by Chandler Christopher

Today we will be taking a look at Jacco Gardner, a multi-instrumentalist and musically technological wizard. Soaked in the psychedelia of the ‘60s, Jacco Gardner’s music aims to be experimental with its complex sounds. Jacco, who was born and raised in a small town outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has bounced around multiple European countries, recently making the move from Portugal to Belgium. As a child, Jacco was influenced by his musical family, riding his bike into town every day to attend music school. As the time came to graduate from adolescence, Jacco was torn between going to school for music or visual arts, being that he felt a strong pull towards both. It was decided that he would study audio engineering, eventually leading to the conception of Jacco Gardner’s first album, Cabinet of Curiosities. Following this, Jacco really began to take his career in music seriously. Prior to the first addition to Jacco Gardner’s catalogue, the young rock ‘n’ roller played in a “‘60s freak beat duo.” Jacco played the keys and drums and often toured in Spain and Portugal with the group, priming him for the hundreds of shows the future held. 

Q: What/who inspired your distinguishable, psychedelic sound?

A: I remember discovering early Submachine and Pink Floyd around the time I was 17. The first recordings I did when I started to record were inspired by those albums. I found a very colorful sound that captured my attention. It made me curious as to what they used and how they created those sounds.

Jacco’s senior thesis for his audio engineering degree revolved around the acoustics of the ‘60s psych scene. He spent an entire day in the studio with a Dutch, garage-rock band that was experimenting with these sounds, observing their process and interviewing members of the band. Jacco focused pointedly in his attempt to suck up all of the knowledge, trying to remember the details of the set up of their mics, compressors, amps, etc. During this experience, a limiter which was created and used by one of the members of the band directly influenced Jacco. He became enthused with the sound the limiter produced, ultimately using it to record the entirety of his first record.

Q: What’s it like playing and releasing under your real name?

A: To be honest, sometimes I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to use my real name. I noticed that oftentimes people would connect me as a person to my music and it began to distract me from the music. The music itself seemed to come second and it all started to become about branding me and my name. 

Upon the realization that Jacco was beginning to be distracted from the music, he made a conscious effort to readjust his melodic cornerstone. He moved away from the more pop type songs that had been popular and started producing tracks with heavy instrumentation and little to no lyrics. Jacco explained that this felt much more authentic and natural for him. His latest record, Somnium, helped him to feel more liberty by conceptualizing the album as a whole, aiding in Jacco’s shift in mindset. 

Jacco has used his time during the pandemic to reeducate himself on different aspects of music technology. Certain discoveries, such as the tech used by different electronic and cosmic synth artists of the ‘70s and ‘80s, have heavily influenced his upcoming project. Some of these artists, Jacco found, developed and wrote their own composition softwares onto one of the first at-home computers, an Atari ST. These song-producing softwares were revolutionary for the way music is made today, symbolizing a significant turn in the recording industry. Jacco has since acquired one of these computers for himself and will be recording the entirety of his next record on it. Driven by a deep yearning for musical research and technological discovery, Jacco Gardner is emblematic of why music will forever continue to evolve. Be on the lookout for his upcoming project to hear some exciting new, experimental sounds!

Check out some of Jacco Gardner's tunes and support artists by following him on his socials linked below! :)