There is no questioning that a national lockdown often brings out the worst in us and offers very little positive work, especially in creative fields. Throughout this pandemic only a few good moments come to mind that we must be thankful for; Captain Sir Tom Moore raising over £15million for the NHS, four lads in jeans becoming a national meme, Piers Morgan storming out of his own morning show.
But there is one iconic moment that is not being talked about enough! A1 (15) and J1 (17) meeting for the first time online. The two young boys from Coventry and Kent respectively have used their talent, energy and charisma to build a core fan base and arguably the song for summer 2021. Both A1 and J1 have fittingly stayed ahead of the ‘latest trends’ (title of their debut single) by initially releasing snippets of the song on TikTok which gained so much attraction they were forced to finish the song and release it.
The full-length song is now official out with over 6 million views on their YouTube channel and almost 17 million streams on Spotify. With its catchy hook and playful lyrics there was no doubt in either of their minds that they produced a hit song. I caught up with both of them to talk about their origin story, new single and future plans.
Can you recap the story of how you teamed up for the readers?
J1 – Cool, so have you heard of house party? A1 was in a room (virtual) with a couple females and I went to join it to see what was going on. We weren’t friends we just had mutuals. We started speaking and I found out he was a rapper, I was like ‘oh mad ting’ and went to his Insta and I liked his talent so we followed each other and been talking ever since.
A1 – It was literally by chance we were on the same house party
Before you two had met, what stage of development were your careers in?
A1 – I just started, so when I met J1 I literally just started posting freestyles on Instagram. I only had one, it was my first one when I met J1.
J1 – I was just posting freestyles on Instagram as well, recording a bit. I had like three freestyles on my page at the time, seeing what people liked and thought of my talent. I was getting around 7/8k views on them which was good.
How did you start the recordings for ‘latest trends’ while living through a pandemic and being a couple hours away?
J1 – It was CRAZY, A1 went to record. The song was only a minuet like his part and then he sent it to me and I said I would hop on it as it was short already. I went to a studio in my area mixed it together then boom, posted it on TikTok.
A1 – When we made the song J1’s audio was terrible, so we re-recorded it and that was the first time we actually met each other.
How was it meeting for the first time?
A1 – We met in Coventry and basically (starts laughing) I saw J1 and saw how tall he was and I just started laughing. He made me feel so short. But after meeting him for quite some time I got used to his height.
J1 – It was the longest journey in my life. Definitely worth it though! It was a fun day.
Whose idea was it to first release it on TikTok initially? Did you know it was going to go so viral?
J1 – A1 didn’t want to post it at all but I was like nah they have to hear this so I screen recorded it and posted it.
A1 – I was so annoyed at him. I was like ‘what you doing? Why are you posting it on TikTok?’ and then it popped off and now I have to say thank you to J1 ‘ahah!’
J1 – I didn’t know it was going to go viral, I just wanted to see what people would think about it. It was always my plan to post it on TikTok regardless.
What’s the most random video you have seen using the latest trends sound?
A1 – I think the one where someone gulped a whole drink in one go.
J1 – Yeah, the one where the guy has two monsters (drink) and pours it in a cup and takes it down in one.
You are both extremely young artists so I am curious to find out who your musical influences are?
J1 – Santan Dave, he’s a big one for me. I like what he talks about.
A1 – Same, I literally watched Dave from a young age. He definitely is one of my inspirations. I can relate to him to a certain extent.
In such a short space of time your careers have really accelerated, what has been the most defining moment for each of you?
A1 – Mine is just going studio and just seeing people I looked up to. Like I went to the studio and saw Tiffany (Calver) and I was like ‘Woah,’ Tiffany is just there casually.
J1 – Yeah that was a mad experience still. Also 1 million streams on Spotify. I was with A1 when it touched 1 million as well.
A1 – Every time it’s been hitting a million we’ve been with each other. It’s been crazy.
Your music video was released earlier this year, what was it like being on your first production together along with some of your mates?
J1 – It was very fun!
A1 – Nah, you know what it is. At first with the bedroom scene I came in and at first, I was a bit taken back because there was so many cameras in my face. Then after half hour I got used to it and realised this is a fun thing and a great experience.
J1 – We wanted to bring TikTok into it but the main idea was the story of how he texted me the verse.
A1 – Yeah at first, we are not with each other so we were sort of showing the story of how we met.
What has your new-found fame been like during lockdown?
A1 – The best part, for me, is like people I have looked up to have messaged me showing support. I haven’t really felt any type of fame yet. I don’t feel famous. We have a long way to go.
J1 – I try to interact with fans over lockdown. I duet with them on TikTok, chat with them on DM and we go live on Instagram to speak to them as well.
A1 – We also play PS4 with them.
Are there girls in the DMs?
A1 X J1 – (Both burst out laughing) ‘DTG for life man’
What does that mean?
J1 – ‘Uh oh’
A1 – ‘DON’T. TRUST. GIRLS.’
What can we expect to hear from you going forward?
A1 X J1 – (At the EXACT same time) ‘More Bangerz!’
You guys have obviously never performed together, will we see that this summer?
A1 – We’re playing the patients game right now with festivals and shows we will have to wait and see. But we just want to perform, even if it’s just in front of 5 people.
J1 – I feel our first performance together will just be mad energy. We will love it.
How has your careers impacted your school life and future plans?
A1 – ‘Ahahaah’
J1 – They just sing our song non-stop on teams.
What would be your dream collaboration?
A1 X J1 – Dave or Stormzy 100%
Have you thought about the next milestone / accomplishment you hope to achieve in the near future?
J1 – Number one in the charts man.
A1 – Yeah number one. We want those plaques.
Once lockdown and restrictions are over how are you going to enjoy your success?
J1 – I wanna fly out, maybe Dubai.
A1 – ‘You’re feeling expensive J1 yeah?’ Yeah Dubai sounds nice I want that experience that everyone’s talking about.
Finally, what is your creative process for making these bangers and what is the sound you look to represent going forward?
A1 – It’s amazing because we…
A1 X J1 – (finishing off where A1 started) bounce off each other
A1 – If I’m struggling I have someone to turn to
J1 – Yeah, It’s the same. The chemistry is just there.
It was clear to see the understanding these two boys had between them, they even joked with me about finishing each other sentences. They both possessed very infectious personalities and with their talent, creativity and most importantly humility the potential for A1 X J1 is unquestionable. As a team, each individual brings a different dynamic while being on the same page creatively which is a recipe for, as they said, MORE BANGERZ!
Seeing as they only knew each other for a few months I decided to put them to the test with a quick game finding out how well they actually know one another. Remember J1 is answering about A1 and vice versa (all their answers are right unless in brackets).
J1 ‘size 7’
J1 ‘Maya Jamma’
A1 ‘I don’t know’ (Stefflon Don)
Most worn brand?
How many followers on Instagram?
J1 ‘Papa Johns’
A1 ‘McDonald’s 20 chicken nuggets’
Vexes him most?
J1 ‘Don’t know A1’ (People who talk too much)
A1 ‘When J1 gets woken up’
Snapchat or Instagram?
J1 ‘Nah A1 airs all his messages on snap, Insta still’
A1 ‘Snap 100%’
J1 ‘Don’t lie you wanted to be Ben 10’ (Spider-man)
A1 ‘What did you want to be?’ (Power ranger)
Go listen and watch A1 X J1 single ‘latest trends’ and make sure you follow the boys to keep updated with their work. The remix to their single features the one and only Aitch and is set to drop Thursday 11th of March. We all look forward to hearing what’s more they have in store!
A1 — @a1orfundz
J1 — @j1mulla
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