Catching Up with Jxdn: TikTok Fame, Playing When We Were Young 2022 & His “Super Power,” Travis Barker

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

“I don’t really care how people feel about me, I care about how people feel.” That’s the overall message put out by Jxdn, otherwise known as Jaden Hossler, one of the youngest acts on the bill for the When We Were Young Festival, the emo/pop-punk extravaganza put on by Live Nation at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds this past weekend.

Hossler, 21, a breakout star from the social media platform TikTok who rose to quick fame in 2019 before pivoting to a music career, is currently caught in the midst of a wave of popularity that he hopes extends well past the present day. His debut full-length, Tell Me About Tomorrow, was released in July 2021, and he continues to release new music with an eye on the future.

jxdn - Tell Me About Tomorrow (Mod)

Thanks to the mentorship of none other than Travis Barker, pop-punk royalty himself in Blink-182 and all-around A-list star these days, as well as an opening slot on Machine Gun Kelly’s Ticket to My Downfall arena tour (the result of MGK’s own breakout as a purveyor of the next phase of pop-punk/alt-rock), Jxdn is well on his way to becoming a household name — well, at least one that transcends the TikTok scene, so to speak.

Amid a busy day at When We Were Young Festival, Hossler took some time out for a thoughtful and honest chat with Rock Cellar about his quick stardom and what he hopes to get out of it all.

Rock Cellar: When We Were Young has a decidedly Warped Tour feel to it … but you’re too young to even have gone to Warped. What have you been told about how that experience was back in the day?

Jxdn: Everyone talks about the stages. I love that, it works out perfectly. Also, here, everyone showed up from the get-go, straight-up, like 10:30 a.m. That’s a different vibe from most festivals. Most festivals are super selfish, but this feels like a big family.

But yeah, I was born in 2001, so all I get to do is dream about that shit [laughs]. But honestly, I’m having a blast, this is everything to me. These are the exact people I want to perform in front of, and next to all the legends …

Recap: When We Were Young Festival Overcomes Canceled First Day as “Elder Emos” & Nostalgia Take Over Las Vegas

Rock Cellar: You were born the same year Travis Barker and his band, Blink-182, had a big year with their album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket.

Jxdn: It was foreshadowing, is what it was.

Rock Cellar: What’s it been like working with Travis and having him as a mentor and a colleague?

Jxdn: It’s really crazy dude, because it’s it’s almost like having a textbook. No one ever reads their textbook, but I’m obsessed with this textbook. As soon as I met him, I was like, “Oh, this guy literally has like the key to life.” And he asked me when we met, he was like, “Yo, did you listen to punk music growing up?” And I was like, “No,” and he was like, “perfect. I just want you to be authentic.” He said, “Trust me, you’re gonna fall in love with it, it’s undeniable.”

Because I already had an affiliation with rock music. I was so obsessed with it, I felt like it really spoke to me. And honestly, I did shrooms on a private beach in Malibu and I was listening to “Electric Love” by BØRNS and all I could hear was a guitar and I was like, “I’m a rock star,” and I went and made my first song, “Comatose.” Everything’s just been super authentic and weird and how it’s supposed to be. Travis genuinely was like, “Just be you, bro.”

So I’ve watched him for these past two years, and he’s given me every opportunity I have, something no one could ever buy. It’s genuinely felt like like it was written in the stars, and I owe that man my life literally forever.

I love him like a father, and we have so much fun now, too, after getting through all the learning and getting used to it all, two years in we’re making the best music we’ve ever made. I’m so excited to continue to push it out, and I just trust him more than anyone. He’s like the secret key, my super power in whatever this game of life is.

Rock Cellar: What kind of rock music where you went to before, since you said it wasn’t punk until Travis showed up?

Jxdn: Dude, it’s so funny. Five Finger Death Punch. I had this ex-girlfriend, her dad was really into that kind of stuff. Yeah, just like “active” rock, you know? And I was just was so new to this. The first song I actually listened to that was alternative, the first song I listened to in L.A. was “Darkside” by Blink-182, and that’s one of my favorite songs of theirs.

