An Afternoon with Jade Statues

With the aesthetic of Yung Lean and musical styles reminiscent of Brian Eno or Baths, Mountainous Collective is probably the most interesting group of youth in the Lower Mainland. With a roster including Phantom Head Trip, Slippery Jibberish, Brittney Appleby, and Sol Speech, among many others, the collective has earned notoriety in the underground Vancouver music scene, especially amongst their fellow youth. But recently, the group has begun to rise to new heights. After de facto leader Jade Statues (FKA the Oneiroscopist)  landed a gig opening for Swedish rapper Yung Lean, more and more people have begun to note the collective, and especially Jade Statues, real name Jacob Sexsmith.

When we met with Sexsmith, a group of people nearby were LARPing–Live Action Role Playing– which basically translates to hitting each other with fake swords while screaming. Sexsmith, holding his longboard with his feet, was staring, laughing, and cheering them on as their imaginary battle raged. He almost seemed like he wanted to join them. The music of Jade Statues, after all, seems to be a bit about escapism. It’s meant to make the listener feel like they are in another place, another time, whether that be on a beach, in a building, or even outer space. Sexsmith’s bassy, psychedelic electronica paints a picture– it’s just up to you to decide what that picture is.

LL: What’s happening with Jade Statues right now?

JS: A lot of shows this month. Like, almost too many. This is the highest number of shows that I’ve ever taken in one month so it’s like, stressful but awesome at the same time. I’m opening for Yung Lean on Friday, so that should be rowdy and hilarious.

How did you even get that gig?

I literally just tweeted. Like, one tweet. I saw the announcement on Twitter before I ever saw it on Facebook, so I just tweeted at Winnie Cooper, and then one of the organizers hit me up once the all-ages thing went through and was just like “Hey dude, wanna play?”

So that’s the power of Twitter, huh?

I guess so!

Have you spoken to Yung Lean at all?

Nah, but it’s his birthday today so I think I’m gonna get him a birthday present as a surprise.

Awww. He also just name-dropped Vancouver in a song, right?

I know! Of all the cities in the world! That’s so sick.

Now, you used to be known as the Oneiroscopist. What inspired the change of name?

It was a really complicated thing to say, so changing it was almost a business move. It was just really hard to say, so even when we put it on posters and stuff people would just be like “What? How do you say that?” So I wanted something that I thought I could hype more easily. Jade Statues is easily digestible, but still sounds pretty cool. And it’s also my initials.

Is there any stylistic difference between the Oneiroscopist and Jade Statues, or is it the same music under a different name?

A bit of both, I would say. The Oneiroscopist was the name I started making music under, so everything I put out under that name was constantly different and evolving, and Jade Statues is kinda a more evolved version of that. It’s like the Raichu of the equation.

That’s beautiful. You use a lot of vocal samples in your music. Some are from songs, but where else do you look for samples?

Everywhere! Acapellas are a huge source of samples. I’ll download acapellas of popular songs just to get little words or snippets without needing a backing instrumental or anything like that behind it. But I’ll also use anime, cartoons, random Youtube videos, just anything.

One guy you sampled was a chopped n screwed rapper named Yung Simmie. How’d you find him?

I can’t even remember….oh! I heard about him via DJ Smokey, because he had produced tracks for him. I had been messing with Smokey’s stuff for a while, and I think he reposted it or something and was like “prod. DJ Smokey”. So shout out to DJ Smokey and Youtube.

Funny thing is, it worked really well. Would you ever produce for rappers?

I want to! I don’t wanna say anything, but I’ve been hitting people up to get some dope collaborations and features happening soon. So to answer your question, completely. I really want to get into that.

You’re the de facto leader of Mountainous Collective. For those less educated out there, what is that?

It’s a collective of young people making art, and it’s basically an outlet for our ventures. We throw shows, use it as a digital label off of bandcamp, and yeah. It’s just an art and music collective. We’re trying to get into interactive experiences in the future, some more visuals and maybe stuff like video games.

If you had to equate each member of Mountainous Collective to a member of the Justice League, how would that go down?

Oh shit. Can it not be the Justice League? That’s DC right? Like, Superman and Batman?

Do you want the Avengers instead?

Nah….ok wait, yeah I’ll take the Avengers. This is a really tough question. I think Gabe Pascale-Hawkwind would be Iron Man. Brodie (Slippery Jibberish) I think would be Thor, but that’s just because he looks like Thor. I think he’s more like a Spiderman. I’m trying to think who would be the Hulk, but everyone is so scrawny and awkward. Probably Jacob Schwinghammer (Inverness, AKA Big Dolph) would be the Hulk. Who else is in the Avengers? Is the Green Lantern in there?

You’ve got that arrow guy, Black Widow…

Brittney Appleby is definitely Black Widow.

Captain America?

I’m gonna say Paul (Phantom Head Trip) would be Captain America. Oh my god, I don’t know who Aidan (Sol Speech) would be.

He could be that dude who died and made everyone really sad in the movie.

[laughter] It’s either that or the arrow dude. Can Aidan be the guy who Samuel L. Jackson was? Fury? Awesome. I feel like Mountainous actually has more members than the Justice League or the Avengers. We’re trying to keep it at around 9 members in real life, but we have a netclub that reaches out to loads of people throughout the world. I can’t leave out Connor (Pepulli Pulsum) though… is the Flash in the Avengers?

Let’s just go with that.

Alright, Connor would be an awesome Flash. That was really hard.

There you have it folks, your Mountainous Avengers. Speaking of them, how do collaborations between members occur, and how often do compilations come out?

We actually did that I think for New Years last year, but we wanna do it again and make it a more serious thing where we actually all make something new for the compilation. I think we wanna put out a compilation soon. As for collaborations, people just hit each other up. We’ve got a group on facebook and people kinda just post stupid shit and hit each other up all the time. It’s easy to get in touch with people.

We see a lot of drone, electronica, some hip hop, and chopped n’ screwed in your music, but where do your personal influences come from?

That sounds pretty accurate as far as my music goes. I love electronica, and got into it from Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin like everyone else, along with help from Warp Records and Flying Lotus and stuff. And I got more into rap music and the H-Town, DJ Screw style. And then it comes back to Warp Records and Brian Eno. When I put up the Celestial EP, the goal was to make celestial-sounding bass-heavy ambient music that people could still dance to. Mind expanding stuff.

The fun question: A lot of artists go through a few names before choosing a final name. What’s the worst name you’ve played under or considered playing under?

Damn, that’s hard because I’ve barely considered any names, and I’ve really only had two official ones. I was never one of those dudes who played a million shows under a lot of different names and was generally all over the map. Maybe I wish I was a little bit. Before I became the Oneiroscopist, I wanted to use rxtah* , but looking back I changed from the Oneiroscopist because it was so hard to pronounce, so that would’ve been a disaster.

What’s next?

I wanna put out an EP or something for the Internet label Dream Catalogue, which is kinda like vaporwave 80s saturated visual aesthetic, rather than music. One of my favourite releases from them is just a bunch of slowed down 80s samples with a wine commercial in the middle. It’s a concept album about spending a week in a five star hotel. But yeah, I’m releasing a video game for them as well as an album as soon as all these shows are finished. Shoutout Mountainous Collective. Shoutout Yung Hermit. Shoutout the sky. Shoutout to the people LARPing.

*spelled like that but with a “u” somewhere in it. Sexsmith could not identify the location of said u.

Photo credit to Ariana Molly Photography.

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