Portico Quartet, Lara Jones,Erik Truffaz
Portico Quartet, Lara Jones,Erik Truffaz

Q&A with sonically untamed jazz musician Lara Jones

Image credit: Jess Rose

Listen to ‘Upside Down’ on XPERIMENT_GROUND.fm

Not your typical jazz composer, saxophonist Lara Jones incorporates darker tones and pounding bass textures into her latest EP Flow. The music producer also forms part of the avant-garde trio J Frisco when she is not focused on her solo efforts. Releasing music independently, Lara has received acclaim from the likes of BBC 6 music, BBC Radio 3 Freeness and in Jazzwise Magazine. Flow is a vivid ambient work that morphs into edgier and untamed electronic fusions. The result is satisfying for first-time listeners as you see how the tracks progress unexpectedly with finesse. We asked Lara Jones a few questions about her artistry below.

If someone has never heard your music, which keywords would you personally use to describe your overall sound and style?

Experimental / electronic.

Tell us about yourself. How did you get into music?

I started playing piano as a kid and kinda just knew I wanted to make music forever. I studied jazz saxophone at Leeds College of Music and from there I got into improvisation and experimenting with electronics.

When you compose and produce tracks, do you make music for yourself or do you make it with others in mind?

I don’t really think too hard about it, I just write what flows. I tend to start from a place of improvisation usually on the sax or piano and then chop it up, take the best bits, edit, sample it, etc. until I’ve got what I want before I tackle the mix. But in terms of what I’m actually creating, it just kinda happens before I’ve thought much about it.

Comfort the disturbed or disturb the comfortable – what is your aim with your music?

Hmm, that’s a tricky one. I think it depends on who I’m playing with, the venue, the audience, etc. At the moment I want the audience to feel the bass and overwhelm them.

Has your arsenal of equipment changed much since you first started?

Not hugely if I’m honest… Equipment is expensive! I mostly work with Abelton and my amazing  Oldroyd-Walker Lineage soprano saxophone.

Three favorite tracks of all time?

‘River’ by Joni Mitchell, this song rings around my childhood. Beyond that I’m just not sure I can choose, there is too much to love and hear. 

What inspires you outside of music?

Travel, water, my wife and our little boy.

What is the best or strangest reaction you’ve had to your music this far?

Is it jazz?

Do you consider the Internet and social media as fundamental in building a career in music today, and what is your personal relationship with the new technology at hand?

I think everyone needs to find their own way with it., It can feel overwhelming and pressurizing, so it’s important to find ways to use it that are fun and mindful for the creator as well as the user. I’m kinda cool with using it, I think it has its flaws but it’s a way of getting your stuff out there and building a following. I kind of enjoy the process of sharing what I’m up to, where I’m at, what I’m making, who I’m with, etc. It feels part of it…

What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or releases in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?

I’ve recently released my EP Flow and I’ve got my next EP in its final stages – ready to share too! 

Aside from that, I’ve worked on this ace commission through Jerwood Arts, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, and Manchester Jazz Festival where I’ve built an audiovisual Geodesic dome that will be installed in a UK train station in May 2022 as an immersive installation experience! Keep checking on my socials for more details on this one.

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