Mikey Pennington aka Jackal is just starting out as a trap producer, but he’s already achieved heights many can only dream of, with his tunes being played by the likes of Diplo and Skrillex. Catch him in Perth along with ETC!ETC! and Spenda C this Saturday, March 22 at Villa. Meanwhile, TOM KITSON discovers an odd formula for one of his tunes.
UK born and now Toronto-based, Pennington has only released a handful of tracks and played a small number of shows, owing most of his profile to the internet. Being named as one of Run The Trap’s ‘artists to watch in 2014’ has led to a spike of interest from producers he’d idolised and opportunities to take advantage of.
“I remember wanting to just have a mention in that blog before I got any recognition, so it’s so cool to see people are hyped to hear new stuff from me,” he says. “Some of my all time favourite artists now follow me and have been in touch, which to me is the best recognition you can get.”
Currently working through a pile of unfinished tracks, possibly an EP and looking ahead to a collaboration with Canadian producer, Grandtheft from Mad Decent, Pennington says he goes for the biggest and weirdest sounds possible to start with.
“I love trying to make the biggest sounding tracks possible,” he explains. “I think the way I work is pretty weird; I usually change things around like 1000 times before I can be happy with something.”
Two of his best received tunes, Shakedown and Power Move were based on this principle, and he has a quirky description of the main idea behind the latter.
“I just wanted to make the weirdest sound I possibly could with Power Move, which was essentially breakbeat, Biggie (aka The Notorious B.I.G.) and dolphins on crack,” he says.
The party vibe is clearly essential to Pennington’s music, something inspired by the likes of Skrillex, Baauer and the freshness of the trap sound.
“Skrillex is one of the biggest influences in my life, he really made me take electronic music seriously,” he says. “I get a lot of inspiration from Baauer’s music and how he takes a random sample and makes a whole track out of it; that’s so creative. Trap was a fresh sound – I remember my friend showing me the TNGHT EP and it blew my mind!” he says.
Yet to play in a festival atmosphere, he’s been enjoying small and intimate crowds which he says his music is designed for.
“When I make music I’m usually picturing a small, sweaty, dank room with everyone just going crazy in it,” he says.
Impressed by artists like What So Not and Mr. Carmack who go after similar vibes at live shows, Pennington has a clear direction he wants to take music on. On his career highlights so far, Jackal’s quick to mention the first time he saw his idols, Skrillex and Diplo play his tracks live.
“I couldn’t tell you how stoked I was when I saw those clips on YouTube,” he says. “And this Australian tour too – if you told me I’d be touring Australia this time last year, I wouldn’t have believed you.”