Blurring the lines between soft rock and soulful pop, Maddox Jones dives into growth, romance, and independence on his debut album, Believe It, a 12-song exploration of freedom and building the life you want to live. From writing songs on a strict Christian commune to getting signed as a member of The Departure, from dealing with addiction to truly finding himself, the common thread through Maddox’s life has been his love of music and his passion for using it as an escape route to mold his struggles into something palpable.
Believe It blends everything from synths and 80s pop vibes to the twang and bounce of 2000s pop-country, with sonic influences ranging from Coldplay to The Weeknd. And if that sounds intriguing, it’s because it is! Lucky for us, Maddox gave us some exclusive commentary about each song to give us a deeper perspective on the lyrics and production process. Press play and let’s jump right into what he had to say about the record!
“Ready To Be Better”
I remember picking up my guitar New Year’s Eve 2020 and I was in a place where I was pretty much sick of my own s**t. I decided to write a song about exactly where I was at that time. I looked at the time on my phone, took a deep breath and let the words pour out of me. “It’s a quarter past 3 on New Year’s Eve, but it could be any day from the past few years. I’m skating on ice, fighting my vices, yeah.” I was partying too much and felt like I’d been pretty selfish in a lot of ways. It’s basically like an extrapolated version of waking up with a hangover saying “I’m never drinking again.” I felt like I’d let people down and I wanted to say sorry.
I’ve been sitting on this song for a minute but 2 years deep into Covid, it feels relevant in a whole new way, I think we’re all ready to be better. The song was recorded originally with David Crawford at Plastic Tree Studios, and then I took it to Billy Lockett for a bit of extra production and backing vocals. Then it was sent to Louis Souyave for some additional production and mixing and we went back and forth on it a bit. This song took a while to finish and it was only when we added the real guitars and bass that it really came together.
This song was written late 2021 towards the end of the album writing process. I had an energy healing session, which brought up a lot of things from my past, and I wrote “Monsters” as a letter to my younger self. It’s warm and comforting and has a bit of a lullaby feel to it. I wrote this track with Hannah Munro and then took it to Louis Souyave and recorded it. There was some extra production and guitars added by David Crawford as well.
This is a song about my ex-girlfriend. The breakup really f**king hurt, to be fair. I was pretty broken at the start, however, after a few weeks had passed and I was starting to get over it, I could see more clearly that we probably weren’t right together. I was walking down the street and the melody and lyrics pretty much came to me all in one go. I ran the last bit of the way home and sat down at the piano. It’s in 3/4 timing which is pretty different for me, I’m usually a standard 4/4 kinda guy. The song is about coming to terms with a heart-wrenching breakup and sending love to the other person anyway. I wrote and recorded this in 2020 at Plastic Tree Studios and it was mixed by Louis Souyave. We recorded the piano on a real piano to give it that warm sound, which was a treat.
This is a whimsical and epic love song about a powerful, magical girl who you can’t help but be in awe of. I was influenced by the solid songwriting of Hall and Oates on this one as well as the Coldplay and Weeknd records, both of which tip their hats to the 80s in production and writing style. This was written in October 2021 with Hannah Munro and recorded with Louis Souyave at his home studio in London. It started out really 80s, kinda like The Cars or something, and then we added some synths (I went to Plastic Tree Studios to add the big warm synths on the chorus) and make it sound a bit more like The Weeknd. Love how it turned out.
“God Damn, I’m Happy”
A sweet and lighthearted love song. This one has an 80s soul vibe to the beat. I wrote this in about 10 minutes. It’s a bit tongue in cheek. The message is “God damn, is this it? Have I found the one?” It’s kinda about that moment when you are romanticizing a new relationship, picturing shared Netflix accounts, and wondering if this is it. This was first produced at Plastic Tree Studios, but when I sent it to the label they could hear a certain type of beat on it, so Jurgen Korduletsch and Guiseppe D finished that one off.
“Somewhere There’s A Plan”
Written and produced alongside David Crawford, I wrote this song during full lockdown and I wanted to create a track that offered some joy and hope amidst the uncertainty of everything that was going on. The track itself is influenced by the 70s style, uplifting funk of The Brothers Johnson mixed with the more recent sound of Daft Punk and Caribou. The message is that no matter what you are going through, just believe that “somewhere there’s a plan, believe it.” The track features some of my very good friends: Lewis Cardinal sits in on bass and guitar, whilst Christian Pinchbeck (Girlhood) on the saxophone gives the last chorus an epic lift. This song is a straight-up party. This took ages to finish and production-wise was a collab between Dave Crawford and Jurgen and Giuseppe.
“Big Brown Eyes”
Produced by Dave Crawford with some extra production by Louis Souyave, this one is a slow jam. This is about those times when you don’t feel so connected in a relationship, and want to fix things. The lyric “even if we’re dancing all night long” is a metaphor for arguing; it’s about wanting to get to the end of the argument and be stronger.
“Make Me Yours”
This is an intimate one, a bit dark and sexy. It’s about opening up to being vulnerable in relationships and letting someone hold you fully in those moments of surrender. This one I wrote with Hannah Munro and then took it to Louis Souyave’s studio and recorded it, just piano and vocal, and Louis built up the production around that. Finished this one last summer and I love the darkness of it.
“How To Be Happy”
This is a dark one, there’s no denying. Sometimes we humans just want to experience the full spectrum of emotions; this song is about regret, sadness, doubt and fear. The chorus pleads for help – “does someone know how to be happy?” It’s thankfully not how I feel most of the time, but I think it’s the job of music to explore all kinds of feelings, express them as fully as possible. I recorded this with Dave Crawford at Plastic Tree Studios in 2020 some time and then Louis Souyave mixed it for the album.
This is about subconscious beliefs and shadow work, making the unconscious conscious. Some say our deepest fears might actually be getting exactly what we want, rather than not getting it. How scary it would be to believe that I might actually be powerful like the wildest animal. This was a latecomer to the album and finished, like, November / December 2021. I wrote it on piano at home and then worked on it with Dave at Plastic Tree Studios. We loved creating the Wall of Sound guitars. Again, it was mixed by Louis Souyave who also added a few bits of extra production, I believe.
I wrote this at 7.30 in the morning one day early in 2021. I was doing this practice called morning pages – you wake up and write 3 pages of whatever comes to mind, it’s meant to make you more creative. I was also listening to a lot of Taylor Swift’s folklore album and going on long walks around that time. This song is about being committed to your hopes and dreams, it ends on the affirmation “I’ll never stop dreaming, I’ll never give in.” It’s one of those songs where the lyrics just came to me, and I can’t really logically describe what they mean, but it just works. Recorded this one at Plastic Tree Studios with Dave Crawford the day after it was written. Love the depth and simplicity in the sound of this one.
“Lost In The Moment” (feat. Lewis Cardinal)
This was written with my good friend Lewis Cardinal, who also sings on the track. We had been doing a lot of acoustic live streams during the first lockdown to pass the time and connect with people whilst there was no opportunity to play live gigs. We wrote it over FaceTime in autumn 2020. The verse describes a guy busking and how you can find beauty in the small things if you just simply look around and take it all in. This is a song about the joy of sharing these experiences with someone you love deeply, feeling present and in the moment, “lost in the moment with someone who’s feeling it too.” I don’t see Lewis often but he came up to Northampton last July or so, and we recorded it in an evening at Plastic Tree Studios. I love the way our voices work together, this is a special track.
Thank you so much to Maddox Jones for giving us more insight into each song on the album! What was your favorite track? Let us know in the comments below or link up with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! You can find Believe It on your favorite streaming services now and get to know Maddox on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.