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What can I say, I’m feeling the fuck outta J*Davey. Producer Brook D’Leau took a page from the book of Dilla and then re-wrote a whole new manifesto, and Miss Jack Davey has the seductive voice and is equally fresh with the L’s. They come with it, plain and simple. The following is what didn’t make the Vapors feature for issue 50 feature. Enjoy.
Prior to forming J*Davey what were you guys doing musically?
Jack-Musically we were both working on things independently in our spare time, but in all honesty we were either going to school or working regular jobs, just trying to figure out what we were ultimately gonna do with our lives. Music kinda popped up and took over.
Brook-I wasn’t even working with anybody before I met her. I was just making music by myself, and just doing production stuff for my own enjoyment. Unless you want to talk about what you were doing when you were younger…
Jack-Well yeah I’ve been doing music since I was a kid, I was in a group that was signed, but that was years and years before I met Brook. When I met Brook it just gave me a chance to put some of those things that I learned as a kid into action.
What was the group?
Jack-It was D.E.F.
Brook-It stood for Doing Everything Funky.
Jack-Yeah…Thanks (laughs). It was basic 80’s pop/R&B type stuff. It was a hybrid of rap and singing, like TLC almost but with more people. I was in that group from like 8-14, and then I contemplated still working on music but I couldn’t find anybody to work with. A few years later I met Brook and wa-lah.
Did you guys grow up in a musical household? Formal training?
Brook-I trained for a couple years in Junior High on piano, but I kinda got bored with it. My household is very musical. My father had put out an album like 30 some odd years ago, and he had studio equipment and that’s how I got introduced into production and creating the music. On top of that, my mother and father were into a lot of different genres, and not just typical Soul and Funk, but stuff like New Wave, Jazz Fusion and Classic Rock. It all affected how I came into doing the music that we do.
Jack-Nobody in my family was a musician, but they were big music collectors. My grandpa has an amazing Jazz collection and all this stereo equipment so I’m used to hearing music blasted at the highest volume all the time in my house. They weren’t musicians, just avid music listeners. I was always a performer, I was a trained dancer. Making music came out of no where, but it turned out to be the perfect thing for me. I’m a way better musician than I was a dancer.
What was your Dad’s name, you mentioned he put out a record?
Brook-Yeah, his name is Rondell Davis, but trust me, you will not find this record. Nobody has ever heard of it. It’s funny because I have the record, but his name is no where to be found on it because the group he was in, none of them wrote the music. They had some producers who wrote all the music for them. Back in the day, if you didn’t write the music, you didn’t get any credit. There wasn’t vocals by this person, your pretty just in the band on the picture on the cover. The band was called Segments of Time, good luck finding that. It came out Sussex Records, and at the time Bill Withers was signed Sussex as well.
Have you ever sampled from that record?
Brook-No, because it’s funny…I consider myself a bit of a musical snob, not because I hate on everything, but because I have a very specific taste, like I want to hear something I’ve never heard before. I’m not into music where it’s like I’ve heard a million other bands do this. It’s funny though because my father never played this music for me, I kinda found the record rummaging through his stuff. I finally played it about a month ago, and I totally why he never played it for me. It was on some slightly Doo-Wop, slightly Soul, and you could just tell…I know my Dad, and by the way he was singing it on there, it just sounded like someone was like go in there and sing it like this. I can always tell when people are doing music and it’s not really something that they identify with, it’s just something that they’re doing to do it. That’s what the record was like. I listened to a few songs and I couldn’t listen anymore because…it was kinda average and I guess that’s why they didn’t get a lot of shine because there wasn’t anything super special about it. At the time he was just happy to have a record deal and put something out, but musically there wasn’t really anything that was like wow. That’s the main reason he has stressed to me to just be as original as you possibly can be, and to always try new stuff out. Even though that was 30 some odd years ago, that was the main thing he took from that; always bring your own ideas to the table. At that time, even though he was signed, he didn’t have any creative input at all. So that’s what he has stressed to the both of us, just express any and every creative ideas to the fullest. You understand there is a some compromise when it comes to certain things being commercial or not, but at the end of the day, do you. Period.
How did you guys actually meet up?
Jack-We actually met at my Senior Prom, a friend of mine took him to Prom, and we became friends. About a year later I discovered that he had been working on some stuff. He played his music for me and I really liked it so we started working together. It was real simple. That was in 2000.
So music was the common bond, or was it something else?
