Before they performed at City Hall this Saturday, we landed an interview with one of the founding members of Air Dubai. Jon Shockness took the time to answer some of the questions we had about the band. First we asked him how they got their name. He said there are a lot of stories around the name, but "truthfully it was Julien's brainchild. He was going to go solo and be 'Air Dubai' but really that sounded more like a group name." From there, the group formed and the name stuck.
When we asked him what he thought of the Denver music scene, Jon said there's really not a lack of music, but of a fanbase. There's a group of committed local fans and then people who know nothing about the local scene; there's really no in between. He commented on their trip to South by Southwest, saying that himself, Lawrence and Wesley had played on a downtown Austin street corner to try and earn some cash before they left; it had been inspiring to see everyone in a central location to celebrate music. In Denver, he said, we have Westword and UMS becoming bigger every year, with local plus national acts bringing a perfect melding of the two central themes Westword embodies. "We've never gotten like Kanye or anything, but even that would be cool to see," Jon told us.
We asked Jon about his musical influences, and he said Air Dubai never really tries to emulate or copy, but they try to write about life and what they've been through. They did grow up around some musical greats though, and a wide range of influences from Stevie Wonder and Marvyn Gaye to Passion Pit and Foals were listed. In line of being influenced by other musicians, we asked if Air Dubai had ever received any sage advice from the hip-hop heavyweights they've worked with. Jon said that though they know they have those people as resources if they need them, most of the inspiration they get comes from watching artists they aspire to be like. "Nobody ever sat us down or anything, we mostly just watch other artists. Like the BLKHRTS today, I'd love to add the element of energy that they have, or the Epilogues."