Electronic Artist J.Views Wants You to 'Move' Like You're Not Afraid With New Video: Exclusive
Jonathan Dagan, best known by his stage name J.Views, is a lustrous New York-based producer who creates intimate spaces in sound that are tucked into detailed layers of dazzling synthesizers. Being swept up by the electronic artist’s glistening, swirling tracks means to be whisked away into J.Views’ world that defies creative boundaries both sonically and collaboratively by often calling on his fans to be a part of his artistic experience.
Since J.Views launched his DNA Project campaign (which gave fans access to every step in the production process of his record 401 Days) the recording artist has worked to elapse the borders of fan and musician to illustrate that art shared with the world doesn't have to be complete -- a mission that allows everyone to speak from their heart through their creation.
As J.Views gears up to release his new album 401.1, a deluxe version of his record 401 Days out Oct. 5, today (Aug. 22) the musician shares the video for the track “We Moved (Edit)” featuring Benja Lyman off his upcoming release. Premiering here on Billboard, the new music video is another project from J.Views that illustrates the power of innovation.
The clip -- featuring a concept by J.Views and directed by Tal Zagreba and Niv Shpigel -- includes fan-submitted visuals of everyday people dancing in public places like the subway platform, a snow-dusted park, and even in front of the Kremlin to illustrate just how monumental one’s movement and complete freedom can be. Accompanied by mystical animation to highlight the dancers’ liberation, “We Moved” documents global energy and the defiance of moving through space ceaselessly without fear.
The power of “We Moved” doesn't stop at the video’s end mark, though, because J.Views has teamed up with advocacy organization Global Citizen to expand the project by launching the #WeMove campaign -- a message to the world that says “we move for freedom and peace.” Below, Billboard talks to J.Views about the new video, his movement with Global Citizen, and the philosophy poured wholly into his artistry.
The song itself is about the power of movement and that clearly shows in the video. What about this theme was striking to you and why did you decide to explore it?
I documented the making of the song through a website that I created for this album, and so the song started by talking about being completely free to be able to make mistakes and present something that is maybe incomplete and maybe not everyone will like and be in a space of an open heart. [“We Moved”] started with me seeing an interview with Nina Simone and she’s asked, ‘What is freedom for you?’ and she says, ‘Freedom is no fear.’ It’s such a simple articulation, but I hadn't thought of it like that and then I was like, ‘Oh, my god. Freedom is no fear,’ so that was the initial idea for the song.
When I started to work [on the video], it upgraded itself conceptually because I asked people to move like they’re not afraid all over the world. I got footage from people outside the Kremlin in Russia, outside the Big Ben in Brazil, Mexico, India, Israel. Every editing that we worked on it, there was a segment of me crying. It touched in a place that needed to be touched for so long. It felt like a presentation of global unity to me. When we’re talking about global communication, to me, it felt like we get caught up in words, but when I saw people overcoming their internal demons and embarrassments and just sending their freedom in the middle of the streets of the world, I realized that that was the thing that really presented freedom to me.
You have a history of pushing creative boundaries and getting your fans involved, like with “We Move.” Why is this something that you’re drawn to?
I don’t feel like collaboration or innovation is a thing I’m trying to do, but every time I have a creative output in the studio, I feel like somebody else could have another outlook on that and improve it. I feel like bouncing something off of the world in order to create the actual product is actually pretty cool because the collaborative nature of creating art means there is almost no complete product on my end. Like, presenting something that is 70 percent, and then allowing for collaboration brings some kind of magic. It’s not what I’m trying to do with all of my music, but I keep ending up there.
You’re launching a project with Global Citizen. How did you get connected and how will the “We Moved” be moving forward?
What happened with this video is I got all of this footage and the director, Tal, suggested that we animate the people to embody their light, [or what] is happening when people are dissolving fear. When we finished the music video, it was around the time of the first attempt at [the Trump administration's] travel ban. I felt so helpless. I wanted to reach out to people who are fearful. I wanted to somehow tell them that we are in this together if something happens, but I felt completely helpless. I felt like I was not in the right profession -- all I do is create music and I can’t reach them with what I have in order to tell them that we’re all together. Then, I was like, ‘Hold on. I just did this video and the chorus is, ‘We moved like we’re not afraid,’ and people move like they’re not afraid around the world. [I thought,] ‘If freedom is no fear, maybe I could amplify that notion somehow and make a movement just disrupting the feeling of separation.’
[Eventually I contacted] Global Citizen and we had such a beautiful synergy conceptually. They understood what I wanted to say and they also presented their outlook on this, so they made this movement #WeMove -- we move for freedom, for justice for all. It’s a very unifying, simple message, and Global Citizen is also using this to raise awareness to what’s happening to global cuts [in terms of the current administration cutting federal funding for health care and more abroad.] They cut these funds because of ‘other-ing,’ and they make it ‘they are they other,’ so this is where we connected by saying, ‘We are all the other. We are the other. We do not cut the help when the other is in need.’ We wanted to raise our voice by telling people not to engage in any political discussion, but only move from freedom and express the freedom to move.
How will fans get involved with the #WeMove movement?
Starting Sept. 5 people are going to go out into the streets of the world and just dance, then share their videos with #WeMove and inspire others to do that. Hopefully we will have a big amount of people dancing in order to express their freedom to move, expressing their freedom to say, ‘We matter,’ reminding world leaders that we will not be pushed. It’s a very non-linear, non-raising money kind of thing just to support a certain energy on the planet. If I did a tiny, tiny change and if we all do that, I would be so happy. That’s what feels like my mission is -- just let people speak from their hearts for a second.
Watch the video for “We Moved (Edit)" featuring Benja Lyman below and check out J.Views’ upcoming tour dates.
Nov. 1 - Washington, D.C. @ Rock & Roll Hotel
Nov. 2 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
Nov. 3 - Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right
Nov. 4 - Boston, MA @ Great Scott
Nov. 5 - Montreal, QC @ Petit Campus
Nov. 7 - Toronto, ON @ Drake Hotel
Nov. 8 - Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern
Nov. 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
Nov. 10 - Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room
Nov. 11 - Denver, CO @ Hi Dive
Nov. 14 - Seattle, WA @ Sunset Tavern
Nov. 16 - Portland, OR @ Holocene
Nov. 18 - San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
Nov. 20 - Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room
Nov. 21 - Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Theater