x-working: When did you start playing music and how did you get to it?
Jahcoustix: I have trolled a bit in the school choir as a child. This was the first approach, which was also something that came from the parental home. My father earlier sang in the Dresdner Kreuzchor (laughs). Although this is a bit another style, but that is why we already were such a musical family. When I lived in Kenya, there was a company called "Make your Music". From there, the school band originated. This way I actually arrived at music. I then started to play guitar, to sing, and then really noticed what gives me music. In all respects. That made me very happy. I immediately started to compose my own songs. This dream relatively quickly defined that I will perhaps do this someday professionally.
x-working: What does your artist name Jahcoustix?
Jahcoustix: In Reggae jargon, "Jah" is a generic term for spirituality. I definitely consider myself as a spiritual man. Always with a bird's eye view. That was always the spirituality transported via the texts in combination with the style in which I compose my songs and my music - namely using the acoustic guitar. Therefore, this name Jahcoustix arose. Although I must say, this is not really a name, but it is rather a mood, a frequency.
x-working: Please describe your music and the topics your lyrics refer to.
Jahcoustix: The music I produce and the people I know are mainly reggae. So just as one imagines reggae and the way you have just listened to it today. I grew up in many different countries due to the job of my father and got very deep insights into different cultures, which of course I can consider as a huge gift looking back. Therefore, there are actually experiences that I have made myself. Moreover, it is about a lot of social criticism, so how I perceive the world. I am very interested in politics, so that again naturally flows into it. Of course, emotions, love, own experiences are also covered. I try to position myself relatively broad. I write everything down that comes to mind. So, when I realize: This is a song I feel ... I'll record it and put it on a record.
x-working: You have seen a lot in your life - Mexico, Liberia, New York, Kenya, Jamaica, Egypt - now you live in Germany. Why did you choose Germany?
Jahcoustix: Due to the job of my father, I moved every three years. I lived in Africa for 14 years, and then there was New York in the meantime, as you already mentioned. I then returned to Germany at the age of 19, moving the first time to Munich, because there parts of the family live. I then did an education in Munich. There, I also started my musical path and moved to Berlin one and a half years ago. However, I had already been there from time to time. Some time later, due to personal circumstances, I decided to move to Berlin. Now I am here and I keep doing my own thing! (laughs)
x-working: How did the various residences influence your music?
Jahcoustix: Just before I left Kenya, I started to make music. Then I was in Egypt for two years where I passed my A levels. Then I arrived in Germany. That was of course a lot looking back, if I have time to review my life, I partly had to process my childhood. I mentioned this before, the countries were so different in its cultures with which I dealt with, and the languages that I learned that all together somehow left its marks as a multi-cultural potpourri in the end. Everyone has one´s own identity as an individual, one considers the world naturally individually based on one´s own experiences. Based on that you start to form your own opinions about things you read or hear. Therefore, I would say that I always try to keep my music value-free and to write the lyrics this way, it is more metaphorical. That people just identify her or his own life in it. Just as is the same with art and images. An artist, who paints a picture may interpret the image completely different opposed to someone else. Moreover, I think there always must be people´s freedom in watching art, otherwise art transforms to a dictatorship and that is exactly the opposite of what we want (laughs).
x-working: On June 3rd, 2016, your new solo album "Seriously Positive" was released. What can you tell me about it?
Jahcoustix: This has become a flawless roots reggae record, where we tried to interlace a bit of the old-school reggae. So to say, the reggae from the 70s, everything a bit analogous, vintage, all recorded live, not so much programmed and edited. We actually kept it relatively free, all the music! And yes, it was a very nice experience, because the record somehow emerged on its own. At some point, there always appear hurdles in such an album production, where it sometimes becomes a bit stagnant. In this case, it was anything but relaxed and it really flew. This is always a good sign for a release. People who listen to the record will definitely identify roots reggae. Regarding the content, it appears as I have just explained: Many own reflections on personal experiences. Nevertheless, it also refers to the current political situation of the past three to four years. Of course, the new release also covers these issues more intensively.
x-working: Are there any plans for further collaborations with other combos like the "Outside Players" after your solo record?
Jahcoustix: I actually plan relatively little. This always results somehow. It all depends on who one meets. The Ousideplayer´s plate also arose by chance on a tour where we started to jam during an afternoon. We then started to record it and said: "Come on, that's a nice idea so, let us work it out." Thus, I am always very open. There will surely result collaborations. I worked together with Uwe Banton on my new album, which is a German reggae artist, and with Midnite, a Jamaican reggae artist, and yes, so I am always open to it! Let´s see what the future will bring us.
x-working: Where will your next tour lead you?
Jahcoustix: Right now, I tour across Europe. On summer festivals. For example, on the Reggae Jam in Germany, which is actually one of the best-known reggae festivals. Then I am in Austria on the One Drop Festival, in Poland to play at the Woodstock Festival, and then we are in Portugal on the Musa Festival. Here and there, I would say! Then I will be on tour for the new release in autumn. This will primarily happen across Germany, Austria and Switzerland and then we will see what comes. You never know what will happen with such a record when it is out. It could be the case that some discovers it in France who says: "Hey cool, let´s bring him over!"
Jahcoustix believes that the good as well as the evil is in ourselves. Earlier as a child, he wanted to become a soccer player. Soccer was his passion in childhood. Today, his favourite activities are traveling, meeting people and further education. Beeing asked what his contribution is to make the world a little better, he replied: "Taking myself not that important. Even what I think, what is right and what is true. Moreover, not to expect this from other people in the end, but actually having relatively little expectations in the things that happen to me and that I approach. Being positive and to be “Seriously Positive” over these times. “Seriously Positive” - the album title.
© 2016 – x-working