day. Jones expands: “First and foremost, the music is the main thing. We live in a world where fans want to see every part of the creative process, and there is pressure to come up with new ways to promote yourself every day, but it still all starts with the music. Make sure you are writing music that you love and that you are proud of, that will make everything else so much easier and fun. Also, be consistent; this could mean writing a song every day, covering a song a week on TikTok - whatever you feel you can keep up. The pressures of the music industry can be a lot for your mental health, so it’s important to try not to take every bit of bad luck to heart and remember you’ve already won just by creating art and sharing it with the world. It can take years to make a living from music, but if you are doing it for the right reasons and keep pushing yourself, then what is meant for you will come your way”, take notes, everyone.
Following up on his previous releases like “Can’t Wait for the Summer” and “Make Me Yours”, Maddox Jones releases “Ready To Be Better”, an emotionally charged single out of his upcoming album Believe It. The singer gives us an insight into the main concept of the project: “The main themes of the album are relationships, love, self-development and dealing with addiction. I’ve written this album over the past two years, so everything that’s made me feel a strong emotion in that time, I’ve written a song about it. I’ve fallen in love, I’ve battled with drugs, and I’ve been doing some shadow work, affirmations, and different types of meditation. The album is vulnerable and authentic and a snapshot of me as a writer and person right now.”
He also states songwriting is good for his mental health, allowing him to express what’s going on in his head. Jones also admits taking inspiration from one of the biggest pop stars: “I listened a lot to Taylor Swift. Her way with lyrics definitely influenced the album; simple and conversational but with a little unique twist. Anyone who knows me will say I’m a very open person; what you see is what you get, and this album is exactly that; how I’m feeling in a song”.
There is a substantial upgrade from his debut EP Headspace: “My album is a lot more organic. In terms of how it sounds, there are more live drums and guitar. It’s a natural progression for me as an artist”.
Awaiting the release of his forthcoming album Believe It, Maddox Jones stays focused: “I am planning on doing some live shows, and working on some collaborations and generally just promoting the album as much as I can, and of course, keeping my head above the clouds!”