I’ve never felt more accepted, either. Growing up, I went to private schools and almost got suspended for, like, getting my ears pierced or painting my nails. It’s funny in the moment and doesn’t seem like it’s anything, but you look back and that’s liberation for a lot of people, it actually does matter for so many people. So it was really cool being able to connect my life, and I finally feel like I have a new start, you know what I mean? I just took it all in as much as I can.

Rock Cellar: What’s the reception been for your album and your live shows? You opened for Machine Gun Kelly,  another guy bridging generations of fans with different kinds of music like pop-punk, rap and all that.

Jxdn: It was really crazy because I didn’t really have like an unction for anything that I should expect, you know? I was just very new. A lot of people want to see people that know them in the crowd, but all I’ve ever known is people that didn’t know me. I got really used to that, and honestly it’s to my benefit. Like today, I was really excited because I knew no one knew me, I’m like the newest person here.

It was really more about respect for me than trying to like look cool or do anything like that. I feel like a lot of people get that mixed up, so I’ve done that for the past year with MGK and Travis and everyone, I got to sell out the fucking Webster Hall twice in New York and the Fonda twice in L.A., it was so overwhelming because I was just so excited to support everyone that was in front of me.

People really grabbed on to that, and I owe everything to MGK — over 75% of all my fans are like, “Yo, we saw you [at the MGK show], like we love you.”

Rock Cellar: And then you and the band covered Blink’s “Happy Holidays, You Bastard” today, which definitely made a lot of folks react, like, “wait, what the hell is that?” That was a good move to win them over.

Jxdn: Exactly. Man, I’m just so happy to be here. We did that cover and that was literally a last-minute decision I was talking to Trav. This was the first time I’ve done a full cover — I always do covers in my sets, but I just wanted to show people that music’s bigger than me, I always try to put that in there.

Rock Cellar: I’ve interviewed Charli D’Amelio before, another TikTok breakout star. I was blown away by how crazy that TikTok ride must be — how was it to be at the center of a blowup like that? 

Jxdn: Something I realized early is although the numbers were substantial online, they didn’t necessarily translate, you know what I mean? It’s not the same thing, so as soon as I could I really tried to distance myself once I got this like initial like, “Yo, Travis signed me.” I took that and ran you know, I’m like, “Great, this was awesome.” I’m really grateful for everything that I did — I really hate everything I did online, but it’s a part of … I’m just an idiot, you know?

So I really tried to just focus on the music, the people, and not worry about the streams and numbers and not worry about the online stuff. I took that step and I moved on.

I think it’s getting to the point where it’s ruining everything. It was good for like a very, very minimal moment. I got really blessed, I really think I’m going to be one of the few people to make it out and have legitimate notoriety, just because of the people that believed in me like Travis and MGK.

Rock Cellar: Who are you looking forward to seeing the rest of the day here? 

Jxdn: Dude, first off, first off, this lineup is literally fucked up. I was just thinking about it, it’s almost fucked up because I can’t even  see everyone. Being here is just the biggest honor for me. It makes me feel so accepted, man, I’m so glad to be here. And I’m excited to see next year’s rollout with everything.

Rock Cellar: Last question — you’re pretty vulnerable in your songs, that’s a significant characteristic of your music. You don’t seem to have many qualms about being that open, is that a big thing for you?

Jxdn: 100%. I think it’s so funny. I started music because I went to my first concert ever, it was a Juice WRLD concert. And funny enough Juice WRLD and Blink actually have a lot of songs that no one’s ever heard, he was so inspired by the genre. And I had this moment, this thought that his vulnerability was almost unmatched with anyone, he just made talking about how awful he felt so easy to listen to.

I took that and I realized if he can do that for me, I can do that for other people. Music is one of the only things that unifies everybody, you know? No matter what you think, outside of the song.

So I don’t really care how people feel about me, I care about how people feel, you know what I mean? So if I have to be the one that stands up and says like, “Man, I’m a loser and I make all the wrong decisions and I fucking suck, but I’m glad to be here,” then I’ll do it.

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