Tired Hearts Records

jxke Is Not One to Miss

Think late nineties nostalgia meets peak-pandemic angst. Think solo artists a lá Iann Dior and blackbear, bands in the Less Than Jake and Tigers Jaw vein, and creatives like Landon Barker. Think budding pop punk music career. What do you get? Jxke.

From the streets of South Jersey and hills of Eastern PA comes jxke, a energetic (and local) soon-to-be star. There is a undercurrent of authentic punk rock running through him, charging his battery for forthcoming performances and releases that will garner the attention of emo kids near and far. Sure, jxke has the DIY scene in his blood, but there’s an international, cross-generational appeal to his youthful, rocking angst – and that’s why we had to get him talking about his debut single, “fiftyone.”

We can’t help but note that your roots are the same as ours – New Jersey, Philly, NYC. How has this area and the subsequent music scene played into what you are working on and releasing?

It’s been everything to me! I grew up listening to the usual 2000s alternative music – Blink-182, Sum 41, All American Rejects, etc. – but was introduced to a new world of the alternative/hardcore/pop punk scene around 2011 when I was 13, listening and going to shows for Man Overboard, Tigers Jaw, Balance and Composure, Title Fight, The Wonder Years, and more bands that really solidified the alternative scene, not only locally, but worldwide. To grow up (in basically the epicenter of the alternative/hardcore/pop punk music) was something I will forever be grateful for. It’s been my entire life since I was 13; putting all of my time into playing in bands or attending shows has created all of the friends in my life [and] created community. I owe everything to NJ/Philly. Shoutout NYC, too, but my home has my heart, for sure.

With your location in mind, it’s hard to overlook the fact that so far some of your biggest streaming cities outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania are in Indonesia, Spain, Great Britain, and Finland. What do you think about that? How does that make you feel?

It was definitely something I did not expect, for sure. I’ve talked to a lot of helpful blogs and playlist curators from those countries, and they’ve been a huge help in pushing my music a little bit further. I didn’t expect more than a few listens, but to see it growing a little further than just their own playlists/blogs is so cool to see. Seeing streams in countries you haven’t even visited yet is the coolest feeling.

How did having a background in alternative rock bands set you up for having a solo career? 

It is definitely something that I would not have pursued if it wasn’t for my background. I started playing drums when I was 10 years old, started a band at 13, and have played in four (sick) bands since. The experiences I’ve gone through with all of them helped prepare me for this completely. With my first two bands, I was so caught up in being “the best” and doing whatever possible to “make it,” but the great thing about music is that it’s never too late. You can take risks whenever you want. Take time, have some fun, enjoy the ride. Once I stopped caring about all of the nonsense, I started making better music with my friends, we pulled more people out to shows, and overall just had the most fun creating some of the best memories of my life so far. I think everyone should just start out by jamming with friends and let the universe take them wherever. Start a band with some friends, make terrible music, and make a lot of mistakes. Life is too short.

Many believe that pop punk will never die, and we are firm believers as such. When looking at that genre, from its earlier, punkier days with blink-182 to the modern era with hip-hop-influenced TITUS and metal-tinged Boston Manor, what do you think keeps people coming back to it, as both artists and fans?

I am definitely a firm believer, as well, and am also a big fan of all of those artists. History always repeats itself and trends will always come in and out, but as far as consistency between all generations, I’ve seen pop punk as one of the strongest to stick around my whole life. Growing up it was Blink-182, Green Day, etc., but what most people don’t recognize either is that it was also Kelly Clarkson, Hannah Montana, and the Jonas Brothers, too. They were always branded as “pop” artists back then, but if those artists were dropping music today, most would call them “pop punk.” It has always been a genre where there is pop and/or punk at the core, while also constantly bringing in new elements. I’ve always gravitated to pop punk because, outside of the genre itself, my favorite music besides alternative has also been pop, hip-hop, and hardcore music – all in which have been blended into pop punk by many different bands and artists over the past 20 years.

“fiftyone,” your solid new single, is out now. It’s incredibly authentic to the scene, but has a light-hearted vibe that reflects living in the now, the 2023 world of creating art. Why did you pick this track to kickstart your career? 

Thank you for the kind words! I haven’t told many people this, but “fiftyone” was created almost a year-and-a-half ago. I’ve had a lot of demos to choose from since I started creating them right before the pandemic. I wanted my rollout for at least the first five tracks to be seen as an evolution of how I see pop punk music to evolve overall. That being said, I wanted people to see at the core that I love fast, punk-paced music with an alternative rock pulse to it. Moving forward, that core will definitely remain, but I always want to implement new things, genres, and instruments, as well.

What’s next for jxke and his sort of new wave approach to alt rock and pop punk?

My main focuses are about creating music, creating a community, and making sure everyone has fun at live shows. Almost anything else outside of that is extra stuff to me. That being said, I always want to pay tribute and show homage to the 2000s bands I grew up on by getting back to the kind of crowds/shows/music that was being put out back then, while also adding fresh elements of modern music that I love. The best way to explain my vision is a crowd like Blink-182 at Warped ’99, but maybe I throw some hyper-pop elements in there. Who knows? I’m just trying to rock and make sure everyone else can rock, too.