The water is never as cold as you think

By Beverley Knight

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People often seek change, but real change is damn hard. Sometimes, a pivotal moment makes us realise it’s the only genuine option. London-born artist Jot Maxi wasn’t looking for change per se but cherished an out-of-body experience leading to enlightenment. There’s nothing Jot liked better than a wild party. Here, he could escape reality at all costs. But excessive drinking and drug taking were sending him to an early grave. “My first wake-up call was losing my mother suddenly in 2012. I wanted to do right by her and clean up my ways, but it was much easier to continue self-medicating to deal with grief.”

Back in 2017, a near-death experience changed the course of his life. He left his body for 15 minutes, which felt like an eternity. The whole experience was otherwordly and glorious. “When I woke up in my body and didn’t die that day, I wanted nothing more than to know the truth of what I had just witnessed. That led me towards God.”

After finding spirituality, another monumental decision wasn’t far behind. Jot stepped down from fronting rap-metal outfit Hacktivist in 2020. It certainly wasn’t straight-cut. “I agonised over it for many months. Half of me wanted to stay with them and make it work for at least another album, but it became clear that I had to break away and follow my calling.”

Being a frontman fits like a glove for some. There were challenges, but Jot adored it. The difficulties arose nearer the second half of his stint with Hacktivist. “We would be playing at metal festivals surrounded by sounds completely different to what I was listening to on my ear pods.” It weighed him down. He was about to go on stage and scream when he wanted to explore much more with his voice and lyrics.

During his time with the band, Jot’s raw artistry got a fresh coat of professionalism, permeating all areas, from stage skills to industry knowledge. “The final thing I learned is what it really means to follow your heart and the truth. Stand up for what is right, even if you stand alone.”

First solo gigs always have a few teething problems. “I was almost screaming lyrics to my songs that didn’t need screaming, finding it hard to dial down my energy.” Otherwise, it was liberating technically. “It’s perhaps a shame to say it, but I feel there are more possibilities and fewer restrictions in Electronica and Rap than when you’re working with a full band of live instruments.”

The modern world can seem desperate and scary. Jot notices evidence we’re living in the ‘end times’ or ‘last days’ as described in the Bible’s book of Revelation. “More and more people are coming to believe this. Many already believe that we are in some spiritual war during this life.” 

It’s these issues that inspire Jot the most in his art. “There’s a sense of urgency to wake up because it looks like the world could end at any minute, followed by a call to arms. We need to be vigilant through these darker times.” 

There’s an anagram for the Bible that spells out “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth that Jot likes. “What’s really written about God is so cosmic and invigorating and so far removed from the man-made religious denominations that have tamed the message.”

Aside from the troubles in the world, Jot’s creative plans look forward. Firstly, he’s writing an experimental electronic album, which will see a bunch of singles with videos released throughout the year before the main drop. “At the same time, I’m working on a motivational Drill/EDM EP, which will also come out as video singles before the title is released.”

On top of his solo projects, features with bands and rappers will be with us soon, but he’s remaining tight-lipped for now. As well as releasing music, Jot is returning to his roots and taking the mic to MC live EDM events. “All this whilst promoting my upcoming clothing and lifestyle brand Outside The World, so yeah, It’s quite a lot!”

Reading Jot Maxi’s story is eye-opening and has courage. What advice would he give to anyone else feeling stuck in the mud? “If it’s about a career or social life, then the clich├ęs we find in many slogans are often true, like ‘it’s never too late’ or ‘just do it’. He believes we’re never attached to anything as much as we imagine. “The water is never as cold as you think. Jump in…”

But what if we’re looking for the reason for life itself? “There’s nowhere better than the source. Even if we don’t believe there’s a creator, we can ask to find out, ‘God, are you there? And if you are, what should I do?’ He’s right there waiting for us to talk to him.” Jot finds praying a truly amazing tool. “Crying out to space about what I’m supposed to believe brought me some of the most divine reassurance.”

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