Ayron Jones’ New Song ‘Supercharged’ Lives Up to Its Billing
Ayron Jones has emerged over the past year as one of the breakout artists in rock and as the singer-guitarist takes one step closer to the release of his Child of the State album (dropping May 21), he's partnered with Loudwire for the premiere of the lyric video for the electrifying new track "Supercharged."
Coinciding with the premiere, we had a chance to talk with Jones about the passionate new song, his rise in the rock world over the past year and what he's learned from playing for a variety of audiences. Check out the new burner "Supercharged" and read though the interview below.
"Supercharged" definitely lives up to its name. This feels like it would be great for the stage. Did you have that in mind, the live experience, when you were putting that song together?
As I was putting this song together, there's a couple of thoughts about that. That song was initially sent to me by Nathan Barlowe and for me it was more of a translation, right? They had the first verse and the chorus in the song, singing in the second verse and then kind of an out, but for me I needed to be able to put my personality into the song. That was the live element that I wanted to bring to the table, especially cause the title is "Supercharged." It could be done in a really corny way where you had all these really electronic elements to the fray. But I think for me it was really more about being supercharged and explosive.
We attacked it. I remember sitting in the studio and we played that live over and over and over and over again, before we stepped in the studio and tried to get it to be anything, just to make sure that it sounded exactly like we needed for it to sound.
From what I understand, this song is about loving love and the muses that inspire it. Was this written for one person in particular, a collaboration of experiences and whoever inspired it, do they know about it?
Interesting. I think it's the collaboration of experiences. Honestly, I don't think it was just one experience in my life. I found kind of part of me realizing and identifying what the issue was in terms of how the absence of that maternal energy, with my mother being away my whole life, how that affected me as I became an adult. It showed up in so many different ways in different kinds of relationships.
I think for a time in my life, I was putting all of my energy into trying to make it as an artist, which meant every everything I made was going back into the project. I was living as frugal and as simple as possible. At times, I couldn't pay rent. At times, I was hungry and at times and all these little things happened and I had the love of people, namely women, that recognized that. Even though I don't think that emotionally I was ever in a place at that time to even identify the issues to deal with, to create a successful relationship. I think that they recognize that and still did everything they could to help provide this level of love that I needed just to make it to the next place.
Especially when you're born in poverty, that that's all you really know. We weren't super duper poor, but it was a four person household with a single mother and trying to take care of four kids - one who happens to be an adopted child into the family. So, it was really tough for us at times to make ends meet, you know? And so I think that at times in my life there have just been people to help support and show me that kind of love.
I think, like in any rocker's life, anybody who has a story to tell similar to mine, I think those people showed up. So that really embodied that for me in the song, those moments and like that freedom that you feel when you're alive in those situations.
I lived in a studio apartment, where it was me, this beautiful girl that I've known for awhile that just doesn't really want much from me. She just wants to hang and be a part of my life and just show me love and like that right there was, maybe for me, that was just a fire that I needed to keep going, man. So that freedom was ignited, I think, in "Supercharged."
Ayron Jones, "Supercharged"
When listening to music, you can get different interpretations. My first time listening to this song, I was thinking it was very much representative of your trajectory and how the audience discovers your music for the first time. Lines like "Everyone needs a spark" and "Light me up like I'm a star" feel like the excitement of the first time being turned on to a new artist. That said, how has it been over this past year to see the songs take off and know people are finding out who you are on a broader scale?
It's been interesting. I think that's hard because it's like typically in a time period like this when artists came out and their music was successful from the jump, you'd be out and see their faces touring and doing different stuff like that. It's almost felt virtual in a sense, right? Like I know this is happening around me. I know this is happening to me, but I don't quite realize. I don't know if I ever felt like I was in a place or in an environment where everyone knows my name yet.
To say the least, and it's been a very humbling time, and just to finally have made it to this point where my music can really reach as many ears as possible, that is something I've been dreaming of my whole life. So, I've taken that in stride and with a tremendous amount of happiness. But you know, as for conceiving what's going on, I think I'm still figuring that out every day, man.
The vulnerability of your voice, it just feels like you've left nothing on the table in the delivery. That's one of the things that connects listeners to the music. There's a whole history for you as an independent artist before getting to this album where you had a chance to hone your craft. Can you talk about the approach to finding your sound as an artist?
