Interview: Roy English (Jagwar Twin) Playing Delmar Hall Saturday Night
Roy English, releasing music under the name Jagwar Twin, is no newcomer to the music scene. Having been a musician for many years, being a part of several bands, it wasn’t until a decision to possibly leave the music scene altogether that brought a chance meeting with Jeff Bhasker that set Roy on a musical metamorphosis that would soon lead to his transition into Jagwar Twin. In his own words, Roy describes the shows he has recently performed as “beautiful,” and is excited to bring his music to St. Louis to display a “sense of humanity and oneness and see everybody singing together.”
Pulling inspiration from a variety of music, Roy has an appreciation for a wide range of musical genres and artists, all of which influence his own music. Speaking about growing up, Roy talked about the music he was exposed to as a child, saying his mother listened to such a large scale of music that it was hard to describe just one type, as she listened to Celtic music, trippy and psychedelic guitar riffs, country and even gospel. Of course, he thanked the classics for his musical influences as well, referencing The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
Part of his musical metamorphosis was how he saw the world around him, and how he was able to translate that into his lyrics. Working with other producers and artists, Roy made the transition to Jagwar Twin as he began to see different influences in his music. In his own words, he describes his music as being about “us, as a human race, as a culture and a society and that we’re all one and connected; trying to find that shared humanity and common ground.” Jagwar Twin then created the duality of Roy English and the message he tries to portray through his songs, as he says his music “isn’t necessarily about him, but it is about us all.”
Speaking on his own journey through making music, Roy stated the importance of how his creative process was to him, finding ways to further envelop his process of making music by spending time in a sauna or ice baths, all of which were tools in the removal of one’s ego. “The ego is such a funny thing because most of us are unaware that we have an ego. In the traditional sense, we forget to ask ourselves why am I feeling this way? Why am I doing things this way? Etc. We create our own reality. The truest form of yourself; the ego-less part of yourself, is the part of you that will be able to be of service to others,” said English. When it comes to the recording studio, no matter the measure of one’s success compared to another, Roy happily stated they there is no hierarchy. When in the studio, everyone is seen as equal and they all have a job to do in order to create and influence through a musical outlet, something I found to be very inspiring about the musician and his team.
When asked about the motivation behind his hit “Loser,” Roy was able to recollect his own memories from growing up. “I really felt growing up, in high school and junior high, that those times were not fun for me. I was bullied and made fun of. I never really fit in.” However, Roy describes his understanding of this and the inspiration behind “Loser” with begging the question: What is being cool? Further, what are cool clothes? What are cool brands? To him, it’s all cultural context. Simply, the relatability of “Loser” is that everyone at a point in their life has felt like an outcast, making the song universally understood by its listeners.
His music video for the single “Long Time Coming” will drop on April 26th, as well as his new album. The process for making the video was very special to Roy. The binary of a desert and a body of water, two opposing forces are meant to create a visual spectacle, as he was highly thrilled to work with the director of the video. The images combined with the music create energy and spirit of the purpose of the song, that it has truly been – “a long time coming.” Coming away from the tour, Jagwar Twin would love the audience to feel like themselves in an atmosphere that is freeing, that you can sing along, and that “the music is secondary when compared to everyone singing together.”
Jagwar Twin is performing with lovelytheband on Saturday, April 27th, at 8 pm at Delmar Hall as part of their “the finding it hard to smile tour.” Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster.