JailBird Sage is an artist who writes words for the sake of being heard. “I’m what the 1975 would sound like if Matty Healy rapped,” the artist from Melbourne tells Eat This Music,” [and] wrote songs with xxxtentacion.” JailBird Sage makes ambient hip-hop, just like his newest single ‘The Hills‘, but more on that release later.
“I’m pretty good, considering the current state of events,” JailBird Sage tell Eat This Music. In fact, the 17 year old artist is sitting on a lot of new material he has written since February. “I try to write everyday to improve my songwriting,” he explains “[and] that’s been a lot easier thanks to iso and stuff, so I’m prepared to pump out some more ideas in lockdown round 2 [laughs].”
JailBird Sage gets a rush from releasing music, which is no different upon the release of his latest single. “I’m always itching to put more out,” he continues in our chat about his new single, “so I get frustrated when I don’t meet the ridiculously ambitious deadlines I set myself.”
“I’m very ambitious in general and I’ve been known to write verses that are great on paper, but I have difficulty spitting the rhyme scheme properly ahah, my engineer can vouch for that.” — JailBird Sage on releasing new music.
“I don’t know, I just like the sense of self-validation I get from putting out something I’m proud of,” JailBird Sage continues, “[and] anyone can consume at their wish from then on, I feels good.” With that said, JailBird Sage always looked up to the likes of Drake as a role model in terms of how often he releases music, he’s sort of developed this reputation as ‘the hardest working man in music’, and more often than not his stuff is arguably great quality as well, so JailBird Sage has always wanted to be that kind of guy and artist.
Coming off the release of JailBird’s upcoming EP ‘just aidan‘, ‘THE HILLS’ sees Sage deal with themes of hating your hometown, and reflection, in terms of personal identity and experiences that help shape that, whether good or bad. “THE HILLS really brings all those themes to the table,” Sage explains on the aforementioned, “I think, and the nostalgic vibe of the production and vocal effects emphasises it, and gives it that regretful tone it has, which acts as a smooth transition in the EP from the more chilled out songs earlier in the tracklist to the darker ones as it progresses.” The area Sage lives in, while suburban and not that far out from the city, is pretty hilly and used to be 50% farmland when his parents were born, so this song is sort of a shoutout to his hometown – a similar theme used in the release of fellow artist Drest‘s single back in May.
“It was pretty organic really,” Sage reveals on the creative process of the single. “I was talking with my engineer, Drest (who is also a great upcoming artists), about maybe starting a project, around 5 tracks long, and what vibe I wanted it to have.” With that, Drest just mixed a song produced by Capsctrl (a lofi producer who’s done some stuff with Powfu and a friend of Sage’s called LxneDxvah), which ended being the first track on Sage’s EP. “[So] he knew what my sound was like”, Sage reveals, “[and] where I wanted to go, so he produced the beat to what became ‘THE HILLS’, and here we are.”
“I love everything Drest does, his music is great and we have a lot of similar influences and taste in music, so everything we work on comes out pretty cohesive, which is great.” — JailBird Sage on working with Drest.
“I also just really love his last mixtape, ‘Still A Kid’,” Sage continues on his respect for Drest, “which had some influence on my lyrics in the EP.” For ‘THE HILLS’ though, Sage wrote the lyrics pretty quick once the beat was done on the product side, and even sneaked in a subtle nod to Drest himself in the second verse.
JailBird Sage likes to keep his music as honest and down to earth to his own experiences as possible, which isn’t always the bestm because people he knows sometimes misinterpret his lyrics to be about them or think he has painted them in a negative light. “I don’t really have any ‘happy’ songs out, as such,” he confesses to Eat This Music, “so that my songs have been known to create tension in my relationships with various people, so I try to write about aspects of a few different people when I do reference people I know or whatever, so it’s not anything personal, and I still write about what I want to.” Writing is essentially Sage’s way of dealing with negative emotions and experiences, and it is the core of his sound so he will likely always do that, and he also has a lot of people direct messaging him saying they can relate to his lyrics or the themes he writes about, so his music does do some good!
“So yeah, it’s a very personal song in that aspect,” Sage continues about why he wanted to release the single, “my own life is played out a lot throughout the whole EP.” Although, the EP doesn’t have a storyline to it, per se, but the EP does convey snippets of Sage’s life and who he is as an artist.
JailBird Sage never really set out to make anything for success or anything of the sort, “it’s not like I sat down and was like ‘ok time to make a single’,” he expresses to Eat This Music, “I just write and then I kinda pull out tracks when they’re ready.” In fact, Sage nearly didn’t release the single at all, he wanted all the music to be fresh when the EP comes out, but he has kind of been dragging on the whole ‘his EP is nearly done!’ thing on his socials, so he decided that he needed to put something out. “[and] ya know, putting out a single before releasing a project is usually what music people do I guess, so I thought maybe I’d try it.”
“I have way too many unreleased songs ready to go,” JailBird Sage reveals to Eat This Music on what he has coming up next, “so I think the plan post-EP is to work through some of those with Drest, and then maybe drop a single every month for a bit, while possibly starting to gather ideas on the next EP.” JailBird Sage has been thinking about doing a mixtape with his producer friend Adeline for about four years, and in fact, JailBird featured on one of her singles this year, which you can listen to above.
“[So] I think we might finally start working on that, and hopefully more people will reach out to collaborate, I’d love to do some stuff on other peoples tracks, it’s not something I’ve done a lot of.” And finally, JailBird Sage has a long list of different artists and producers he would like to work with, so he is going to work through that next year, so get keen!