Jayden Cary, aka Jakar, is the dBs Bristol BA (Hons) Electronic Music Production student behind a liquid drum and bass remix that has taken the internet by storm. With more than one million streams and counting, we caught up with him to find out how it all happened.
Most independent artists temper their expectations for their first official release. Getting your name out there and having some people listen to your first label-released tune is usually enough. That’s what Jayden Cary, aka Jakar, thought would happen when he dropped his liquid drum and bass bootleg of Olivia Rodrigo’s Deja Vu via local Bristol imprint Invicta Audio. However, just four months and more than 1 million streams later, it’s become clear that his first release has become an internet and social media sensation.
Jakar, who is in the first year of his Electronic Music Production degree at dBs in Bristol and began producing at home when he was 15-16, produced the remix on a whim almost two years before it ever saw the light of day.
“It's one of those tunes where it wasn't an idea that I thought about too much,” he says, “I had writer's block. I couldn't think of anything and then I could hear my little sister playing music out of a speaker and I just heard it [the original track] and I thought 'that needs to be a liquid tune. It just needs to be.’ So, I fired up Ableton and made it.
“It's one of those tunes where, if I could go back and reproduce it now, I would. My production has come so far since I made that track. I made it almost two years ago. I left it on my laptop and it sat there for ages. Then I played it to one of my friends at Invicta Audio and he was like ‘we need to release that’, and here we are! It's crazy how fast things can develop.”
In just four months, Jakar’s first release reached number one on the free download charts, racked up 1.14M plays on Soundcloud (and counting), with hundreds of thousands more plays on Tik Tok, Instagram and other social media platforms. The dizzying speed with which the tune exploded saw it catch the attention of a worldwide audience through the power of the internet.
“I've been sent a lot of sick videos of it being played from around the world,” says Jayden, “I got a couple from New Zealand and one from Canada, which was really cool. It's just funny to see how a little beat on your laptop is being played at massive events. It's nuts.”
Most of the momentum that the remix got was powered by Tik Tok, a platform which has become vital for upcoming and established artists to reach their audiences. “The power of Tik Tok now is crazy”, says Jayden, “We created a sound and all of a sudden, it was being spread everywhere…my little sister comes to me all the time and she says that she's sat on Tik Tok and she's hearing it constantly…Tik Tok is a bit like the pirate radio of today.”
From the interest that was generated online, the big beasts of the music industry also took notice of Jakar’s bootleg. Major labels contacted Invicta to see if they could make the remix official and have since been in touch to offer Jakar official remixing work for major releases. This trajectory shows that, for any other dBs students wanting to catch the attention of the big beasts of the industry, platforms like Tik Tok are a vital gateway that can spread your music like wildfire.
Jayden, who has just released a new jungle tune Run It through Cryptik, also feels that studying at dBs has helped to shape him as a producer and, importantly, catapulted him into an environment with like-minded people where the community pushes each other to achieve.
“It's definitely a community within dBs,” he says, “There are so many sick producers here already…I feel like that's the thing they don't always teach you about going to uni. It's not always about the things you’ll learn, but the connections you'll make and the people you have around you to constantly bounce ideas off and inspire each other. I think that's the main part that I've taken from being at dBs.”
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