Portland, Oregon’s Jackson Boone is known for his ethereal, trippy, and deeply spiritual musical stylings. He first came onto the music scene with his solo debut, Starlit, in 2013 before quickly heading back into the studio to record his new record, Natural Changes, released on September 11th. Boone and his live band are currently in the midst of a 23-date tour across America, one of those stops being their September 24th performance at Oxford’s Blind Pig. So in anticipation of their upcoming performance, I had the privilege to chat with Boone about the new record, becoming sober, and more.
After one listen to your music, I immediately thought it was an interesting mixture of trippy, psychedelic, and ethereal sounds. What led you to that sound?
That is just kind of where the music took me. But over the past few years I’ve definitely gotten into things like yoga, metaphysics, and that just kind of seeped into the music. It’s hard to describe. But that otherworldly quality is something that I started tapping into, to have that trance-inducing vibe, so the music kind of takes on an energy of its own.
You released your solo album back in 2014 and then went immediately into recording the new album. Did you just have a lot of extra material you were eager to release or were there other factors contributing that lead you to work on the album so quickly?
Yes. That and I had a strong inner feeling that it’s what I was made to do and that I should go full speed ahead. We’re pushing the musical project as much as I can to try to get the music out and make a living off of playing music. The synergy is there, everything is aligning pretty well, and we’re working really hard.
The album has so many different stylistic elements and lots of lush layers. What was the songwriting process like to create it?
That pretty layered, textural, lush sound happens in the recording process and the identity of the songs just hint towards that. I write the songs on acoustic guitar and come up with the lyrics and melodies. Then I bring them to my producer and my band and let that lushness happen slowly.
How does that translate into your live show?
Pretty well I think. We had a great album release show to a near-packed house. We have a guitar player, keyboard player, lots of reverb and lots of modulation and textural layered sounds. So it translates pretty tactfully right now.
How would you describe the new album?
I definitely think it’s a beach art rock album that has ethereal influence, spiritual energy. My music is often described as psychedelic, but that’s definitely a buzz word. But I feel like it’s more spiritual. But each song has its own identity and I’m really pleased with how it turned out. We recorded it in a really beautiful place and it’s a really peaceful, groovy art rock album.
You have a lot of great songs, but my favorite track is the first single, “Dolphin Turned Into a Cat.” Do you have a favorite song from the record?
Right now my favorite song to play is “Lovely Low.” The way we play it live is so delicate, and there is a lot of space and silence in the song. It’s just very romantic and beautiful. And I dig “Dolphin Turned Into a Cat.” That is a really cool tune and the recording turned out amazing!
You guys released a “making of” documentary along with the album. Why did you decide to film and share that journey?
I had an intuitive tick that it would be a good thing to represent the process, since we made the album in such a beautiful place. It’s something that I knew would be a good representation of what we’ve been up to.
I love the title Natural Changes. Is there a specific incident or story behind it?
I’ve undergone a lot of pretty dramatic life changes over the past two years. I got sober from drugs and alcohol and have been sober for two years. And that has really changed my life in a wonderful way and helped me to connect with myself and others in a positive, healing way. Also, my wife and I had a baby girl! And so Natural Changes is a representation of my personal journey towards self betterment and positivity and connection to friends, family, and the earth.
That is incredible! With a new baby girl and a new tour your hands are full! What else do you have planned in the foreseeable future?
More and more touring! We’re also going to record a third album sometime next year. We don’t know when it’ll come out though. But we’re just trying to get out and play as many shows as we can.