We had the good fortune of connecting with Esjay Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Esjay, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk-taking is as a positive and necessary process for my personality type – I am intrigued and driven by “what if’s” and work much better under pressure. Being consistent, resilient and taking risks has taught me how to let the small things slide and how to overcome challenges.
The first big risk I took was self-financing a USA tour with my South African based band, Stealing Love Jones. That tour was not successful from a business perspective and from it, I learnt humility, the importance of marketing & strategy and how to bounce back from failure!
That failed tour, fueled my fire and desire to be “successful in America” and ultimately set me on the path to obtaining my O1 visa and opening the door for my music career in the States.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’ve been full time in the music industry for over 20 years. After immigrating to the USA in 2009, I organically transitioned into the producer and songwriter role and have had the opportunity to work alongside some of the biggest pop and rock producers and artists in the industry. Performing has always been at my core and even though I had been focusing on production, I’ve continued to have a strong connection to my own creativity as an artist.
I am most excited about my new project (We Are) PIGS. It’s a numetal trap hybrid with brutal riffs, brazen screams and etherial melodies. I launched this project during the pandemic : it’s concept project and concept album with collaborations from Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins), Morgan Lander (Kittie), Brian “Head” Welch (Korn, Love and Death) and a few more artists which have been a great influence on me.
This project was born out of the ashes of sitting idly by for years. I got tired of watching labels / A&R’s / business people tell artist how they should be making their art, or that they are too old OR too young or too fat or too thin… that has not sat right with me, but I’ve never said anything out of fear of retribution.
So, here we are… (We Are) PIGS is a sort of cleansing or purging of those feelings. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but this project and these songs feel right in my gut and that’s all that’s important to me. I really don’t care if someone with A&R on their business card likes it or not. This project is for us!
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?
Well, I now live in Yucca Valley which is right near Joshua Tree… so they are in for a treat!
First, we would probably rig up the airstream ( https://www.outdoorsy.com/rv-rental/yucca-valley_ca_united-states/2017_airstream_international_52439-listing ) and head out into the Joshua Tree National park to “camp” for 2 nights. The park is packed with adventure : hiking, bouldering, rock climbing and then it is absolutely breath taking to see the clarity of the stars in such an unpolluted area. Nothing better than sitting around a camp fire and having a couple of cold ones with your buddies!
Landers Brew is a must – a crazy little bar inside what used to be a house in the middle of no where – great people with even better stories! The integratron is also right around the corner : it’s a 38 feet (12 m) tall cupola structure with a diameter of 55 feet (17 m) designed by ufologist and contactee George Van Tassel. Van Tassel claimed the Integratron was capable of rejuvenation, anti-gravity and time travel. He built the structure in Landers, California (near Joshua Tree), following instructions that Van Tassel vehemently claimed were provided directly to him by visitors from the planet Venus.
Pappy and Harriet’s in Pioneer Town is rated as one of the top 10 music venues in the USA… they also have killer BBQ and a really sweet western feel. https://www.pappyandharriets.com 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?
I know it’s cheesy, but my mom deserves ALL the credit. When no one else would fund my business venture and career in music, she did. She literally invested her life savings into setting me up for success in the USA. Her investment was a high-risk by anyone’s standards, but it has definitely paid off and will continue to do so. My mom is now a green card holder and living with me in the US. Very happy!