It’s not often that in a big city like London, an artist gets so ingrained in the place he comes from, that his heritage and artistry automatically go hand in hand. But that is exactly the case for indie-riser Tycho Jones, an up-and-coming musician from Hackney who has slowly but surely taken over the scene by storm, even far beyond the borders of the UK capital.
Despite still being a relatively new name for most, the now 20-year-old singer has already planted his feet firmly into the eclectic world of DIY indie music, the kind that famously always starts off back in someone’s bedroom with a few handy tools, a laptop and a guitar. It’s no surprise that this is also where Tycho Jones’ story once began: “My musical career probably started when I put my first song ‘Serotonin’ on SoundCloud when I was about 16 or 17. I didn‘t see it as a full-blown career back then, but I definitely knew what I wanted to do. I was never really interested in life at school and what my peers were doing, they were all focusing on exams and universities and things like that. So that was the start of me deciding that I wanted to work on music and do nothing else. And the time my career started was probably when Globe Town Records found that song.”
Now a couple of years down the line since his official discovery by the Hoxton-based independent record label and management company, the artist has been drip-feeding his ever-growing fanbase his musical artistry in form of multiple singles as well as a mixtape titled ‘Tychonaut’, yet another record released in the chaotic times of the pandemic. But unlike many other musicians who were hit by the global tragedy, Jones feels that it was the right decision to release the mixtape during the lockdown, as, in his opinion, it gave his songs, with many discussing themes of anxiety, loneliness and uncertainty, an ever deeper meaning that could then be understood in a more general sense: “It was essentially my first body of work. To me, it felt like it gave my songs a bit of a context having the lockdown happen because I‘d already been feeling those emotions of existential dread and doubt. So when the pandemic happened, I felt like everyone got put in the same boat and it gave my music a relevance that people could understand.”
It’s those introspective themes that have long weaved themselves through Jones’ music and releases and that have made them so relatable for his listeners. Vulnerability, honesty to a level that others would often shy away from, and an openness with your own feelings and the people around you are just a few of the many parts that make Tycho Jones stand out amongst the masses of aspiring artists out there right now. To simply put it, his music is quite special, as Jones describes it: “I would say it’s quite thoughtful in terms of the lyrics and it addresses a lot of feelings of anxiety and emotions. But then in terms of what I‘m talking about, it‘s more of a London narrative, but still universal feelings that we all know. It’s uplifting and chill, but also melancholic as well.”
Long gone are the times when artists were confined to the area they live and grew up in, with social media nowadays offering everyone an almost global reach. But Jones has taken advantage of both, the option of being known on an international level, but still embedding his music in the stories and experiences he’s made in the UK capital: “I think people in London can relate to my narrative, like my experiences and stuff. I‘m a London artist in that sense because I feel like the themes that I address are a bit more universal, I like to talk about things that we can all relate to. It‘s got context from what I’ve seen and the people around me, but I think ultimately it‘s expanding beyond London as I grow up.”
Looking through the artist’s discography, it’s become clear over the years that his music has and always will be a matter of personal thoughts and feelings. Firstly, there is the bouncy ‘Serotonin’, the one song that gave the young musician his first push into the spotlight, which was then later followed up by now fan-favourites ‘Don’t Be Afraid’ and the melodic ‘Level Head’ as part of his mixtape, amongst many others. But even throughout the pandemic and the pressures of today’s music industry, Jones has kept a hold of the freedom of creating whatever he feels like, which can be particularly felt in the release of his latest single ‘Clouds’. Carried by a highly-addictive bass line, airy vocals and a radically danceable rhythm, the track is musically a shot away from his earlier records but still stays very close to the emotive depth of his previous hits, as Jones explains: “The reason I called it ‘Clouds’ is because people can be like the clouds sometimes, they‘re here today and gone tomorrow. So the theme of the song is about the transients of life. It’s about the fact that it’s okay to fall in love with people and enjoy your time with them, but not to feel a sense of ownership over them.”
Hearing all those stories and paying closer attention to Jones’ lyrics and the ways he creates and lets his musical talents flow and grow, it comes as no surprise that the Londoner has been gaining more and more traction over the past year. It’s not often that you find a young artist who has, first and foremost, become part of the industry to share his experiences with the world and to let the music be his ultimate outlet, while never telling people what to feel or think when they listen to his songs. Of course, creative freedom can come and go at its own will, but it feels like the formidable indie wizard has found his place of ease and a sense of self that cannot be shaken. Looking into the future, be it the next couple of weeks – “stay tuned for more music to come soon,”, as he teases – or the unknown times that are a long way ahead, Jones stays as grounded and humble as ever when thinking about the peak he ultimately wants to reach in his career and the how-tos: “I want to stay happy. To honestly love yourself is the main way to grow. As an artist, the best way I can grow is just by staying transient and by letting the world flow over me and not affect me so much. And just cherishing the people that you have around you and playing into their strengths as well. As a musician, you have to be able to get the most out of the people you‘re creatively collaborating with while not being too ego about it. You just gotta let it flow, that’s what it’s all about.”
Written by Laura Weingrill // photography by Tycho Jones & Globe Town Records