Jack Saunders on Music, Creativity, and How to Stay Truly Connected
When it comes to the ultimate kings of cool, there is no need for further introduction. Just look at one of the booming young guns for this generation, Jack Saunders. Initially starting as a former model, he made his way into the pop culture scene with his passion for music.
Jack has progressed into the big leagues of broadcasting as a BBC Radio 1 Presenter, taking over the late-night indie show and gaining immense popularity with his segment Future Artists.
Jack’s career in the industry evolved as he landed a gig with MTV UK, hosting the rock chart. Thus proving that his eclectic musical taste never stops evolving as he discovers and builds relationships with brilliant artists such as KSI, Madison Beer, and Yung Blud.
Proving that he’s not just your typical radio presenter, Jack’s creative pursuits as a DJ has garnered him millions of views.
Now as the whole world shifted to a fully digital presence due to the pandemic, Jack sought to connect with all of his fans online, creating segments such as Quarantine Karaoke from his bedroom, broadcasting the likes of Lauv, Tom Grennan, and Jade Bird, whilst also maintaining a twitch channel earning him a strong following within the gaming community.
Let’s take a little trip down memory lane. Do you remember your ultimate go-to song when you were a bit younger? It’ll be the one you know the lyrics to by heart. If so, what about that song still resonates with you today?
Easy. Arctic Monkeys, From the Ritz to the Rubble. The lyricism in that song is like a hip-hop verse. I was 13 years old when Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not was released. Looking up to the older kids in school, seeing them going out and getting drunk in the park, and using fake IDs to get into clubs, I wanted a flavour of that. I was a late bloomer, so I was never going to manage it! Instead, I channelled my inquisitive youth through the lyrics of that Arctic Monkeys’ debut album. From the Ritz to the Rubble tells the story of a raucous night out in Sheffield for Alex. No matter how old I am, I'll always love a wild night out.
If you were to describe your music taste to a 12-year-old, what would you say?
In the simplest terms, it would be if Travis Scott, Charli XCX, and Royal Blood made a track together.
Other than the late and great John Peel, name the three people that have played a massive influence on your chosen career path?
Zane Lowe, KSI, and Ron Burgundy.
During the ongoing pandemic, do you think music has helped in aiding people’s mental health? If so, why?
Yes, music has been one of the most important media for helping people cope during this pandemic. People are gagging for escapism and certain music can transport you from lockdown depression to a planet of euphoria you never knew existed. No matter how bad your day has been, when a certain song comes on your playlist out of nowhere, it'll change the mood.
During this digital age and these trying times, what is the importance of creativity and adaptability, especially as a musician or content creator?
A lot of the music we're going to hear over the next year will come from these times in lockdown, so, from an artist's perspective, I think it's important not to bring up the trauma that people have been through and instead think differently, spreading your lyrical ability towards that idea of escapism. This is not an easy time and your own mental wellbeing should come before anything else, but if you’re able to push your ability as an artist/creator and come up with innovative ideas, then you’re going to be in a much better position than before. Those who strive to be better, no matter their situation or level, will always achieve the most.
Historically, radio has been one of the most effective ways to communicate, especially during hard times. Do you think the broadcasting system, especially radio, still plays a significant role in connecting people, including the youth of today, despite podcasts, and the steadying rise of social media?
Absolutely. I wouldn't be a radio presenter if I didn't think it still had an important role to play in connecting with young people. The pandemic has shone a light on just how powerful the connection of audio broadcasting can be. I’ve had texts sent in to the show from people who have said that it has saved their lives. That's incredible. I do this show because I love discovering the future of music and delivering that future to people with energy, entertainment, and education. For someone to say that doing the job I love has saved their life is the only evidence I need that radio is one of the most important forms of connection. No other broadcasting medium has the power to play music 24 hours a day and entertain, inform, and educate. To me, that is golden, so every time I get to lift that fader and speak to the hundreds of thousands of people that are listening, I’m going to make it count!
Lastly, what’s the best advice you can give to venue organisers and creatives struggling with the ongoing pandemic-related event cancellations?
Be patient because your venues are going to be the centre point of the return of culture in this country. We're all at boiling point, so it’ll be game on when the venues reopen! As for those who create, try to think outside of the box. Use the tools you have online to your advantage. Do it because you want to bring joy into people's lives, and they will respond to you.
Photography by Phoebe Fox
Interview by Leigh Dacasin
Sub Editor Primrose Jeanton