We had the good fortune of connecting with Chase Jackson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chase, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Personally, I think that the most important factor behind my artistic and professional career has been curiosity and constant exploration. I’ve loved playing and making music for as long as I can remember, but for years I had anxiety about how to make this passion a career. Through always exploring new ideas and experimenting with developing new skills, my career as a musician expanded from a single role as an instrumentalist on a niche instrument to being a multi-faceted composer, producer, engineer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and educator. These skills didn’t all come easy but from constantly trying new things that I found interesting, I’ve been able to adopt those skills into my professional career.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
One thing that often comes up when I tell people about my music is that my first instrument is extremely unique. The vibraphone is a six foot long metal marimba style instrument played with four mallets, a sustain pedal and capable of percussive intensity of open etherial chords. Many people have heard it on recordings, particularly in jazz and classical music but very few are familiar with the instrument. Having played the vibes since I was a kid, I always had this unique sound and element to my musical identity but I also felt like the instrument was limiting at times because it’s so niche. In middle and high school I started experimenting on guitar, bass and piano as a way to expand my sonic universe. This spirit of exploration continued through high school and college where I was fortunate to be surrounded by great young musicians who encouraged a culture of original compositions and improvisation. These years of writing music to challenge myself and my friends as a student opened up my ears to new textures, cultures, grooves and emotions in music. As a professional, there was a harsh awaking that the real world isn’t as easy to make a living as a modern jazz vibraphonist/composer. At this point I also wanted to explore the possibilities of using the computer as a compositional and sound design tool. Though I never intended, now music software and production has led me to be a professional producer for popular music, electronic music and film scores. While I’ll always love performing and improvising, I love to see how the spirit of curiosity can lead to a multi-faceted career journey. Excited to see what’s next!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Great question! Here are some of my favorite places that I’d always recommend.
– Concert at The Blue Whale. Though it recently closed due to Covid restrictions, this was for years the most exciting and creative musical space in Los Angeles. Every night would feature world renown talent while also supporting young local musicians. I could never go there without running into numerous friends or seeing a legendary musician also enjoying the concert.
– Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains “Sandstone Peak” and more. Incredible hiking and views. Feels like you’re scouting locations for the next Jurassic Park movie.
– Grab a craft brew at Sunset Beer. Imagine walking in to a mini grocery store that only sells amazing beers & wines. You can also enjoy one right there in the accompanying bar/patio along with a game of Catan.
– Guistados. Amazing tacos throughout LA. You can’t go wrong.
– Ave 26th Tacos. Saturday nights, it’s a party. Tons of street stands with amazing food until at least midnight.
– Fathers Office & Plan Check Burgers. Both on the west side but worth the drive for a great burger and beer.
– Enya Sushi. Very unassuming but probably the best sushi I’ve had outside of Japan.
– Sunset Ramen. Great Ramen and low key vibes.
– “Dance Yourself Clean” at the Satellite. Dance Party with too many good times to remember.
– “Birdy’s” Downtown with amazing fried chicken sandwiches.
– Hikes in Altadena are great too. “La Tuna Canyon”
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As I’m now and educator, teaching both private students and and the college level, I’d like to shoutout all of the teachers that I’ve had in my life along this journey. From family friends who showed me how to keep time on a tambourine as a toddler, parents who influenced my thinking, friends who turned me on to new ideas, and educators who encouraged me to take it to the next level, I owe so much to the teachers through my life and hope to give back any way that I can!
Raffi Kevorkian Felix Salazar Daniel Levine