Jordan Adetunji is the Oli Sykes-tipped KennyHoopla-supporting alt artist ready to rock ‘n’ rave

Jordan Adetunji is the Oli Sykes-tipped KennyHoopla-supporting alt artist ready to rock ‘n’ rave

Jordan Adetunji is at a cross section of a range of disparate sounds, but that’s what makes the innovative Belfast-based artist so exciting. Sonically, he’s breaking all the rules, and sounds like the future: with diverse influences ranging from The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar and XXXTENTACION to Joy Division, Bloc Party, Bring Me The Horizon and Escape the Fate, Adetunji’s short but incredibly catchy tracks fuse rock, hyperpop, Jersey club, rap, r’n’b, punk and emo – quite the mix.

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This all stems back to how Adetunji first got into music at a young age – from watching it on TV and playing video games. Hearing different styles of music interested him early on and, as he grew up, YouTube helped him to discover artists who would become his favourites. “That made me realise, ‘Yeah I want to do this’,” Adetunji recalls, adding that he used to record directly into his mum’s laptop because he had no microphone. Being into such a variety of music – including Busta Rhymes, Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Eminem – influenced the genre-blending music that Adetunji would go on to create.
Jordan Adetunji. Image: Frank Fieber
“I’ve always wanted to mix two genres together, and then when I started hearing people like Juice WRLD, and seeing the way they did it, it made it more exciting for me,” he tells after a week of studio sessions and live rehearsals. “All the thoughts I had in my head, people were starting to do it, so it was a case of ‘let’s see how extra I can make it’?”
Having since crafted his own experimental sound, Adetunji uses the term ‘rock ‘n’ rave’ to describe the music he’s making right now. “There are a lot of Jersey club elements mixed with rock – and that’s how I live,” he says. Adetunji suggests this also relates to the different scenes he’s recently been inspired by. “I’ve been really into Japanese math-rock guitar samples,” he says, adding “I’m a big anime fan, and I just like hearing that sort of music in the intros.” This has, he feels, “advanced my sound, and it’s something that I’ve wanted to add a lot into my music.”
Adetunji has been equally influenced by heavier, metal guitar riffs, and then adding “crazy trap drums” too. What he likes so much about heavy riffs is the “hardcore energy that I feel that rap, punk and metal all possess. It goes hand in hand,” he suggests. “I think putting the two together gives that extra electric feel.”
Jordan Adetunji. Image: Frank Fieber
As Adetunji – who drums, sings, plays trumpet and produces – hasn’t yet mastered the guitar, he ingeniously took to TikTok to crowdsource riffs that he could embed within his own tracks. “This guy called Kiri Gerbs put up a math-rock sample on TikTok,” he recalls. “I saw it and people were always doing duets, like open verse challenges to people’s voices, but nobody was really doing it to guitar samples.” Knowing that he’s good at singing on loops and riffs, Adetunji thought to himself ‘let me just try and sing on this one and add a beat to it’.” However, not knowing what beat to add, he randomly decided on Jersey Club “because I didn’t think people had done that yet”. After posting the result, his video went viral.
“Everyone was like ‘this is crazy’ and saying ‘this is a new genre’! I was like, ‘is it?’ But okay, I’ll take that.” Duetting with guitarists on TikTok and then using their riffs as the basis of his own tracks after adding his own vocals and drums even led to Adetunji being chosen as one of TikTok’s #AltMusic artists. Since then, more people have been willing to let Adetunji do his thing with their guitar riff. “Their videos just said ‘sample this’ at the top so I was like ‘okay, I’ll do it’,” he says, adding that he is keen to learn the guitar properly himself. “I can play some chords, but I feel like if I really put my head to it, I could get to a good level.”
Jordan Adetunji. Image: Frank Fieber
Incorporating the guitar into his music in a fresh way has broadened Adetunji’s audience to appeal to a variety of scenes. “It made me understand, more deeply, different styles of riffs,” he considers. “I always kind of knew about different styles, like Midwest emo,” he says. Working with the guitarist Rj Pasin has expanded his palette too. “We were in the studio recently and it’s crazy interesting watching him create his riffs and loops.”
When it comes to crafting his own tracks, Adetunji would similarly get a loop or a riff, sing around it, and then build the song around what he’s sung. “It’s a freestyle kind of way of doing it,” he says. “That’s what creates the song structure. I always go and freestyle over the riff, and then we cut it up and make it into a song, just from the freestyles.” Adetunji says he then writes to the melodies that were the best.
The key to finding success on TikTok, Adetunji suggests, was not thinking about it too much. “I think, once I started not focusing on it as much, and just doing it for fun, that’s when I started seeing results,” he explains. “Whereas, when I was thinking too deep into it, I wasn’t getting the results.” He says posting videos of his demos also allowed him to get “real-time feedback, so it was fun for me, just being like ‘I made this today, let me show you this’.” He’s since noticed other artists taking a similar approach. “I’ve started seeing people use that exact same format,” Adetunji says.
Jordan Adetunji. Image: Frank Fieber
High Places
One of his videos even caught the attention of Oli Sykes, lead vocalist of Bring Me The Horizon. The co-sign came after Adetunji uploaded a post-punk song called Woke Up, which he had written during lockdown. “It was me changing my sound a bit, because I was always listening to post-punk music, so I wanted to try something different,” he recalls.
Out of nowhere, Adetunji discovered that Sykes had left a comment on the video. “He said ‘this is crazy’,” he recalls. Spurred on, Adetunji put up a snippet of his song Insecure, which was just an acoustic track at the time. Again, it received a thumbs up from Sykes who had commented saying that he was going to “show it to a few people”. It wasn’t an empty promise, either, as that co-sign landed him a record deal with a major label. “I signed with RCA a few weeks after that comment,” Adetunji recalls. The pair haven’t yet met, much to his disappointment. “I’ve heard so many good things about him”, he says, adding that he would love to collaborate with the band.

As well as starting a trend and finding a big-name fan, Adetunji’s TikTok experiments helped to form his all-capped debut mixtape which was released in October. “It was all the stuff I did with Rj where we were making songs around a lot of the loops that he was making,” he says of ROCK ‘N’ RAVE. After putting the songs on TikTok, Adetunji says that “whichever one was blowing, that helped us to realise what people were enjoying most”.
The goal for the mixtape, he says, was to create something that “could be an introduction to the sounds of where it can go. I wanted it to open people’s minds about where the sounds are.” Adetunji teases that the music he’s working on now presents the next step of his artistic evolution. “It’s really going to show the depths of me as a person as well,” he says.
More recently, Adetunji has been on tour with American pop-punk artist KennyHoopla, opening for him at two gigs including in Manchester. “It was insane and really exciting because he’s a great artist too – he’s one of my favourites.” Talking about his own live shows, at which Adetunji performs with a band including a guitarist, drummer and bassist, he says “it can be big or small depending on what we’re doing”. Generally, though, he says his gigs are “high energy and guitar-heavy”. Sonically, he adds that there are “various sounds and loads of different genres, but I feel like they all gel together quite well.”
Jordan Adetunji. Image: Frank Fieber
Looking to the future, Adetunji’s bucket list of dream team-ups is equally genre-blind – ranging from Jaden Smith and Willow Smith to Snow Patrol and Trippie Redd. “If Juice WRLD was still alive, I would have loved to support him on tour,” he adds.
Reflecting on the past year, Adetunji says “everybody has been so supportive and it’s like a community in a sense. It’s always growing and the sound is growing and people are getting excited about the new sound that we’ve created.”
As for what’s coming next, he teases more shows, more music and “a lot more exciting stuff. I’m just gonna take it up a level.”
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