JJ Braves is an exciting upcoming writer, singer, musician and producer from Los Angeles. His songs provide a feeling of rock nostalgia combined with a crisp modern production style, using heavily layered synths, guitars and drums to provide a fresh yet undoubtedly familiar backdrop for powerful lyrics and inspired vocal performances. His songs vary in style but are undoubtedly all the work of an artist who remains true to his influences from the 80's through the mid to late 2000's. Whether you're a fan of the old rock hits or on the prowl for a new vibe, JJ Braves is sure to have something that will grab your attention! Keep your ear to the ground for new releases from JJ throughout the rest of the year.
How has the New Year been for you so far as an artist?
Artistically the new year has been exciting and full of forward momentum that I’m trying to carry into the summer. I feel like I’m writing some of the best songs I’ve made to date, and a lot of that is thanks to signing with my new label, Boleyn Records. We make a great team and have gotten so much done since 2022 has rolled around. They help keep me motivated and excited to continue creating the best content I can.
Can you tell us how you've transformed from the beginning to now as an artist?
I started JJ Braves about 6 years ago and it has been a WILD journey of growth through a lot of trial and error. I feel like I found the truest version of my sound about 3 years ago and I’ve been slooooowly releasing material since that time. I’ve only put out one single a year since 2019, but my collaboration with the label has helped me fast track new music. I feel very confident in what I’m making at this point because I’ve managed to distill my art to represent my truest influences without compromise. What I’m making now feels very authentic and organic and I’m totally unafraid to do my own thing.
How did you come up with your latest project?
Well, I almost always write my music and melodies before putting lyrics to a song. My latest release “Starrdust” followed this same pattern. I sat down with an empty session on my computer and started recording and programming parts until I had a full song that left me excited and satisfied. The feeling of the finished track made me want to write something deep and thought provoking, and from there the process of finishing the song was very natural and cathartic. I love working this way because I feel like the music contains a message that I can explore and put into words. Every song is an adventure and it’s so fun to just follow the creative flow and see where the experience takes me.
Where are you from originally?
I was born in Southern California but spent my childhood in a lake town in Minnesota.
Where do you live now?
I moved back to Southern California in the 7th grade and have been here ever since.
Do you think where you live impacts how your music is made?
Absolutely! When I lived in Minnesota I felt so inspired by the changing seasons. One of my favorite memories is playing piano while watching the snowfall and daydreaming about people hearing my music so they can feel what I feel. When I moved back to California I developed a deep connection with the power and seemingly endless scale of the ocean. The places I’ve lived have helped me learn that music can be silent for one moment and roar in the next; it can cause a person to turn inward and explode with energy all at the same time. Art is the manifestation of the internal self that is unavoidably influenced by our observations and interactions with the world around us. I’d be curious to meet anyone who doesn’t feel that they’ve been significantly impacted by the places they’ve lived.
What was the inspiration to make music your career?
Oh man… Ok I think I can distill it to three moments. I was in a Christmas special at my church when I was probably 7 years old and I got to sing a solo to a full auditorium. I remember being nervous because it was the first time I’d ever been on a stage but when it was time for my song the notes came effortlessly from my mouth. When it was over I remember how satisfied I felt and knew that I wanted to have that experience again. The second moment was when I sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the TV watching my dad’s DVD of Queen's 1986 performance at Wembley Stadium. I don’t think I need to say much about that show because if you’ve seen it, you probably understand why a 10 year-old with an interest in singing and performing would be glued to the screen. Freddie walked onstage in a royal cape and crown at the end of the concert. Enough said. Lastly, my experiences playing with my first few bands in high school pretty much locked it all in. Every other option of what I wanted to do with my life more or less disappeared and I’ve been winding my way toward being a professional music creator and performance artist ever since.
How do you want to shape your career?
Honestly I’d just like to be able to pay my bills creating and playing my music for the people who want to hear it. If that’s the furthest my career goes then I’d be thankful and satisfied. But I really believe in what I’m creating right now and I think I have the potential to connect with a lot of people with my passion for music. I’m starting small but dreaming big, and I can state with absolute certainty that I’ll never stop creating and sharing my music, regardless of how much it pays or who’s listening.
Do you work on a tight timeline always or do you go with the flow when it comes to your music?
Honestly it’s a bit of both. I find that it’s really helpful to set deadlines for myself to work hard and stay motivated, though I have a tendency to be over-ambitious with how much I can get done in a certain amount of time. Sometimes life happens and my head can get scrambled, bringing my work to a standstill. It can take a while for me to come around but regardless of how long a project takes I’m almost always satisfied with the final product and feel it’s been worth the wait. It’s awesome when the flow just happens but really it’s more of a rare occasion for me that a project comes together all at once.
How did your latest title of your music come to be?
My latest release “Starrdust” is named for a friend who was there for me during a really hard time in my life. I promised them several years ago that I’d use this specific title for a song, without knowing what the song would be. I’m so happy to have finally created and released it for the world to hear.
Is it hard to let go of the music when it is done?
No way, haha. When the music is done it’s not mine anymore. It belongs to anyone and everyone. I don’t generally listen to my songs after I approve the mix and master and submit it for distribution. I’m usually content to turn my sights toward a new project and make that the focus of my excitement and attention. It’s occasionally helpful for me to listen to my finished work to remind myself of what I’ve accomplished and to help me decide my creative trajectory. It can be like transitioning to a new chapter of a continuing story or building a bridge between where I’ve been and where I’d like to go next.
Do you feel an emotional attachment with your music?
At the risk of sounding like a douchebag, I can say that I love what I create and I generally think it’s the best music in the world. What I mean is that my sounds are the sounds my heart wants to hear but nobody else is making. My music props me up and makes me feel strong and proud of who I am and what I do. I don’t think I’m the best musician or the most talented writer or producer in the world, but I love the sound of my own voice and the music that goes with it. When I write songs I’m creating something that I hope I’ll love and want to perform for the rest of my life. There are a lot of exceptions to this when it comes to old works, but those tend to be ones where I can tell that I was still finding my way to where I wanted to be. However during this creative season I’m so proud of what I’m making and I can’t wait to get out there and stuff it in peoples’ ear holes.
How would you describe your music in one word to someone who hasn't listened to it yet?
Where do they go to listen NOW?
You can check out my Linktree to find my latest releases at https://linktr.ee/jj braves official
What has been the best fan reaction to your music?
There hasn’t been a single “best reaction” but my friends and collaborators have been so encouraging and supportive that I could shit. Any time somebody tells me “Man, you did it again!” it gasses me up and rockets me forward. I love and appreciate so many people that have helped me get to this point. If you read this I’m sure you know who you are, and if we’ve fallen out of touch please know I haven’t forgotten the part you've played in my life and how much you mean to me.
Is there anything exciting coming up for you?
I’m currently working on an EP that has been an absolute adventure so far and will release some time this summer. I’m also currently putting together my band so we can bring these songs to the stage and really see how bright we can make them shine.
Are you performing the song anywhere LIVE?
Give us all your socials and links so fans can link up with you! Thank you for this interview!