The Creators Project: Did you gradually become interested in your different creative outlets, or did you experience some sort of Eureka moment when you realized you wanted to do everything?
Trevor Jackson: I left college in the late 80s and went to work designing film posters for a guy for about six months. Around the same time the rave scene was blowing up, and I was going out raving almost every night. I discovered that most of these new records coming into the UK would get licensed to record labels and the covers they used were terrible, awful designs. I was fortunate enough to meet loads of DJs and lots of people making music. I would be dancing to a record on Saturday night and trying bag the job of designing the cover for it the next week.
How did that transition into a keen interest in hip-hop music?
I was too young to be a punk, so for me the DIY aesthetic came from hip-hop. I was very inspired by Keith Haring. It was groundbreaking, for me, to see a street artist’s work in a major gallery. It all started to make sense. I could buy a little thing for my computer and start making beats although I couldn’t play an instrument or read music. There was a rap crew around the corner from me called the Brotherhood. I started producing records for them. Then I started Bite It! It did well, and from that exposure I did remixes for Massive Attack. Before I knew it I was pretty involved in the burgeoning British hip-hop/trip-hop thing and doing stuff for Mo Wax. But after a while I got disheartened. I was growing up and most hip-hop was about sex and violence. The lyrics were getting quite banal. I got back into listening to the music that inspired me to make hip-hop in the first place. I decided that I wanted to start a label that for music that was kind of “out there” but accessible at the same time, which is why I started Output.
Can you tell us about your recent lifestyle change? It sounds like you did some serious spring-cleaning.
I had a dramatic change of lifestyle about eight months ago. I have lived in my apartment for almost 15 years, accumulating loads of really beautiful objects around me that I thought would help my life, but they actually ended up being a hindrance. I decided to move out of my flat and put everything in storage. I have been moving around the world, sleeping on people’s sofas, bumming about, and trying to get re-inspired. In the last eight months I have lived in Berlin, Paris, Israel, and South Africa. I have been all over the world and it hasn’t stopped me from working. The only limit I have is bandwidth.