On paper, James Edward Jacob’s claims that he’s inspired by styles as diverse as jazz, death metal and folk could appear to be a sound bite designed to make his brand of dubstep appear more interesting than it actually is. But while there’s little in the way of throat-busting screams to be found in the array of tracks released under his Jakwob pseudonym, the 23-year-old is one of the scene’s most interesting genre-hoppers, touching upon everything from his Indian heritage to his classical upbringing to the bass nights he organised while studying at Leicester University.
It’s an approach which has already seen him deliver acclaimed remixes of artists as eclectic as American post-hardcore outfit Escape The Fate (“Issues”), British easy-listening chanteuse Katie Melua (“The Flood”) and Swedish electro-pop vixen Robyn (“Dancing On My Own”). But it was his more conventional speaker-blasting re-working of Ellie Goulding’s “Starry-Eyed” which first put him on the map, attracting the attention of Radio 1’s Annie Mac and Zane Lowe in the process.
Mixmag’s subsequent prediction that Jakwob would be one of 2012’s biggest break-out DJs didn’t quite come to fruition. But having since performed at Mallorca Rocks and Dubstep Symphony and collaborated with the likes of Mr. Hudson, Kano and Youngblood on his The Prize mix-tape, not to mention recently scoring his first UK Top 40 hit, it seems that the dance publication’s crystal ball may have only been one year off.
Indeed, the gorgeously ethereal trip-hop of the chart-bothering “Fade,” recently the subject of a nonsensical plagiarism claim from Calvin Harris, has only whetted the appetite even further for a full-length debut, scheduled for release later this year. Meanwhile, previous releases such as the Middle Eastern-tinged break-beat of “Electrify,” the late-night introspective electro-soul of “Blinding” and the grime/classical crossover “Right Beside You” also prove that Jakwob’s musical influences extend far beyond the usual suspects. Don’t bet against him becoming the dubstep scene’s new leading man.