INTERVIEW: Born Stranger



 Born Stranger


FEW come along that stand you to attention…


and make you want to dig deeper. This Is My Life is the latest single from Born Stranger and a song that shows Maddox Jones and Raife Hacking are on the top of their game. I learn more about the duo’s latest song and the story behind it; how they will be spending the rest of this year – and whether they have changed their sound in the past few months.

I ask whether there are any new artists we should keep an ear out for; the tour dates Born Stranger have in the pipeline – and whether there will be an E.P. very soon.


Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?

Maddox Jones: Good, thanks.

It's Tuesday night, all is well; currently walking to our studio to finish a new song. 

For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?

We are Maddox Jones (me) and Raife Hacking - and we are an Electronic-Pop duo from Northampton, U.K. – although, we now prefer to call Devon and London our homes. We are inspired by Pop music that says something different and we love anything from House music to Rock and Roll...

Good songs are always king: it doesn't matter where they come from. 

Is there a special story behind your name, ‘Born Stranger’? Where does that come from?

Well. We are all ‘born strangers’ aren't we?! We are two very different characters: Ying and Yang - that's why it works, I guess. 


Talk to me about This Is My Life. What is the song about, would you say?

This Is My Life is a song for the mavericks and the dreamers: for anyone who doesn't want to conform. It's about having and believing in your own voice. 

You worked with Yoad Nevo on it. What was that experience like?

We still work with him often, and he's great. He feels like a third member of the band! He has helped shape our sound massively!

Would you say you have changed a lot since Fire & the Flame and Be Someone? Do you look to inject something new into each single?

We like every single to stand alone and have its own voice - but be part of our sound as well. I would say we are always evolving and we never want to be tied down to any rules or specific sound.

Pop music is about living in the moment - and we never want to stand still creatively!


Your music has been praised by Chloe Moretz and BBC Introducing. Is it quite an honour getting that sort of praise?

Yes. It's awesome, of course. We love it when our music connects with people. 

Spotify seems to be a place your music goes down well on. Is it beneficial and special being included on their playlists? Is it something you two chase as musicians?!

Yes, Spotify is the new radio, isn't it? Being on Spotify playlists can attract so many new fans - it's amazing. 

I am seeing a lot of duos coming up and replacing bands in terms of popularity. Do you have a theory why this is so?

Less politics and cheaper to travel around?

Haha. Mmmm…I'm not sure. I think more and more people make music in their bedroom now and you don't need a full band to sound like a full band nowadays...songwriting partnerships have always been successful as far back as Lennon and McCartney. 


I guess duos need a solid bond and connection. Do you two get on most of the time or are there ever creative differences?

I'd say we know each other well enough to put up with each other's idiosyncrasies. We used to argue but now we know better - and it's just wasted energy as we both want the same thing! 

You are based out of London but did you two form a band after becoming friends? How did it all come together for you?

We are actually based in London, Devon and Northampton. Ha.

Northampton is where we met and grew up. Raife actually auditioned to be in an old band of mine, Newislands - and we just carried on working together ever since. 

Does Born Stranger have similar tastes in music or do you pull in different directions?

We pull in different directions - but for the common good! 


Can we expect an E.P. or album in 2018, do you reckon?

Mmmm maybe ?! We've got enough material so let's see what happens. We love creating, so if an E.P. feels natural, we will do that. 

What are you chaps up to this Christmas? Do you visit family or have other plans?

Mmm. Family; yes. I think Raife is going to France; I'll probably stay in Northampton and spend it with my girlfriend and family. 


IN THIS PHOTO: Caitlyn Scarlett

Are there any new artists you suggest we check out?

Mmmm - you probably know better than me. Caitlyn Scarlett is awesome; Ruby Francis and Girlhood (too).

 I've been listening to loads of old Classical music lately - so probably not much help to you here. 


Are you touring before the end of the year? Where can we catch you play?

Mmm. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page!

If you each had to select the album that means the most to you; which would they be and why?

Depeche ModeViolator

It’s when I first got into dark Pop music. Enjoy the Silence is my favourite song… was.

Nowadays, I don't have a favourite song I'm always open and love hearing new music I've never heard before.  

What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?

Don't give up, and don't be precious - and do it because you love it!

Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that). 

Girlhood - Bad Decisions 


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