2020 was the year Jailbird Sage released two EPs, specifically the latest release, “just aidan“. That aforementioned EP was his first really strong sort of musical vision that he conceived and watched grow, and it came out, aesthetically, exactly the way Jailbird Sage intended, which blew his mind.
“Just the responses from people who listened, getting added to playlist rotation and having Eat This Music and other blogs cover my work as well in my first ‘real year’ of making the music I’ve always wanted to make was crazy, and I had a lot of fun,” Jailbird Sage expresses.
Eat This Music: Who was on your “Must Listen To” List at the start of 2020?
Jailbird Sage: I’ve been into Juice WRLD for a while now, it’s sort of a given in my genre of music that I’d listen to him, but his sudden passing in December last year really sent me on a nostalgia trip as I trekked back through all his old songs.
It’s really weird when an artist we love dies, we sort of mourn this person we’ve never met but we feel has had an impact on our lives, and the eery irony of some of his lyrics, hen you think about the circumstances of his death are crazy. Juice’s posthumous record that was released this year was also amazing, so I’ve been playing that all year as well, and he ended up being my 4th most played artists in 2020 as well.
Otherwise I’d say I was listening to a lot of different sort of hip-hop sounds, with Oliver Francis, Chillinit and Notorious B.I.G. getting pretty constant rotation on my playlists for the first few months of the year.
I also spent a lot of hours with the classics, like INXS.
Has that list changed in the previous 12 months?
All those names [above] have stayed on my most played, but I branched out a lot more with the connections I made with other artists, I pumped the shit outta this song ‘Drought’, by my engineer and sometimes-producer Drest, and my friends Nyne, Dexter Seamus and Frame have all dropped some awesome projects in 2020 so I’ve spent a lot more time tuning in to them.
This massive collective New Wave Infinity also dropped a mindblowing album that was really off my radar, and I’ve really been into that since it was released, and everybody even vaguely into rap music or just good local music should check out.
What type of new artists/bands have you discovered in 2020?
I try to spend as much time on the ‘discover’ page of Spotify as I can each week so I can constantly find lots of new artists and sounds that inspire me. I’ve found some cool new artists this year too, like this guy Quiet Frankie, another indie Aussie rapper with a more chilled out, autotuned-lofi vibe that I really like.
Other acts like Purity Ring, LORD$OFDOGTOWN, Webby, Reyko! (of New Wave Infinity), prettypathetic, Sulli, Friggy, Mali Jo$e and CD Rose, to name a few.
What were your guilty pleasure songs in 2020?
I don’t really have a lot of ‘guilty pleasure’ songs, as I don’t really carry any shame about what I listen to, I appreciate all styles and sounds from Backstreet Boys to Wu-Tang Clan, so I’m not really sure how to answer that.
I do feel a bit weird about streaming my own music, which I started doing quite a bit after ‘just aidan’ was released, but I figured I make the music for me, and the whole ethos of JailBird Sage is making the kind of music that I would enjoy listening to, and hopefully some other people enjoy it as well, so why the hell would I not play my own stuff.
So yeah, my guilty pleasure song of 2020 would honestly probably be any of the track in the EP. We worked really hard on that record and I’m proud of everyone who had a hand in it, it came out really smooth.
Which song, or songs, of yours in 2020 would you recommend and why?
I always recommend people start with my track ‘MOVING ON’, and then move on to my second EP ‘just aidan’, in it’s entirety. MOVING ON is a really cool track lyrically, and I’m proud of how successful it’s been for an unmixed song, it really sort of established my initial fanbase, and it’ll always be a favourite of mine.
The second EP though was really my first body of work I was really confident about and was able to sit back and be like ‘yeah this is good, I enjoy listening to this.’ I still like the debut EP, from which MOVING ON was featured, but I think as a whole the project is too rough around the edges to overly promote now that I’ve progressed so much in my as an artist, past that point. If you listen to both EP’s back-to-back you can hear how much I grew as an artist, and a songwriter, in less than a year, that is something I’m incredibly proud of.
My new single ‘17’, which features Dexter Seamus, is also pretty cool and is worth checking out as well, there’s a lot of layers and textural sounds that went into it, it’s sort of my own emo rap ‘SICKO MODE’, if you will, which people have seemed to enjoy so far.
What keeps you making music?
Collaboration is key. Working with likeminded people, and even just people who’s music I enjoy, despite stylistic or sonic differences, is what compels me to keep creating. Success is all relative to the audience, so I don’t try to make music ‘for the audience’ too much, but the feedback I get from fans and listeners does impact me and all the positive stuff adds to my drive to keep going. It’s also just something I’ve done for so long now, it’d be weird for me not to do it.