Gen Z: Jazz Pope

7 June 2017
Muddled up in a time where you physically and mentally feel out of place can be distorientating. Your soul yearns for a different time that you want to call your own, but you can only merely imagine how it would really be. Knowing within himself that he was born into the wrong era, Jazz Pope at Models 1 expresses ardently his cravings to be a part of the northern British music scene that dominated the 90s, which runs so vivdely throughout his heritage and upbringing. With a name like that, we'd be dissappointed if he wasn't connected to music somehow.

At 17 years old, Jazz has had his fair share of the city life, migrated to a seaside town and now resides in a quaint village - a place he doesn't plan on switching up any time soon. He's an open book, divulging personal chapters in his life that lead you to forget just how young he really is. Intricate understanding of the people that surround him and his nonchalent perspective on social expectations is something we could do with in this day in age. We ponder upon the pressures of social media and the connectivity it brings, and get his thoughts on the difference of growing up in the city versus a smaller town.

A life saturated in musical talent, Jazz is hungry for the future, itching to begin his time as a musician. From a young age the very essence of his being was translated into music, learning to love such a variety of musical talents that have shaped him to have a great apprecation for anything that produces a beat. Jazz describes everything with a fervent manner, lining up side by side a range of exciting dreams and prospects.

How would you describe the generation that you are growing up within?
Interesting, to start with. It’s different to how other generations have grown up with social media and all of that, there are more social pressures, but it’s not all negative. It’s pretty cool how technology is advancing. Personally, I would have rather have been a teenager in the 90s, just ‘cause I prefer the music back then with The Stone Roses and Oasis and all that - I love all that Manchester/Northern stuff. It’s where my heritage all is, most of my family are from up north. Yeah, I would have preferred to have grown up then, but I’m here, and I’m doing alright.

What are the challenges you guys face?
Social media holds a lot of expectations that sometimes don't necessarily need to be met, but kind of are forced onto us. We are forced into uploading pictures to Instagram and all that, a lot of people feel pressured into doing that. As a whole, I feel it’s better in terms racial abuse and feminism and all that, it seems to have all gotten a lot better than how it used to be.

What are the best things?
Going back to social media, everyone is better connected. I keep friends with all my mates in Brighton and London from when I was younger, and you wouldn’t be able to have that opportunity 20 years ago. Even my uncle lives Abu Dhabi, I couldn’t really have spoken to him 20 years ago, would have been near impossible.

You’ve hopped around a few different places, and now you’re in a small village. How do you think growing up in a city like London compares to growing up in a village like where you are now?
Where I live is so chilled out. I love coming to London, but I also love leaving it and relaxing down in the countryside. I reckon it would be too full on living in a city now, especially London - it’s so overpopulated and everyone is bloody angry all the time. In the countryside everyone’s lovely. I’m only a 50 minute train journey from London, so it’s not even too far out, and Brighton is 20 minutes away. I feel like I live in the perfect place. I will probably live here one day when I have kids and a wife, but I don’t really like how it is at the moment. There’s a lot of stuff happening here obviously, compared to Henfield, where there’s like a village hall meeting once a week.

How do you think living in Brighton affected your upbringing? Everyone I speak to about Brighton absolutely adores it.
Brighton is such a creative, buzzing place. It’s probably my favourite place in the world. Everyone there are artists and doing their own thing, it’s such a great place to grow up in for that reason alone. It’s one of the things that got me into my music, the whole Brighton scene. It’s just awesome, just where you want to be as an artist. It really pushed me into it. It’s a beautiful place, and in the summer it’s great as well - a bit like heaven on earth. In the winter it can be a bit of a bleak seaside town though. The nightlife is great though.

What are you passionate about?
Music. Full stop.

What do you play?
I play keyboard and piano in my band. There’s five of us, but that’s like all we do. It’s the only way you can make it in the industry, just work your fucking socks off. So many people think you can sit back and then it’ll all happen, but we’re emailing people every day when we aren’t writing music. We’re practicing getting tighter, I have such a passion. I know every bloody musician says that, but it’s just what I want to do.

When did you realise this was what you wanted?
I would say since I was a baby, but I just never knew being a musician was an actual job as such. I never said that I wanted to be a musician, because I thought that everyone would just laugh at me, so I used to say I wanted to be a car designer, but in the back of my head I was always saying that I just want to be in a band and play music. I kind of awkwardly said to my dad one day; ‘is being a musician a real job?’ and he just laughed and said; ‘yes, course it is’. Since then I just pushed myself and really just acing that.

When did you begin learning the piano/keyboard?
I first started when I was four years old, living in London. I learnt classical for about two years and I absolutely hated it, it was horrible. I quit and stopped for about five years, but then I started getting more piano lessons, playing around on the piano in my house. When I started to play again, I was still playing classical, but I asked my teacher if there was anything else I could do with it, and then we started with blues and jazz. I made a little band when I lived in Brighton, and ever since that I’ve just had an infinite love for it. It’s the best feeling, playing - you release all your emotions into it. Whether you’re angry, happy or sad - it is just the most tranquil thing to do.

Who are you?
I’m Jazz Pope, that’s a start. I don’t know, a creative, hardworking, musical geezer from the countryside.

