(Original Photo By: Kaitlin Parry)
One of the great struggles of growing up is figuring out what exactly we want to do with our lives when we inevitably do “grow up.” However, very few of us will actually wind up being what we wanted to be when we grow up. Sometimes you make a better career choice later on in life. That’s what happened with Jack Aisher, better known as producer/musician, and sometimes DJ, jackLNDN. Hailing from the UK, but currently residing in Colorado, Jack is known for his sophisticated arrangements and adventurous live show. Growing up Jack wanted to be an actor…he did all the school plays, however, a trip to Ibiza completely changed the direction of his dreams.
“Starting off I thought I was going to be an actor of some sorts, even though I was doing music from a young age. I found a lot of fun in film, just mucking around and being allowed to be an idiot. I was the “class clown” type so acting was a good outlet, a bit more than music. Music was on the classical side and a lot more serious/proper when I was younger. I guess it flipped when I first left school. I went to Ibiza when I was 18 and saw Fatboy Slim at Space. This was my first proper clubbing experience, and yeah…it was crazy.”
After this Jack immersed himself into producing. Having a musical background helped, but he sought a music education at university in London. However, he found the classes to be more academic than practical, and Jack was hoping for hands on coursework. Any producer will tell you the only way to improve your skills is to practice. Jack dropped out and moved back home, but it wasn’t until he relocated to Colorado that things really took off. Jack says it doesn’t take much for him to be happy, just a few key things. We should all do our part to live as freely as Jack does.
“That was a real formative time for sure. I got really into producing while studying at university in London, and ended up dropping out of school because I was spending so much time producing. I was doing classical music there, and the classical music course was good to a degree, but it didn’t really fit. It was more academic than I had hoped versus creative. I tried to blend my coursework with my productions, but they weren’t really having it. That’s why I dropped out. It took a while for that decision to pay off. I moved home and worked in my parents’ garage while my friends were graduating. I don’t have a degree so people looked at me like ‘What are you doing?’
It’s hard to see through that sometimes, but I got there in the end, and eventually things really started picking up. I got a lot of bookings and came over to the U.S. for a tour, then moved here because I liked it so much. I sold all my belongings and moved out to the U.S., basically got it all into two suitcases. It’s nice, it’s cathartic to be free of a lot of possessions and really hone it down to just some clothes and a small vinyl collection.”
A lot of times we glamorize the life of a touring musician, but leave no doubt about it, it is hard work. You have to grind to be even moderately successful and of course stick out from the crowd. For Jack, it’s his live show that elevates him above many of his peers. And for Jack, he’s in the unique situation of preparing to go on tour with South African live-electronic duo, Goldfish, one of the original inspirations for his live act. Jack says one of his major fears is his live show not being up to high standards. Jack had to deal with that firsthand, or one-handed if you will, when he broke his elbow in a longboarding accident the day before his debut live show.
“I guess you could say I was a bit of a fool the very first live show I ever did. The day before, I decided to longboard down this mountain…yeah, so I ended up breaking my elbow. This transition from DJing to my live performance was about to come to its climax after I’d been working on it for 8-9 months. Emotionally it was a huge thing I’d been building up to…and I was very bummed. I thought it was a sprain so I carried on longboarding, but when I went home that night, I really noticed the pain. In the morning my friend took me to the hospital. I hadn’t slept and I was just sitting there in pain. I went there, turns out it was broken all the way through. I was so disappointed…ended up playing the show one-handed, looking back I don’t know how I got through that.”
Having learned a valuable lesson, Jack now places a premium on hard work and preparation. Now a renowned live performer, he’s been hard at work and being diligent about preparations for his tour. Jack says one of the biggest challenges an artist faces is the discipline of being able to find the motivation to work each and every day. Being self-employed can be a great thing, but it’s easy enough to get complacent. That’s a challenge for everyone.
“The struggle is having the discipline to work when you’re working for yourself and there’s no one physically there to tell you to work, or make you feel guilty for not working. You have to find the passion within. I struggle with that sometimes – when I wake up and I just really don’t want to do anything and don’t feel any passion for producing. It’s fine to do nothing every once in awhile, but if these days when you’re happy with doing nothing start adding up, you’re going to have problems.”
I feel like this is one of those People magazine covers, but I’m here to tell you that world famous DJs are just like us, and they deal with many of the same problems. I’m talking about work-life balance, maintaining healthy relationships, and knowing when to let off the gas. When you’re passionate about what you do it can be easy to get caught in the fast lane. Sometimes you need to take a step back and breathe. As Jack has matured, those things have become clearer to him.
“I guess the thing that I struggle with is doing the hard work I need to do while also maintaining good, meaningful relationships with friends and family. Part of that is finding the right friends who understand when I need to cave and when I need to jump down a musical pit and not appear for a few days. They need to be cool with that. I don’t really do that as much these days because it’s super unhealthy to be disconnected from others. That’s something I got better and better at as well. When I do finish long studio sessions, I go out to the pub and have a conversation. That connection can get overlooked if you’re touring, running around, and meeting new people/places most days. When you do have the time at home to relax, please take advantage of it.”