Late Nights Early Mornings: NojokeJigsaw talks new album & announces two new projects for 2020
While the COVID-19 pandemic rages on globally, the music industry is still adapting to the new norms for handling daily affairs. Experts believe the live concert business will be out billions when it’s all said and done, and the overall financial fallout to record labels, recording artists and everyone else that keeps the lights on is still largely immeasurable.
But that hasn’t stopped artists and producers from continuing to make and release new music. And while concerts and touring may be on hold to promote new projects that drop, artists are doubling down on using social media to promote, and finding new ways tap into audiences that are online now more than ever.
One artist who has strived to make the most of his time during the pandemic is Toronto recording artist and songwriter, NojokeJigsaw, who hails from Canada’s first and largest housing project, Lawrence Heights aka Jungle.
After stepping onto the scene in 2017 after the tragic loss of a friend, and working hard to get his buzz up, Jigsaw released his album debut It’s Complicated independently in July 2019 via his own Restless Records. From the streets to the music industry, Jigsaw’s story is as complicated as they come, but the album made it abundantly easy to see how much potential the young artist had to dominate his city.
Almost a year later—after a seriously regimented approach to completing the project—NojokeJigsaw released his highly anticipated sophomore album Late Nights Early Mornings Vol. 1 on July 10, 2020.
Late Nights Early Mornings brings you directly into Jigsaw’s come up in Jungle, the highs and lows, and everything in between. From believing he had what it took to catch a full ride to a D1 basketball program, to switching his focus to music after a career-ending injury, the realities of his environment have never been more than a stones throw away, and it’s largely shaped the man and recording artist he is today.
Soze Brooks, Jigsaw’s engineer and business partner in Restless Records, has always had a great ear for talent and has been part of Jigsaw’s music career since nearly the very beginning. Soze played a huge role in creating the new album, and provided some insight on Jigsaw’s overall growth as an artist.
“I recorded and mixed this and most of the last project, and have been involved in everything from the artwork to all the videos,” explained Soze.
“It’s been so dope to watch his growth as a songwriter and artist. To see him build his vision on how he wants his brand presented and to watch and be there as he grows as a businessman and young CEO. When talent, vision and drive come together you get the start of something special and that’s what this is. Late Nights Early Mornings isn’t just a project title. It’s a lifestyle for hustlers and bosses that want more. I think that describes Jigsaw perfectly.”
Jigsaw kicked off the album’s visual campaign back in March with the release of the Orazio-directed “Numb.” The video just recently passed 70K views on YouTube and the single has another 75K+ on Spotify. Since then, Jigsaw dropped the “Heata” video in June, and fresh visuals for “All Rich” were released just a few days ago. Both of those videos were directed by Toronto cinematographer Jyothi Tatter, and edited by Julez Leo.
The next video is being determined by fan reaction, but it seems to be too early to draw any conclusions.
“So far, they love ‘Frontline’ with Top5 and 3MFrench and ‘Yosemite Sam’ with my boy AR Paisley,” said Jigsaw in our recent interview. “So, it’s between those two but it’s still early in the release.”
AR Paisley, who has featured Jigsaw on his last two projects, provided us with some thoughts on being part of Late Nights Early Mornings Vol. 1.
“I love working with Jigsaw, that’s bro. Every time we link I know we’re leaving with some fire.”
We recently had the chance to interview NojokeJigsaw to discuss the new album, his early aspirations to play ball, his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement, and more. Notably, he also revealed that two more projects will drop in 2020. It’s unclear if they’ll continue the Late Nights Early Mornings series or take on a different concept.
“You can expect a whole lot of videos and a lot of big features that I have been saving,” Jigsaw assured fans.
“I’ve also been planning to release two more projects before the end of 2020 so that’s something to look forward to.”
Late Nights Early Mornings is available now on various digital streaming platforms including Apple Music, Spotify, and TIDAL. You can check out the album, new videos, and our exclusive Q&A with Jigsaw below.
HipHopCanada: Jigsaw thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s jump right into your latest release. Your manager and engineer Soze described Late Nights Early Mornings as more than just an album, but also a lifestyle. What was your initial vision for the project when you decided to start working on it?
NojokeJigsaw: When naming my projects, I like to name them at the end of having a group of finished songs. I like to name project for how I’m feeling and the mood that I’m in. For this tape, I named it Late Nights Early Mornings because of all the effort and countless back-to-back days that went into the album.
HipHopCanada: How has the pandemic impacted the album’s creation process?
NJJ: Truthfully, at the beginning there was a lot of time on my hands but a lot of my resources were limited and stopped me from making moves that I needed to make. Then it came down to deciding whether or not I should release an album during the pandemic and if that was a good move.
HipHopCanada: How would you compare this project to your debut, It’s Complicated?
NJJ: I feel like they compare in terms of the songs being versatile from one another and experimenting with newly inspired flows and genres of music. But, I also feel like the music has grown and I’ve become a more experienced, well rounded artist overall.