Yeah, my path was one forged out of just dedication and passion and will. I didn't always know if I wanted to be seen as a recording artist. I think there were times in my life where I could have just been the band member. I could have been the guy, the rhythm guitar player. I had an experience like that working with this group called Deep Cotton, who ran with Janelle Monae.
So I got a chance to go and tour alongside Janelle Monae and see her night after night. I think that was a big inspiration for the first few steps of me making it towards there. But I've taken all my experience basically, and I've tried to take it and put it in this record.
There are some cats who have the privilege of having parents who can put them in all the programs and gear them up with all the high level people to help them be successful. Then there are the other cats, kind of like me, on the other end of the spectrum, which is, I just played a show every single night I could. I played the bars and I played the clubs and I made mistakes and I learned. I just taught myself every step of the way.
Maybe it took me a little longer to really find out who I wanted to be but I think a lot of this record is really is just finding my sound for the first time and really defining who I want to be for the rest of the time.
Honestly, namely the guitar sound. The guitar sound was a big one for me. Before now a large reason that people knew who I was because of the live show. Our live show was always, always, always tip top, you know? We had perfected that almost. We knew every single night we stepped on the stage, it was gonna blow minds, but that didn't really mean a lot because I couldn't put that on the record yet. For me, this, this album was a culmination of all that experience I had had playing so many years together and being like, "What is it going to take?"
I leaned on a lot of the forefathers of Seattle music, man. I listened to Jimi Hendrix. I listened to bands like Nirvana. I listened to Chris Cornell sing, I listened to Mike McCready and started grabbing licks. I tried to reinvent some of the Hendrix-ion and Stevie Ray Vaughan licks and apply them to this heavy age of music. I studied hard and that's really how this album came to be for me, was taking all that experience, all the lessons learned, and both in just my own journeys, but also as a person who has been mentored by Seattle's rock and its leaders. It was just finally a time for that to come out on the record and to make it happen.
That's a long answer, but if I had to I'd say I'm like the Slumdog Millionaire of rock 'n' roll, man. It's like my time and all this experience came together to educate me enough to be here.
You named off a great group of names there of people that inspired your playing, performance and presentation. I wanted to ask about the best piece of advice you were given about songwriting along the way?
I would say that some of the best pieces of advice I was given was from Barrett Martin after working on my second indie record with him alongside Jack Endino, who is also another Seattle legend here. Having worked around those cats that's where a lot of the brunt of what I learned about being a songwriter came from.
Even going further back, you can even say Sir Mix-A-Lot was the first person that challenged me to really write a song. We were coming to him with my first few tracks and then we listened to them. He said, "You know, these are jams. That's cool. These are jams, but you're gonna learn how to write a song." So that was the first introduction.
But really when I met Barrett Martin, the cat who had been there in those rooms and had written and composed some of those songs that we all came to know from Screaming Trees and from Mad Season, I mean, that was the richest abundance of knowledge I could have ever received from any individual. When I was working with Barrett who's a drummer, first of all, so he rhythmically is already, that's where I think it started passing along how to arrange songs.
Maybe we take the four-part chorus here and we cut it into two on the first half, and then we will go four on the second half. I'm like, "What is that gonna do?" We listen to it, and it gives it his movement. It's beautiful." So a lot of the knowledge that I learned going into the game was really passed along from Barrett, and then it was reaffirmed when I got in the room with the cats who helped me write this record - Dave Bassett, Scott Stevens and Marti Frederiksen, Nathan Barlowe and Paul Meany - these guys having really become some hard-hitting writers in the industry now.
The album is Child of the State. And I saw on your socials, you made a shout out for National Foster Care Month as well. I wanted to give you an opportunity to speak about why this means so much to you and what it meant for you to have somebody to step up for you on your journey.
I think what it means to me is more than I can really express. I think for me, my aunt is, is without doubt that guide and my uncle, there for a time in my life when they divorced right before I got to middle school. But to have these two individuals in my life was so huge for me because if it wasn't for them, I would have been a statistic that we read about. So I think it's so important to foster care.
My aunt, the term for what happened with our situation is a guardianship, but it falls under the same category though. It's really important for people to realize that there are forgotten children all over the world. But especially here in the United States, which is supposed to be one of the most abundant countries in the world, if people just took the time to step back from themselves and try to put themselves in the position of a child who's in that kind of place, they can change the whole kid's life.
It doesn't even take a lot. It takes an ice cream cone and a bench. It takes throwing a ball in the park. It takes just a really cool story or a vacation. These little things really impact a kid's life.
