Jack Crooks is a talented artist/producer from Footscray, Victoria, Australia whose DIY lo-fi Hip-Hop concept music video/performance “lo-fi luv” part 1 blew the whole DCWS team away. Directed by Matthew Dunford, the visuals focus on moving from bright, upbeat tracks, outfits and colour schemes into dark and somber tracks, outfits and colour schemes in order to represent a journey into the darker parts of one's soul and psyche. After watching “lo-fi luv” part 1, it was clear that we had to connect with Jack Crooks for an exclusive interview to pick his brain about his music, his creative process, find out whether his original artistic vision for “lo-fi luv” part 1 was fully conceptualized, and much more.
After reading our Q&A with Jack Crooks, do yourself a favor and follow him on social media and stay tuned for part 2, which we hope is dropping very soon!
You're not just a Hip-Hop artist but a writer and producer as well. What do you enjoy most about being a creator in general?
What I enjoy most about being a creative is the possibility for unmediated self expression and limitless growth. I truly believe we are at the start of a modern Renaissance of sorts, in which we have unparalleled (and increasing) access to information. To me, it seems that the time for specialists in solitary areas is dying, and the modern artist should look to become prolific in multiple fields within, and outside of the arts if they want to survive the information revolution.
Describe your creative process for us when it comes to developing new music.
My process varies depending on the kind of music I am creating. If I am creating loose, free-form tracks like those on 'lo fi luv', I will usually put on an instrumental with my phone on record, and freestyle without necessarily saying any words to create the rhythmic patterns and melodies. Once I am satisfied with the sound I have cultivated, I will go back through and fill in the lyrics after the fact. Usually I do not edit my lyrics, I try to keep exactly what I have written in the moment in order to capture the authentic, uncontrived nature of the process. My process varies, however, in different circumstances. If I am composing instrumentals, collaborating, or writing songs with more structure, my process tends to become more methodical. The challenge for me currently is combining these two processes, in order to capture the authentic nature of the creative moment in an organised and strategic way. This, I believe is how real hits are made, and in future will become my ultimate goal when for my process.
Congratulations on your incredible video/art piece "lo-fi luv" part 1. How did you and Matthew Dunford come together to create it and would you say that your artistic vision was fully conceptualized?
Thank you. We are very pleased with the result. This is really the first project I have created in which my vision prior has been actualized in the end. Matt and I used to work a retail job together and became friends quickly. Matt and I see eye to eye creatively on many things, I am captivated by his photographic work, he sees art everywhere in life, as do I. I wanted Matt specifically to film the video because of this, and also because I wanted to shoot it with a style more akin to a photoshoot than a professional film project. This allowed us to capture much more nuance in my movement, as we essentially developed a process in which we moved with each other, almost like a dance. This created a dynamic perspective, as if the viewer is following me around the room, which really helped capture the creative process in the moment. Much of the process was developed on the fly, with added input from our two other collaborators: Lauren Dell'Acriprete (makeup) and Chooka Young (lighting). The free-form collaboration we cultivated was exciting and risky, and I am stoked to perceive that we pulled off what we were aiming at.
What can you tell us about your upcoming debut album? Does it have a name yet or release date? Also, will there be any featured guests?
The album has neither a name or a release date as of yet, and I have only written 2 or 3 songs worth considering for it so far. I will be spending the first half of next year writing and the second half recording/producing it, aiming for it to be out around the end of 2019/beginning of 2020. The album will be the first project that I will be treating as a professional release. My first release, 'ETTA' (2017) was uni project and an EP that followed a similar recording/production/marketing process as I will follow with the album, however it was a very short work (5 tracks, 12 mins), and I was not necessarily happy with the work creatively.
For 'lo fi luv', I focused solely on the creative process, aiming to express and deliver creativity in raw form, to release with little to no warning for free on YouTube. This enabled me to free myself up and find myself as an artist without worrying about public perception. With the album, I will be combining these two processes to create a work that reflects the artistic authenticity of 'lo fi luv', combined with the production and marketing quality of 'ETTA'. There are many potential featured guests, however I will have to wait and see what will be appropriate depending on the tracks.
Tell us about your work on the debut EP for Folk artist Matt Lenehan.
I cannot reveal much information about Matt's project yet, as we are still in talks and have not yet started the production process. At this stage, however, it looks as if I will be serving as producer and recording/mixing engineer on the project, in which Matt is bringing together a band to play his songs. Matt is a wonderful singer/songwriter, regularly performing with his partner Lauren, who is a captivating blues singer. The duo recently performed at The Big Show!, a multi-arts event I put together in Melbourne with a bunch of friends at the start of December. The night was an overall success and we are excited to work together in the future.
How do artists get in touch if they are interested in working with you?
The best way to contact me is via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or through my Instagram (@jackcrooks1) and Facebook pages. I am always keen to collaborate with other exciting creatives, please join me on my journey :)