'Breaking Dawn's' Jackson Rathbone Talks Music: 100 Monkeys, Happy Jack and Paul McDonald

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Jackson Rathbone is a busy man.

Between a young record label, a worldwide tour, and a slew of acting and producing projects on the horizon, it’s a wonder he has any time to think. Still, the Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn actor took time out to chat with The Hollywood Reporter about 100 Monkeys, Happy Jack Music and American Idol alum Paul McDonald, who will join the family -- so-to-speak -- when he weds Rathbone’s on-screen sister, Nikki Reed.

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The Hollywood Reporter: How is the tour going so far?
Jackson Rathbone: It's going great, it's exciting to get a chance to travel the country.  The cool thing about touring is you get to see the fans face to face. You play with the audience as opposed to just playing to them.

THR: What made you want to start your own label, Happy Jack Music?
JR: Well I've been an avid music lover since I was about 13 years old. I picked up a guitar and started my own mobile DJ'ing business. I'd DJ weddings and quinceneras. Then, I actually moved out to Los Angeles when I was 18 just for the summer to be a songwriter. A friend of mine had a record deal and that fell apart, he really got screwed over. But I got lucky and got hooked up with this amazing manager for acting, since I was also an actor. My acting career started taking off and I stayed in LA. I've always seen a lot of my good friends, just musicians, that's all they've done with their lives. They get screwed over by big and small record labels that promised fame and end up just dropping them off. I had it figured out, since I had some stuff going for me right now, I could hopefully use a lot of that momentum and help some of the bands. We've got some amazing bands actually, I've got this group called The Bleeding Horse Express and I produced their first album, Going South.

THR: Having your music tie in, you probably pay close attention to the soundtrack of your movies. Could you tell me your favorite songs from the Twilight series?
JR: You know, that would be really hard. It's one of those things. I don't run out and buy the soundtrack. I have seen the films and they are amazing with the songs in there. Radiohead, there is an amazing band the Twilight series has been able to garnish for their soundtrack, it's all good music. The kind of music I listen to is very eclectic and out there, you got some Captain Beefheart, Man Man, or Frank Zapra. The kind of stuff that you know I really, if they put that on there, I might rush out and buy the album.

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THR: When I spoke with you on the carpet at the MTV Movie awards and Nikki had just announced her engagement, you mentioned that you'd love to team up with Paul in the studio to jam together. Has there been any talk of that?
JR: Actually, you know what, Paul McDonald has come on stage with 100 Monkeys, and we played a show at the El Rey theater about a month ago or so. It was in promotion of our upcoming tour that we're now on and I didn't know about the whole engagement thing. I was like ‘Hey Paul we want to do 2 one hour sets and take a small break in between and we're looking for an acoustic act to fill in.’ Paul has a great vibe on stage and has a great voice. I love watching him perform as well as millions of people across America, who kept him running for a long time. Above and beyond that he's just a great guy. I'm very protective of my blood family, and my blood sucking family as well. When it comes to Nikki Reed and who she's dating, she's like a sister to me. Trust me, if she was dating some jerk I'd be all against it, but he's a great guy. It was a pleasure jamming with him and hanging out with him.

THR: Do you think you two would ever get together in the studio?
JR: I hope so, I've been building a studio in my house and it should be done by the time I get back from tour. I'll be producing a lot more bands and projects and music and I'll be getting a lot more work out there.

THR: Has there been any talk about pulling him towards your label?
JR: We've kind of approached the subject a little bit. One of the things I've got on the horizon is, not really a web series, but a certain Internet driven venue for watching live music. I talked to him about doing that and he's really excited and he might be the first, or Bleeding Horse may be the first... It's one of those things, a lot of very exciting things on the horizon.

THR: If you had to choose one, I know this is a tough question, would it be music or acting?
JR: I think I would just be a father then, in that case. If I had to make the choice between arts, I might just have to move back to Texas and just raise the family. I know I could never just do one.

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