Rapid fire questions:

Your zodiac sign: Scorpio

What’s playing in your headphones? Right now, I’m listening to my latest project collaborating with Cam’ron from Dipset on my headphones of choice: the Sennheiser HD 280 Pros.

A weird thing you do when producing a song: Every time I hit the studio, whether I’m working with an artist on a new project, or alone recording a new song, I get this vibe where it’s almost as if time stops and the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

Famous lyrics you love: “Sky’s the limit and you know that you can have what you want, be what you want.” – The Notorious B.I.G.

3 core values of 730 studios & MMB Records: Organization, discipline, persistence 

When an entrepreneur and artist like Jeff Jones (A.K.A Mista Jones) begins a project, nothing gets in the way. Knowing very young he had to make it in the music industry, the self-made man reached his goals with research and dedication, realizing that he would have to double the effort as an independent artist. Jones started as a young adult recording other artists with nothing but a stage microphone and a nylon sock hooked on a coat hanger as a pop filter. Today, he can proudly say that he owns his own studio and label, 730 studios & MMB Records, offering a wide range of services including songwriting, music, and audiovisual production, along with touring and artist management.

RAC gets to know the multifaceted artist and entrepreneur who’s opened for artists like Massari, Mia Martina, and Karl wolf, and has managed multiple artist showcases on 4 Canadian tours.

Prolific touring

Among other things, the power of networking got the former RAC student into event booking and tour management. He advises anyone wishing to get started in this business to go to live events, meet promoters and create a catalog of artists performing at each venue. The next step is to contact the various venues and ask local artists to perform there. For Jones, a tour is built on supporting each other as artists: “Work out a ticket deal that both benefits you and the opening acts – this way everyone gets paid,” he says. 

While touring is a way of connecting with the audience, it also serves to forge links with future collaborations or acolytes. To be able to provide so many services, the producer has teamed up with Stéphane Charette Parker et ​Kiyan Lautenschlager, whom he met on tour. “These people just vibe on the same frequency as me. They are ambitious, loyal, dedicated, hard working, and share a passion for music.” The beatmaker and composer also landed himself a collaboration with Sans Pression  after chatting with him at a gig in Gatineau where he had booked him.“From there, one thing leads to the next. We ended up working on a song together and then I found myself driving to Montreal to film a music video for our song. Later, I booked him on all the Quebec shows during my tour and we ended up doing a second collaboration,” he details.

Before hip-hop

The young Canadian would watch MuchMusic and record his favourite music video to be able to listen to the lyrics and remember them. It started with punk and heavy metal, and then became hip-hop. “I started high school with my blue hair Mohawk, got a bass guitar, joined a band and played at our high school talent show. My mom moved away when I turned 15 so I decided to stay with my older brother. Being able to relate to the lyrics, that’s when I really got into hip-hop music,” he recalls. He started to beatbox on a friend’s rhymes and eventually started to write his own. He delved into recording and got a used mixer, a copy of FL Studio, and Acid Pro to set up a recording space. “From that point on, it was trial and error trying to figure out the plugins,” he says – until a couple of years later – when he decided to move to Montreal to attend RAC.

Upon graduation, he moved back to Gatineau and landed a temporary job as a stage technician at the Salle Odyssée, while recording artists in his studio on the side. The businessman is thankful to RAC, and says that “it gave me the confidence to dive into this industry, broaden my knowledge, and refine my skills. It gave me the necessary tools for success.”

The business as an independent artist

Jones quickly realized that he needed to learn all the skills to do everything himself, so he could minimize expenses and maximize profits. “Doing everything yourself has major advantages: songwriting, composing, recording/mastering, video production, websites, booking venues, tour management, DJing, hosting events, merchandising, doing live sound, graphic design, and photography would all be considered expenses for artists who are just starting out with no funding. Even if it’s a lot of work, having control over every aspect of your career means that you can run it for as long as you want.” 

Jones finds that ability to be in control to be very liberating, which is why he also added his own label to the equation, arguing that every independent artist needs to have both a studio and label in order to have full control of their career. “There are a lot of shady people in the music industry that promise you the world but don’t deliver. Many independent artists find themselves stuck at a roadblock and get discouraged. The more you know about the production and business side of the industry, the greater your chances are to succeed,” he details.

This dream doesn’t come without ideas to expand the income. Jones believes the music industry is based on “70% business and 30% talent,” and makes the majority of his income from touring and selling merchandise. He started to print items of clothing with his logo and various images, from popular bands to hip-hop artists who have passed away. With his proactive mindset, he’s thinking of eventually providing printing services on merch for companies and artists. At the end of the day, the 730 Studio founder recognizes that “there are numerous different recipes for success but only a few that will continue to survive in the long run.”

“Aim for the moon, shoot for the stars and don’t ever let anyone dim your shine”

Mista Jones

Mista Jones also appreciates music and its universal language as a way to share his experiences and express all bottled-up emotions. When he got an email from a guy who told him that his song had helped him get through a hard time in his life, he realized that making music was not only for himself, but for everyone who’s gone through similar struggles. His leitmotif is to work to be the best version of himself everyday and wants to share that “you can achieve anything you put your mind to” through his music. 

In 2024, catch Mista Jones setting up another Canadian tour, sharing the stage with D12 and Obie Trice in March, and working on new music videos. Keep an eye out as well for his upcoming collaboration with Cam’ron

Écrit par Caroline Boivin

Illustration par Holly Li