NJaM is an indie pop/alternative multi-instrumentalist known for his ear-snatching hooks and painfully relatable lyrics. His 2021 EP ‘I’m in Love with a Phantom’, threw a new figure onto the now thriving genre. Starting his musical prowess as a virtuoso in both jazz and classical trumpet, creative powerhouse (born Nathan Morones) branched out into writing his own songs after hearing Rex Orange County’s ‘Corduroy Dreams’ in the 9th grade.
We had a chance to talk to NJaM about his new release “Glitch,” future plans, and many more!
Hey, NJaM! Welcome to CelebMix! For those from our audience who are not familiar with you, could you introduce yourself?
Hey! My name is NJaM, I’m an 18 year old multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles. I’m originally a jazz trumpet player, but writing and producing my own music has always been what I wanted to do. I released my first song ‘I Think I’ll Leave Instead’ in 2021, and my first EP ‘I’m in Love With a Phantom’ later that year.
You have a very unique stage name, NJaM. Can you share what is the story of it and what stands behind it?
Yeah! Well I was having a really hard time trying to create my artist name back in 2020, trying to find anything that was remotely similar to my first name, Nathan. NATHAN, Natch, and Nathless were all possibilities. I finally landed on something like NJM, which is my initials squished together, when I realized that if i added an ‘a’ in the middle it would create NJaM. It’s more visually appealing, along with being easier and more fun to say!
How long have you been making music for? How did your artistic journey start?
I’ve been making music my whole life, really. I learned how to use this music notation software called ‘Finale’ when I was about 7-8 years old, and that’s what got me to start writing actual songs. But in terms of the music I make now and release, it all started when I heard Rex Orange County’s ‘Corduroy Dreams’ when I was in high school. From that moment I knew that was what I wanted to do, that was the kind of music I wanted to make.
How would you describe your sound?
My sound is always rooted in indie pop/alt culture, though I never want to be creatively boxed in. Sounds from Rex Orange County and Khai Dreams, to Weatherday and Deftones, all get incorporated into my music. For my next few releases, I’m trying to incorporate more electronic and ‘harsh’ elements, while still keeping them easy listening and fun.
If you could sum up your style in 3 words, what would you choose?
Elastic, abrasive, sincere. I feel like those 3 cover all aspects of my style.
‘Glitch’ is a song that came very easy to me; a song about mistrust, and desperately wanting your partner to be open and transparent with you. It’s about all those moments in a relationship where you wish your partner would be honest with you and talk face to face. It’s a fairly angry song; I guess I was in a place of feeling this way very strongly when I wrote it!
How is this new release different from your 2021 EP ‘I’m in Love with a Phantom’?
This release, along with the releases to follow this year, all utilize more harsh electronic elements and darker story telling as opposed to my releases in 2021. With those releases I was focused on making more easy listening indie-pop, whereas right now I want to change my sound a little with ‘Glitch’.
What does your creative process look like? Do you firstly write lyrics or music?
My creative process usually starts with some riff on bass or guitar that I then transform and expand upon. For example, with ‘Glitch’ it started with this really simple bass line. Then I just took it from there, added distorted guitars, panned vocals, etc. It seems to be the best way for me to craft a song.
What artists inspire you to record your music? Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
A ton of artists inspire me to record. It’s such an ongoing question, but recently bands/artists like Deftones, Omar Apollo, and blackbear have all been inspiring me to get in the studio. In regards of who I’d like to collaborate with, it’s an even harder question! Laufey, Wallice, Matt Maltese, Khai Dreams, and of course Rex Orange County are all artists I would love the chance to work with, plus many more.
Please tell us about any exciting news or plans you have for 2023?
2023 is a busy year for me! My first song of the year is out January 25th, and I plan to release a few more singles throughout the year that lead up to another EP release in October. This year will also be the first time I release physical copies of my music and different merch items. A lot to look forward to this year!