Having grown up with music – the son of a pianist – AJ Wander was perhaps destined to develop from a household in South London surrounded by instrumentation, to a modern day pop artist.
Performing a kind of driving, emotionally-wraught pop that underwent a breakthrough in 2020, when the single ‘Time Out’ became by a distance his biggest hit, gathering in excess of four million Spotify plays. Post covid, AJ returns with new single ‘Take It All’. Around the launch, we talked about his career to date…
First of all, ‘Time Out’ has done really well – congrats. It’s obviously a hugely personal track. Have your feelings towards it evolved since you wrote it?
I feel pretty distant from the headspace I was in when I wrote the song. Having to accept that something beautiful has run its course is a pretty common place for humans to end up in. It’s a great feeling to know so many people have connected with the song because of this mutual experience.
Judging by the themes of the new single, you’re quite happy to put your emotional side out there. Is this how you connect with music?
Not exclusively, but music is an emotional crutch through tough times and it just so happens I relied on that crutch for the whilst writing the singles I’ve released up to now.
How did ‘When You Say I Love You’ come together, and what’s the story behind it?
I wrote ‘When You Say I love You’ with my mate Geth in Wales. WYSILY is about when someone falls for you too fast and you go along with it just because you don’t want to hurt them. Then finally realising that pretending to be in love isn’t a healthy solution…honesty is the best policy.
Is the contrast between an upbeat feel and some quite self-exploratory lyrics something of a calling card for you?
I think the contrast between sombre lyrical content and anthemic production is definitely something I’m unconsciously drawn towards. However, there’s lots of music on it’s way that’s far less self-explorative…
I understand there’s an EP on the way. What should we expect from it
There is indeed! This EP is going to be a bridge from the music I’ve been releasing up until now and what I will be releasing next. I’m stepping outside of my own head little.
How was working with Brad Mair?
Brad and I have worked together for years now. We met whilst I was in my old band ‘Tors’ and he was the first guy I called to produce my stuff. I love working with Brad, although I think at this point he probably hates me because of my extreme musical indecision….
*DISCLAIMER: My love for working with Brad has nothing to do with with the fact I get to travel to his studio in Barcelona*
Do you have a lot of music on the backburner?
Hmmm…a few albums worth, or one obnoxiously long one.
I assume you intend to do an album at some point down the line. What is the timeline for that, and how much work do you have to do to get there?
YES! I’ve started putting the pieces of this puzzle together, not sure on the
exact timeline…but sometime before I turn 70! Releasing my first album will be a big old emotional step for me as an artist and I want t make sure it fulfils everything I want it to be.
How much does your very musical family background play into what you do today?
So aside from me, it’s actually just my dad that’s musical in my family, although he rarely ever plays any more (he’s a pianist/accordionist). He definitely laid the foundations of my passion for music. I was always surrounded by music as a kid, evenings were spent around the piano whilst the days were filled with listening to my parent’s cassettes and CD’s.
What are your hopes for the future?
Damn, who knows. I’d love to tour the world..even if nobody shows up other than my mum and dad, would still be pretty cool.
I’d also like to own 3 dogs and a yacht that the 4 of us can sail away into the sunset on.