HipHopCanada: Can you speak on the producers involved?
NJJ: A lot of the producers were Canadian, some of which included Kevin Rolly, SK Beats and Phantom, which is dope.
HipHopCanada: You’ve got a limited but very talented and recognizable group of features on the project. How did you approach deciding which artists to work with, and can you break down why they were chosen for the particular tracks they’re featured on?
NJJ: I decided to choose a selected few of features for this album because I didn’t want the album to be oversaturated with features. The features I decided to put on the album were people I have met and have a relationship with. I’ve got a lot of features in the cut that you’ll hear on the next project.
HipHopCanada: What’s your favourite cut on the album? Why?
NJJ: My favourite song on the album is probably “Nothing to Lose” but my favourite cut on the album would have to be “Heata” just because it was the most fun and all natural and we got the song laid down in one take.
HipHopCanada: Which new videos should we expect in support of Late Nights Early Mornings?
NJJ: Well, “Heata” is already out and keeps charting. “All Rich” is the next lead single off the tape and then after that it really depends on the audience’s choice on their favourite song or whatever I feel is getting the most traction. So far, they love “Frontline” with Top5 and 3MFrench and “Yosemite Sam” with my boy AR Paisley. So, it’s between those two but it’s still early in the release.
HipHopCanada: Five years from now when you look back, what memory about creating Late Nights Early Mornings will standout the most?
NJJ: Just all the Late Nights and Early mornings that went into the tape. There were many nights where I’d bring over night gear like change of clothes just because I knew I was going to be at the studio all night.
HipHopCanada: This next question is usually a tough one for artists with deep catalogues. If you had to pick one track from your entire discography to win over a new listener, which song would it be and why?
NJJ: This is a hard one. I have a lot of different listeners with all different kinds of music taste that fits in with their lifestyle or past experiences. I think it all depends on the person. If it were for ladies, I would recommend “That’s Cool.” If it was someone who is more into rap and bars I would suggest “Heata.” However, if it were someone that was into melodic music I would recommend “All Rich.”
HipHopCanada: Not everyone knows that you were once an aspiring basketball player with dreams of making it pro. How often do you think about where you’d be with the sport had it not been for your injury? Do you feel you had the talent to reach a professional level of playing ball?
NJJ: I absolutely feel that I could have gone very far in the career of basketball. I definitely believe I could have made it to D1 but I’m not 100% sure about the NBA. End of the day, I believe everything is written and that journey wasn’t the one meant for me to pursue. I still have love and a passion for basketball but right now my main passion is with music and growing and exceeding different goals.
HipHopCanada: The torn meniscus occurred several years ago while you were protecting a friend from a racially motivated attack. In light of the protests still taking place around the world in support of Black Lives Matter, what are your thoughts on racism in Canada? Do you believe the prime minister when he says more will be done by the government to address systemic racism in Canadian institutions?
NJJ: I completely support the BLM movement across Canada, US and other parts of the world. Being a visible man of colour, I’ve experienced racism in more ways than physical attacks and it’s something I don’t tolerate and wouldn’t wish on anyone. The support for the BLM movement across different ethnicities is very powerful especially in Toronto where the city is built on multiculturalism. It’s very admirable and inspiring with great hopes for the future. However, I’m not too invested into the politic aspect of the government to really question or doubt publicly announced plans for the future. I support my people and will help in all ways I can to make a change and bring awareness to underlying issues.
HipHopCanada: Can you speak on your company Restless Records? Do you have any other artists or producers signed to the movement?
NJJ: Right now, there are no other artists but myself on Restless Records nor are there any producers. I definitely keep my eye out and there are a lot of people I plan on working with but right now I am the main focus of Restless Records. Once I’m positioned we’ll start to bring other artists through our system.
HipHopCanada: With concerts and touring still off the table, do you have any online initiatives planned to help promote Late Nights Early Mornings?
NJJ: Social media is a big way to self-promote right now. I definitely plan on doing some Instagram Live interviews and continuing the use Instagram and different social media platforms to continue to promote Late Nights Early Mornings. There are also other means of promo including merch, giveaways and other ideas we’re still working on.
HipHopCanada: Which other up-and-coming Canadian/Toronto artists/producers are you checking for?
NJJ: I’ve been in the studio so much lately I haven’t really been listening to a lot of albums and songs from other artists in the city. My main focus has been perfecting Late Nights Early Mornings and making sure our best effort and attention was put into it. However, I definitely have been listening to Flippa and Top5.
HipHopCanada: Aside from promoting the new album, what else does NojokeJigsaw have in store for the remainder of 2020?
NJJ: You can expect a whole lot of videos and a lot of big features that I have been saving. I’ve also been planning to release two more projects before the end of 2020, so that’s something to look forward to. For 2020, I can say the quality of music, the videos, visuals and production will be at the highest level possible.
You can follow @NojokeJigsaw on Instagram.
Written by Jesse Plunkett for HipHopCanada
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