He doesn’t exactly behave like a young teen nor does he even speak like one. At the tender age of 13, Singapore-based Welsh-born, Chris Jones, must have traded his young teenage soul with an old wise man up in some foggy mountain area in Swansea.
“I get that quite a bit, people always say I’ve an old soul,” says Jones while his gaze somehow meandering slightly as if quizzing that’s a good or bad thing.
But there’s no time to ponder such banal philosophies. Not when at age seven, the indie gods christened him ‘These Brittle Bones’ and beckoned him to start tinkering with the ivories and within a year later, to write and record his first EP, Leaving the Woods, in his bedroom.
Fast forward the imaginary tape to 2012, and Jones is working on his second EP (which may evolve into a full album) but no longer with struggles to find the best recording techniques.
These days he’s hanging out at Snakeweed Studies with well-known music producer Leonard Soosay who has helped to produce popular local bands such as I am David Sparkle, The Great Spy Experiment and Caracal to name a few.
“Leonard has been extremely helpful and generous in terms of expanding my sound and making it bigger. For example, we recorded this song but I felt as if I could take the track a lot further. He introduced me to some wonderful local musicians, who then contributed to the track and helped make the finished product sound a million times better,” Jones says.
It’s easy to dismiss the young lad’s music as hipster drivel. But it’s not.
His haunting and emotive vocals dissect his piano melodies in dark tones that, admittedly, are not easily palatable by the average mainstream music listener perhaps, but then again, Jones is no ordinary kid and his music is not for the regular LMFAO or Nickelback crowd.
The Music Video
Blessed with lyrical, musical and vocal abilities, Jones now is armed with one hell of a debut music video – shot in his seaside home town of Mumbles in Swansea over a week in July.
And he had the help of his producer Soosay as well as popular director of photography, Gerald Stahlmann.
“Just as I was leaving Changi Airport and stepping onto a plane to take me to the UK for the summer in June, I got a Facebook message from Gerald and Leonard saying they would like to come shoot the video in the rolling hills of the Gower in my home town.
‘Anchor Bleed’ - These Brittle Bones
All the early mornings and standing round in the rain was incredibly worth it for the video. We even had a car crash in the making of it. But it was all worth it,” says Jones.
Stahlmann who was a popular musician in the late 90s with his band Sherene’s Closet, fell in love with the lead track of the upcoming EP, ‘Anchor Bleed’, when long-time friend Soosay let him hear it at Snakeweed Studios.
“It is an honest piece of music written by a very talented singer/songwriter. His music is also very visual. I can sense it when I listen to his songs because I am a director of photography and a songwriter as well. He has good melodies and strong lyrics and I find that lacking in the music we hear on the radio these days,” Stahlmann says.
It took just one week for both men to decide and travel to Wales.
“It was impromptu and we didn't really have an idea what we wanted to shoot. We went back to Chris’s hometown to feel the space and all the ideas came from when we were in Swansea for a week. With a track like this, it's hard to go wrong...we just wanted the whole shooting process to be unplanned and organic. A lot different from the kind of commercial and corporate work that I normally do over here,” says Stahlmann.
Extremely focused on his music, Jones now has gone one stratum up among the unsigned army of the indie music fraternity.
In July, he had a meeting in London with a top talent management agency which he doesn’t want to name at the moment.
That’s not bad for a lad who is still too young to drink his country’s most famous liquid exports.
Whatever happens, the student who is enrolled in an international school in Singapore, is as grounded as they come, without letting ambition control his life.
“I would like to be doing music for as long as I can. It is my only hobby, and it’s what I feel the strongest in. As long as I am proud of the music, I will release it – and listeners are just an amazing added bonus. Although I know I have to finish school, but I definitely know that music will always be the path I take,” he says.
Currently, his entire family is based in Singapore. His father, Richard Jones, is working at a bank here.
And the senior Mr Jones is quick to add that mom and pop have had nothing much to do with Chris’s musical abilities.
“This is definitely something that Chris has gained by nature rather than nurture. Whilst we both love listening to music, neither of us plays an instrument or can sing,” he confesses.
But the support the young Jones is getting from his parents, has no doubt, played an integral part to help bloom the scatterings of his musical notes into meaningful coda – be it in a bedroom studio or at a professional one.
“We want Chris to be happy in whatever he does. At the moment he is managing to balance the demands of his studies and his music. Chris still is young so has plenty of time to decide what he wants to do in the future and hopefully he will continue to do we at school so that he has plenty of opportunities when he has to decide on a future career,” says Jones’ father.
Busy checking out the local music scene when he can and constantly working on his music, the teenager with an extremely normal and average name has already accomplished some impressive feats – that is already setting him apart from the other millions of boys called Chris or Jones.