How would you describe your current lifestyle?
I’m at music college studying music production. It’s great being a band, but getting the production skills branches out into so many different things. As well as the band stuff, I make acid house stuff, which is great fun. I never would have thought of myself doing it, ‘cause it’s not really my thing, but just learning the production for that is great. I had a year off after school doing modelling all the time, so I have another year left at college, but after that I am going to do a degree in music production and go into music for film and stuff like that, because I love all the orchestral stuff too. It’s very fun orchestrating and composing it, I love it. Where I am at the moment they do degrees as well, it’s absolutely incredible, such a thriving place to be.
My dad is a music video director, and have done videos for Bowie, Iggy Pop and The Cure - and he’s directing a video for us for one of our songs from the EP that we’re releasing soon. They do media and everything else at my college too and the courses can interlink. We’re getting the media department to get a team together, a whole crew, to make a video with us. It’s just one big creative bubble.

What’s your day to do routine?
Wake up, get out of bed… Beatles song… Drag a comb across my head… I don’t know I quite like sleep, I love sleep. My routine is a bit fucked, I’ll go to sleep at like 2am and get up at 11am which probably isn’t the healthiest - I need to move it back a few hours. I have college Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which I… attend, and then the rest of the time is doing music; recording, writing new songs and looking at how we can push ourselves further. In my spare time I’m just chilling out with my friends in Henfield, we play loads of cards. Almost every night. We play a game called shit head, which is… it’s going to take me hours to explain, but it’s called shit head, it’s a great game.

How do you want that to change in the next five to ten years?
That might be too far. In the next two years, I want to be touring with my band - that’s the plan. I want to kill it. I’ll wait until however long it takes. In 10 years where do I want to be? Sitting in my villa in Spain with a live jazz band in the corner and a bar maid giving me drinks, while I’m chilling out and looking at the view. That sounds nice, I want to do that.

As a generation, who do you think has great influence?
A lot of celebrities are very influential for my generation. It really depends what you’re into, I guess. If you’re into politics, you’d be influenced by loads of politicians, I guess? It will really depend on what you’re in to.

Who are yours?
Oh bloody hell. I love the Beatles, they’re just absolute legends. They aren’t of my time, but they influence me a lot in personality a little bit and music. As a whole, as I was saying earlier, the whole Manchester Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Oasis scene is probably very influential at this stage of my life. I love it, I don’t know, there’s just something about it that is so good. My northern heritage probably brings me back up to that too.

How do you think social media is affecting young people today?
The social pressures I mentioned earlier, mostly. It’s there for guys as well, I guess I don’t really think about it much, but you always see this stuff for girls with social pressures and how they look online. I personally don’t feel much of these at all - I’ll upload when I want to upload, and upload what the fuck I want. I don’t feel like I need to be someone else, but I think I’m quite lucky. I’ve got a fairly fun life, which I can post stuff about, but people who don’t want to seem as if they do and then it feels a bit fake. There’s a lot to cover with that subject, I could go on for ages.

I suppose being in a band though, social media is quite beneficial.
Oh yeah, it’s so good - such a good way to get yourself out there. It’s a great platform to get yourself out there to people who wouldn’t have seen you, especially at this stage of where we’re at.

Would you say that you were an emotional person?
Oh yeah, definitely, I show my emotions very strongly. I get it from my parents, they’re the exact same as me. I probably wouldn’t necessarily cry in front of a lot of people, I don’t feel like I cry very often, but when I do I probably would prefer to be by myself for that. Although I have a lot of good friends that I can talk to and be very open with about with all that kind of stuff, which is very nice. I don’t feel like I’m by myself, which a lot of people might sometimes feel like they don’t have someone to turn to, but I do, luckily.

How do you express your emotions? Would you say you had control over them?
I do and I don’t. I have a bit of anxiety, which is a bit shit, and when that comes it can be a bit hard to be in control of. Since I got it like six or seven months ago, I’ve just learnt to control it. I think it’s a thing that quite a lot of people get these days. I know loads of people who have anxiety or have had it. I had my first panic attack when I was on a train, and I basically just found it hard to get on trains for ages, which was pretty shit. But you can’t let it overtake your life, you just have to fight it. It’s like fight or flight kinda thing, you either run or fight it. Luckily I knew exactly what it was and I straight away tried to fight it quite fast. I’m kind of all right now, I know how to cope and deal with it.

How were you so aware of it during your first attack?
I don’t know, for the six months leading up to my panic attack, I was always feeling quite nauseous on trains and that, and I thought it were claustrophobia. Then I had my first panic attack when I was on the train and it was horrible. I felt like I couldn’t move, like I was going to throw up - that’s my anxiety, the fear of throwing up in front of everyone even though I have never done it during one of my attacks, it’s just a weird little fear. I rang up my dad when I started feeling a bit weird, and he talked me through it the whole time I was on the train. I got off and spoke to someone at the next stop who sat me down and got me some water and he thought I was tripping on drugs. When someone doesn’t believe you when you’re actually going through something so tough, it’s not nice, it wasn’t at all.

Are you spiritual or religious?
No, not at all, I don’t believe in it. I mean, I’d like to, I don’t want to offend anyone, but I simply don’t believe in it. The only spiritual or religious thing I could believe in would be the whole reincarnation thing. That to me seems like a plausible option when you die. I find it hard to believe that’s just it and you’re dead, but who knows.

It’s the final question, but I definitely think I know the answer - what is the dream?
To be the biggest rock ’n’ roll star that ever lived. I really don’t know, the dream is to really just to live off the music, so it's what I can do all the time.
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