Ayron Jones’s life changed in a major way last year, when he became one of the first signings to Big Machine/John Varvatos, the label co-run by the fashion designer, who released the Seattle singer and guitarist’s electrifying third album, Child Of The State, in May 2021.
“I used to do everything independently,” Jones says with a laugh. “Now I got a big new house, I’m able to pay some cats to come out on the road with me, do all this stuff.”
How have the past twelve months been for you?
Pretty good. The hardest part was mentally getting through the pandemic. But I’ve done psychedelics and spiritual practices to get myself through things like this.
What do those “psychedelics and spiritual practices” involve?
Mushrooms and the sort of things that get you out of your linear way of thinking. I had a mushroom trip that changed my life years ago. I realised that the world around me is really just interacting with my inner thoughts. Then I started looking into different religions that talked about that. Once all those things are all tied together, you can really start to create new possibilities for yourself
On the single Mercy you painted a picture of a troubled world. Are things getting better?
There’s the line in that song: ‘Got me on my knees/ Too much smoke, can’t breathe.’ That’s literally and metaphorically what was happening at the time. There was forest fires all along the west coast of the US. It really epitomised what we were going through as a country, and globally. For now, we’re at an impasse. There’s a still tension there. Unfortunately it’s gonna be politics that shapes how we move forward, and that’s up in the air right now.
What was your first gig back after restrictions started to lift like?
I did the Love Rocks gig in New York with a bunch of people like Gary Clark Jr, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes. That was cool, but it was more emotional when I started playing my own shows. There were some pretty big shows. We played the Rocklahoma festival. There’s tens of thousands of people in front you, you have these giant 10-storey screens. That’s amazing.
Who’s the most famous person you met in 2021?
It’s gotta be Bill Murray. I met him at the Love Rocks thing. I’m on stage, practising the finale of the show with all these legends, and I look to my left and he’s just standing there: “Bill Murray’s here! No way!” Then we’re hanging out at the afterparty, and I’m thinking: “I wonder if Bill Murray is Bill Murray all the time.” He’d just come up behind us and I’d go: “What’s going on?” And he goes: [Bill Murray voice] “I don’t know. What’s going on with you?” And then he’d turn around and go. I’m like: “Yeah, he’s Bill Murray all the time.”
You’re from Seattle. What’s the ‘Seattle Sound’ to you?
It’s like a neo-Delta blues, that’s what I call it. It’s an emotional feeling. It’s supposed to be unhinged, it’s dark, it’s supposed to be little bit chaotic and have a little bit of dissonance to it. I always think of Jimi Hendrix as being the first grunge artist. The angst, the distortion, the feedback. None of those things were supposed to be in music at the time. Then you fast-forward to bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden. Those guys really embodied what it meant to be blues artists but it the modern era.
Is it true that you once competed in a World Frisbee Championship?
That’s the truth. I got into frisbee when I was about thirteen years old, and between the age of seventeen and twenty-three I was one of the best players in the world. I ended up playing for the USA under-nineteen team in 2004, and then I won a national championship in 2007. I went back and played in the world championship in 2008, where I won a bronze medal with Team USA.
What’s the secret of throwing a good frisbee?
Physics. When you understand the anatomy and the physics of how a disc flies and the flight patterns, you can throw anything you want.