The thing that changed your life was discovering the guitar. Can you take me through the early stages of your guitar playing? What was the first song that you wanted to play?
The first thing I want to do is do a solo [laughs]. But when I picked up my first electric guitar, the first thing I played by Lenny Kravitz, "Fly Away," I just fell in love with that song and it was huge at the time, I'm like 13 years old. I'm just going to back to 1999, 2000 with one of those Squire Stratocasters from Squire strap pack, where you get like the guitar and you get the little champ amp, and it's like both super beginner probably made out of plywood.
Is there a process that you go through playing solos and determining what each song needs on the guitar?
I just play it over and over again until It feels good. [laughs] That's it. I don't really think of solos in terms of like composition. Sure. I just get down and I play for the feels. And if there's a certain part that feels great, then I keep that part, keep working it out until I know exactly what I want it to sound like.
But I don't ever go into the studio to make the guitar solo sound like this. I've never written anything down on paper or thought of it that way. I think that's kind of what brings a little bit of that unique take on some of the stuff.
You mentioned the live show. How excited are you to bring this record to audiences in the live setting at this point? And any particular song that you really are looking forward to sharing in a live setting?
Yeah, I am super excited. I can't really put it in words how excited I am really, honestly, There's a lot of these really surreal moments happening right now. I didn't think that going out and playing a show would feel surreal, but it's happening.
I think "Take Me Away" is probably my favorite song to get to play. There's a live version and then there's the studio version, but the live version smacks. They both go hard, but there's something about the live version that brings a different element to the table. And it just makes you kind of love it further. "Take Me Away" is going to be the song I think it's going to explode people's minds.
Obviously it's kind of hard to plan things at this point, but what do the next six months of your life look like at this point?
I just want to get on the road, man. I think the next six months, really just trying to focus on how to get back on the road and, and getting to get live in front of the people. I think that's the biggest focus right now. I think that that is going to really bring it all together. That live shot for the next six months.
Hopefully we can keep putting out good music. I would love it also if some of the stuff gets picked up on other formats of music. I tried to put a bit of a crossover appeal into the music because I know that rock 'n' roll could really use fresh ears to come into it. And I feel like the best way to get those ears was to plant almost like Easter eggs that were attractive to people from different genres. I hope we kind of cross genres and we can pull people into rock 'n' roll that haven't listened to it consistently.
I can see the opportunity for crossover appeal.
I'm such an advocate and a lover of all these different genres. I knew I had an ability to cross platforms and to get to some ears that wouldn't want to listen to it. That comes from opening for all these different types of acts, knowing exactly what people are listening to. But to be able to go from playing this kind of punky, blues, walking rock thing to go and be able to play in front of a hip hop audience. I mean, that could be a death wish, [laughs] It really could. But it could be one of those things when you look back and you go, "Well I didn't get booed off the stage." They don't know where you're coming from, nor do they care, [laughs]
You mentioned playing for a Janelle Monae audience, but then you're also playing for all these rock audiences. Have you noticed different vibes, different reactions depending on the crowd you're playing to or is it somewhat similar regardless of the genre of the headliner?
You know, I would put it this way. The best way I think I've heard it put was from my bass player, Bob Lovelace, who says, "It's like every night we go into a basketball game and we've got to win the championship, you know?"
You're going to walk into every single day of the week. You can walk into a different city all over the country and you know, they all have different vibes and different feels, but there's something there. If you make yourself valuable and able, as Bruce Lee said, "He said be like water, because water can be this and water can become this. It can be anything." Water is able to change shape.
It's like if I walk into a room in Atlanta, Georgia but I'm a rock band, there's gotta be something that I know that everyone in this room is going to like lose their mind about. So if I, if I go from playing "Puget Sound" first and I start rocking you out and then "Take Me Away" or something, but then I stop and I play a cover of "Georgia on My Mind," cause from back in those blues days I played "Georgia on My Mind" a lot, and then here man, we got them.
But now it's translating to a bigger market and places where people have not showed up yet. It's been a humbling thing man, It's been a really good feeling affirming to this thing that I've been working on for so long, which is this classic art form of music that was going to bring in people from different walks of life.
Our thanks to Ayron Jones for the interview and the premiere of "Supercharged." His 'Child of the State' album arrives tomorrow (May 21) and is currently available to order right here. Keep up to date with Ayron via his website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify accounts.