Producer and composer J2 has developed a reputation as one of the most talented and well-respected producers in the game. Working with internationally recognized names such as Shakira and obtaining the music feature in trailers for Blockbuster hits such as Django Unchained and Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1, J2 recently dropped his new album Synth Wave Part 1. An ode to his passion for the genre, Synth Wave Part 1 is a hypnotizing odyssey into the world of dark and edgy electronica, powerfully complemented by catchy pop melodies and mesmerizing vocals.
We recently had the chance to catch up with J2. Check out the interview below to learn more about the release of his new album, his career in the music industry and trailer game, future plans, and more.
Listen to J2 Synth Wave Part 1 here.
Why did you choose to break into the music industry?
It’s been a passion of mine ever since I was a little kid and it’s also been in my family for generations. My father was a singer and my grandfather and great grandfather were both famous tabla players. My mother always used to say to me its in your blood. I developed a passion for electronic music in college and wanted to be a DJ.
Why the move from London to the USA?
When I started to produce my music people would say it had more of a World sensibility. I always felt like America was the land of opportunities with the film and music industry. I felt like if I was going to make it in the music industry, I had to come to America.
Your new album is called Synth Wave Part 1. Can you please explain your relationship with the synth-wave genre?
I’ve always been passionate about new wave and 80s music. The possibility of experimenting with new sounds and mixing genres has always intrigued me. As I started working more in the film, TV and trailer world, I had a strong desire to create a synth-wave style album mixed with classical music. Synth Wave Part 1 and Part 2 are a reflection of this work – I worked on this album for more than a year. Synth Wave Part 1, I made synth-wave versions of pieces like Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” and Bach’s “Ave Maria.”
So that means that you’re also working on Synth Wave Part 2 then?
I actually wrote both parts as one album but because it was so long I had to split it into two albums. Synth Wave Part 1 will be dropping at the top of 2020.
How did you get into the trailer game?
A trailer music company happened to move next door to my studio. They overheard my music and invited me into their world to do some remixes. We collaborated on a few pieces together and through this, I just became fascinated with the formula and structures that are involved in creating music for trailers. One of the remixes I worked on was Johnny Cash’s “Ain’t No Grave,” which ended up being the main trailer in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django,” which won the Oscar that year. That was a major game-changer for me. After that, the work came pouring in.
What are your favorite licensing placements to date?
It’s always a hard question to answer because all of my placements to date are my favorite. Even just getting a placement is always a big accomplishment and blessing as I know the amount of work that goes into making this happen. A big one for me was when I got one of the key trailers for “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1.”
You previously worked with artists such as LL Cool J, Beyonce, and Shakira. What has this experience been like?
It’s been a humbling and blessed experience getting to work with such amazing talent. The big game-changer for me in the pop world was when I got the opportunity to work with Shakira in 2014 to produce her single "Dare La La La." It ended up being one of the biggest records in the world and hit a lot of top ten lists that year. A secondary version of the song, "’La La La” Brazil," was created for that year’s FIFA World Cup.
Your nickname in the industry is The King of Reimaginations. How did you receive this nickname and what is its significance?
Back in 2014, I created a brand called "The Iconic Series." which are unique renditions and epic productions of modern songs. I teamed up with various music publishers and worked with their catalog of most iconic songs, which I reworked in a cool and dark way. I’ve branded over 100 plus placements for all of the major TV networks, movie studios, video games companies, and now branching more into the advertising space as well.
Your song “New Divide” was featured on the main trailer for 2019’s “Alita: Battle Angel,” which hit #1 at the box office earlier this year and grossed hundreds grossing of millions of dollars worldwide. What has receiving this type of attention and this particular accolade been like for you?
This really helped me branch out and reach a whole new fan base for my music bringing more opportunities. We’ve almost passed one million streams on this song.
Any big plans for the future?
I have a number of new projects and albums I’m working on. I’m focusing on building myself more as an artist and my fan base. I realize that there is a huge market for my style of music globally. My music has been shared across the world and I feel fortunate that my music has received hundreds of millions of streams on YouTube. I feel like more and more people are hitting me up asking to share my music and work together so I’m focusing on building my brand. Thank you for the support in listening to my music – I feel blessed to be doing what I do.