How JAWNY created a series of one-take videos that center on love and heartbreak
Indie-pop sensation JAWNY has made a name for himself by penning catchy songs that reflect his down-to-earth yet playfully eccentric personality. Since scoring a deal with Interscope Records in 2020, JAWNY has not only completed several headlining tours but has also opened for major acts including Oliver Tree and Beck. JAWNY has continued to release a steady stream of highly successful EPs, including For Abby in 2020, as well as several impactful singles such as “strawberry chainsaw,” “adios” and “wide eyed,” the latter of which recently dropped and continues to build upon an overarching story arc that he has been meticulously developing over the years. JAWNY has created a central narrative throughout his latest music videos, which are exemplified beautifully in the action-packed, cinematic one-take shots in both “adios” and “wide eyed.” 2023 will undoubtedly be a busy year for JAWNY, as he's set to embark on yet another headlining tour with support from bedroom-pop newcomer Wallice, which kicks off in February.
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In an interview with AP, JAWNY breaks down the story behind the creation of “wide eyed,” his narrative-driven music videos, touring with Wallice next year and the potential for him to release a larger body of work sometime in the new year.
With “wide eyed,” it feels like you were able to make every part of the song feel like its own hook. What was the process like putting together this song?
When I first moved to LA, the blinders were taken off of me, and I began discovering the songwriter scene and this “secret society” I never knew about since I didn’t grow up in a major city. I learned that writing a pop song is beautiful — it’s like a science. I was [recording] at Gold Diggers Studio in LA and knew in my story arc that I needed to have a story like this, and I just wanted to make an indie version of something the Killers might do. It came together naturally. I made something I liked and chased an idea that excited me.
The music video for “wide eyed” picks up where the narrative left off with your previous video for “adios.” What was it like developing this narrative and forming the visuals around the music itself?
When I knew I was going to be releasing three singles this year, I had the idea with my creative director and saw that within my scene or ecosystem, we have never seen a continuation piece [in music videos] before where you go from a one-take video to another one-take video across two different set scenes. The videos have been pretty wild and crazy — we even had the stunt coordinator from Fast & Furious drive me around in the car doing crazy stuff. We then shut down the whole street to do the “wide eyed” video. It’s been a really cool way to do a bunch of wild ideas that have nothing to do with the song’s lyrics or narratives, and when you listen to the songs together, they all tell this story of love and heartbreak, while the videos are their own separate stories. We achieved exactly what we set out to do.
Next year you're set to embark on a headlining tour with Wallice. Why did you decide to put together this touring package, and what are you looking forward to the most about these upcoming shows?
For every headlining tour I have ever done, I never let my booking agents pick the openers. I always try to curate the show with people who are genuinely my friends or people I listen to myself. I have been super infatuated with Wallice’s music for the past two years or so, and I love the songs that she has written and put out. I love the universe that she is building, and I thought that bringing a strong, awesome artist who makes music would be a great way to open up the show. With this tour, we get to go through more nooks and crannies that I haven't gotten to play before, and it’s the biggest headliner tour I have done myself. It feels good to be at this point now. It’s wild, and it’s this intimidating thing, but I’m ready to slay it.
After opening for major acts such as Oliver Tree and Beck, did you gain any wisdom from these artists that you've taken with you into your own project?
With Oliver Tree, I took the most from our tour together. He really cared about every single show and treated every single one like it was his last and gave it his all. I really admired that even at that level, he still gave it his all every night and never anything less — so that was a great thing to take away. Touring with a legend like Beck and seeing how much he cares about how his set is perceived by the audience is really important. You go around good people who are doing the same thing as you, but just a little further ahead, and then try to look at that next goalpost that you are trying to get to. I’m really here thanks to thousands of people's wisdom on touring and songwriting.
You have released a steady stream of successful singles and EPs. Do you have any intention of one day putting out a larger body of work?
I’m a big fan of putting together bodies of work, and in 2020, I put out my first concept piece called For Abby. I strung together a story from start to finish, and last year, I ended up putting out another concept EP in the same way but in a different genre. After listening to these new singles and knowing what else I have in the tank, it does seem like I’m leaning toward putting another thing together and wrapping it up with a nice little bow. I’m hoping that maybe by the new year, it might all be done, and I’ll be able to step back and look at this cool painting that I made. I’m in the middle of doing brush strokes with this thing and figuring out what it’s going to be.