In the spotlight – Jack Hyphen

In the spotlight – Jack Hyphen

In the spotlight – Jack Hyphen, a Manchester based, Midlands born songwriter, guitarist, vocalist and live performer that harnesses a blend of alternative rock, indie pop, melodic acoustic and everything in between to create an atmospheric, punchy and occasionally ethereal sound.

What can you tell me about your musical past?

“From the age of 18 to 21 I spent all my spare time – and I mean all – traveling from Manchester to Hereford, where I grew up, to continue a band, Point Zero, I had started just before moving up north. We made alternative rock etc. and were unsuccessfully and naively trying to “make it”, with zero knowhow or contacts. Trying to do this out in the middle of nowhere was hard as there didn’t seem to be a “scene” to connect to. I think my dream was for the whole band to come to Manchester as I could see the opportunities here, but it didn’t pan out that way. After that ended, I was pretty gutted and vowed to not have a band again and took a musical hiatus. I came back to music tentatively and made some acoustic songs but not with any real direction.”

“Then after seven years in an office job I packed it in and released my debut EP as Jack Hyphen, to a sold out crowd at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford. Since then, I’ve been making more music and trying my best to play as much as possible. I realised I cannot live without it.”

What kind of sounds were playing around you as you were growing up? 

“Not much! What I had was just Boyz II Men and UB40. Which isn’t really like the music I make.”

What started you off on your musical journey? Was there anything or anyone in particular that sparked your musical fire?

“Well, when I was about 16, I found my love for alt rock, I’d get the bus to college every day and I would listen to Two Door Cinema Club, Bloc Party, Everything Everything and The Wombats these on repeat. I have to say Everything Everything were the band that ignited the musical fire in me.”

You quit your job just before the pandemic hit. When did you realise that music would be what you wanted pursue professionally?

“Precisely then, about six months before COVID! Well, I’d been toying with the idea for over a year before then one day I just decided to give it a go. Bad timing.”

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

“Back to a 9-5 I think, as we need to pay the bills. Luckily, I managed to get by on playing regular cover gigs for a while. Now I still do that, as well as a few hours a week as a freelance accountant (exciting stuff!) and I mean an ACTUAL accountant. It isn’t code for anything.”

If we were to look at the artists you are listening to, who would be on your playlist?

“Easy Life, Erykah Badu, Joy Crooks, Paramore, Will Joseph Cook, Everything Everything and Jack Hyphen :)”

What qualities do you admire in other artists?

“Anyone who has the ability to do social media well and consistently.”

What song would you send to someone unfamiliar with your music?

“I do have a bit of a mix, so I would send ‘Your Wrong Side’ as this has a nice blend of melodic intricacies, pop, rock and alternative rock sections.”

I always love hearing about the song writing process. What can you tell me about yours?

“It varies, but normally if I find myself picking up the guitar and playing a particular thing often, I try to make that “thing” into “something”. Usually, I do this by finding lyrics in my phone memos and coming up with a vocal melody alongside it. I would then make a simple demo of this and expand it from there. I never have an outcome in mind it just flows into whatever it becomes.”

Who are some of your songwriting heroes and do you think you can hear their influence in your music?

“I’m not too fanatic about songwriters and artists. I like hearing music and all of its components, that’s what drew me to Everything Everything because they always have so many elements and interest sections in their songs. That’s a hard one. Maybe I’ll have to ask you what you hear in my music?”

As a songwriter, is there any particular atmosphere you try to achieve with your work?

“Live, I’d say I want the songs performances to pack a punch, have energy and in moments softness. Ultimately, I want to make songs that other people would enjoy musically and connect to the lyrics.”

What is the hardest part for you when it comes to staying motivated to keep practising and writing?

“Time! Finding time, of late, to do the barebones of music is hard, especially when releasing regularly and trying to keep on top of promoting the music.”

Let’s talk about your new single ‘Flee’. What was the inspiration for this song?

“So, the song was originally written seven years ago, the first in the Jack Hyphen project, and has had many guises! So do you know when some thoughts have your head spinning and you want them to leave? The song is basically about that and how these ruminations can affect you.”

What should we expect from your next release?

“A more recently written (well, finished) song. a unique alt rock tune, short but sweet.”

Any plans for the rest of the year?

“Keep releasing music and playing as many full band shows as I can, that’s the best bit!”

What’s your favourite song from the Cool Top 20 and why?

“bryden – ‘Pearl’. I love how it starts mellow and gradually builds into this alt rock / pop anthem with a bit of heaviness.”

What song would you like to add as a bonus track?

“I’m gonna choose my friend Harriet Dagnalls track ‘Dead Time’. She is a great song writer and deserves more ears on her music!”


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