Jack & Jack on How Jonas Blue Inspired Their New Music and Desire For Radio Play: 'We Want to Write in a Different Mindset'
The duo released their latest single “No One Compares To You” on Oct. 5.
Since releasing their first track in 2014, rising pop duo Jack & Jack have created songs that fuse their love of hip-hop and R&B with pop, focusing less on making radio hits and more on the kind of music they love. But once dance-pop producer Jonas Blue recruited the pair for his most recent international smash “Rise,” they realized the kind of impact one song could have.
“It was an amazing experience to show that if you target just the mainstream, you can effect so many people in a positive way,” Gilinsky says of “Rise.” “We didn't want to stray to far away from that kind of sound.”
“Rise” is a dance tune with a positive message, one that took Jack & Jack – who both grew up in Nebraska and have known each other since they met in kindergarten at the age of six – around the world. And now, they’re looking to do the same with their own single, "No One Compares To You."
Jack & Jack (Jack Johnson and Jack Gilinsky, both 22) just released the track on Oct. 5, their most dance floor-ready tune yet. It's the kickoff to their next project, which the guys promise is coming at the top of next year.
Those who loved Jack & Jack’s impassioned, more R&B-influenced tracks need not fear that “Rise” has fully transitioned the duo into the dance world, however, as most of the project -- which will include acoustic sounds, R&B and hip-hop driven tunes, and “definitely some pop songs,” as Johnson teases -- was written prior to the release of “Rise.” But delivering a dance-inspired track as a follow-up to “Rise” was exactly how Jack & Jack wanted to segue into their next wave. The guys both admit that their previous music was so honest that, at times, it got a little too real and down-tempo.
“We wrote from a real place where we were super emotional, and sometimes that takes a lot out of you, to perform [those songs] over and over again,” Gilinsky suggests. “Love the songs, [but] the whole time I'm performing I'm thinking of those bad times. When we perform these up-tempo, fun songs, it kind of takes me out of real life. It allows me to just have a good time on stage.”
Ironically, “No One Compares To You” was down-tempo when Jack & Jack initially heard the track -- written by Jake Torrey (Kiiara, PRETTYMUCH), Michael Matosic (Lauv) and TMS (Maroon 5, Dua Lipa) -- in June. While the acoustic guitar on the track was pleasant enough, Johnson admits, “It was a little underwhelming. We were like, ‘Where's the stuff that makes it boppy and upbeat?’ If we want to make it a radio song, we might as well go all in and make it a true smash.”
The song is still in line with Jack & Jack's earlier material lyrically, as “No One Compares To You” is a message to a former lover that they’re irreplaceable. “Every time I think I've found somebody/ I just wish that somebody was you,” the duo sings on the chorus.
Backing a story of heartbreak with an infectious beat and a lighthearted beat drop is exactly the kind of impact “Rise” had on Jack & Jack, and Johnson insists that their experience with Jonas Blue will influence more tracks down the line.
“Watching the success of ‘Rise’ and how many people it has affected definitely makes us want to write in a different mindset,” Johnson says. “Our last few projects and songs have been pretty down-tempo R&B, pretty depressing themes, and I think it's definitely going to get us out of that shell and expand what we want to talk about in our music.”
Jack & Jack’s first brush with radio play came earlier this year with their wavy single “Beg,” which landed them in the top 30 of Billboard's Pop Songs chart in March. Though “Rise” didn’t reach as high on the radio chart, its 260 million Spotify streams (and No. 1 peak on the Dance Club Songs chart last month) prove its global impact. And now, Jack & Jack are hoping to combine chart and streaming success with “No One Compares To You” -- and beyond.
“We want a couple of radio hits in the next year that are just massive smashes,” Gilinsky declares. “Obviously we want to go global, but we really want to penetrate America. Jonas opened up that whole European lane for us, so we really want to hit America hard. We want to be playing our smashes at award shows, and everybody knows us. That's the dream -- to have everybody know our songs and love our songs.”
“I think we just want to take over the world, at the end of the day -- not in a supervillain type of way,” Johnson clarifies with a laugh. “In terms of impacting people and showing people that it doesn't matter where you're from. You can do whatever from wherever.”
Sixteen years ago, the music-loving kindergartners never thought that their passion would take them around the world. But now that “Rise” has brought that idea to fruition, they’re ready for more.
“We're just trying to make our fans proud and keep it going,” Johnson says. “We want to make sure all of this groundwork we put in isn't all for nothing.”