Jack-When we first started working on music after a year of being friends, I felt like I was going through a transformation to where I was breaking away from things I was previously into. I was being exposed to a lot of different things, because I was in New York at the time, and when I came back and we hooked up and started working together, I saw something in Brook that was similar to what I was going through. I could tell we were just walking the beat and path, even though that wasn’t really the path that we wanted to take so I started to rebel against that. People would say oh she’s on some other shit, and I saw the same thing in Brook. He wasn’t like everyone else, there is this underlying weirdo current that I felt about him, and we both started to explore that at the same time in our music. We were both changing and breaking away from everything that people thought that we were at the same time. We were all that we had.
Brook-I think that both of us, even before we met each other, we were always the type of people where we didn’t necessarily fit…In High School you have cliques, but both of us didn’t really fit into groups, and even though a I met her in a group of 8 girls she was the weirdo of the crew.
Brook-Uh, yeah. (laughs)
Brook-Yeah and I mean not necessarily weird to be weird, but she was definitely not like the rest of them. She could wander off by herself and that’s how I was in High School as well. I never really hung with a specific crew all the time. I had a couple of really good friends, but they looked at me like Brooks’ on his trip.
Jack-Two weirdos who found some commonality in one another.
Once you started working on music, did that weirdness come out right away or did it take a while to develop into music?
Jack-It took a few years, maybe like 2 years, to figure out what we really wanted to do. And you know what, it’s taken 8 years because we still haven’t quite figured out exactly what we are trying to do and I think that’s the beauty of it all. Knowing that we don’t have it figured out, and that we’re not trying to have it figured out, we’re just doing.
Brook-Yeah, I’m not hell bent on trying to have a specific formula or format figured out. Once we started first making music, it was not a conventional sound, but it definitely wasn’t what we have been doing the past few years, it has evolved since, but even then it was A-typical. That was the part that we enjoyed about it was that we were creating things that we hadn’t really heard before. I think from the start, it wasn’t about it being weird, but it definitely fit hand in glove. Whatever it was that we were creating.
Jack, I wanted to talk to you about your lyrics. You keep it fun with the music, but you slip in some messages here and there as well.
Jack-Yeah that’s the important thing. I don’t want to come across too preachy and the you balance that out is by making the song accessible….(phone disconnects)…Anyway, I think the beauty of song writing is to make the song accessible. You want to have a message in the song that is accessible without it coming across too preachy. It’s all what you embed in the lyrics, and instead of saying exactly what you’re talking about…I am intrigued by being coy. Without being forthright but getting my point across without having to lay it all out for you. Like how the first time you heard “Puff The Magic Dragon” you thought it was about some dragon in a forest, but low and behold it’s about smoking pot. I challenge myself by doing that, like how can I talk about this certain topic in a way that…it’s like getting a message across in code. It’s like a writing exercise.
Just talking to you guys it doesn’t sound like there is any ego involved in your creative process.
Brook-Nah, and that’s how it has to be.
Jack-Ego kills everything. We’ve seen a lot of people that are brilliant together, but for some reason they can’t put their pride and ego aside to really make it happen.
Brook-Even popular groups that we don’t know personally, that happens where one person gets a big head and thinks they are responsible for the magic. The formula is us two doing it together. J Davey wouldn’t exist if she wasn’t there and it wouldn’t exist if I wasn’t there. This is beyond her and I. This is a separate entity that we have created. It’s not about us individually. It’s like raising a child in a sense, where even if you separate and get divorce, there is still a child to be raised, and there are still two people who should be involved in raising that child.
So that makes a whole new meaning to J Davey Baby (their website is http://www.jdaveybaby.com)
Brook-Exactly. That’s also a reference to the people who are supporting us, but yeah, that ties in, because it takes a village to raise a child. There is a double meaning, and yeah this is like a child that we are raising.
Lastly, let’s talk about the dual EP’s you guys put out The Beauty In Distortion/The Land Of The Lost.
Jack-Go ahead Brook.
Brook-We recorded it in two seperare time frames. Beauty In Distortaion was recorded about four years ago, and our hard drive had crashed with all files. The only thing that survived from it were the two tracks, beats and vocals. I couldn’t go in and remix and edit stuff, it was pretty much this it it. The Beauty In Distortion is like being the fact that I lost my whole hard drive of music and people were saying no to the type of music we were doing, but there was something to be appreciated from all that. In the midst of all the chaos and everything that was going on, there was something preserved from all of that. All of those songs are just like two tracks that were just demos that turned into songs because people gravitated towards them. Land Of The Lost is more of her concept, so I guess they are like the dualities of both of our personalities.
Jack-Land Of The Lost deals what that whole thing of following a plan, but also I kept envisioning this electronic teenage wasteland. It’s almost like this distorted view what it’s like to be young in such a place, navigating your way through the land of the lost, self discovery and figuring out who you are as a person and a artist. Navigating your way through this thing we call the music business. It deals with a lot of different things. The music itself…I don’t know, when I think about it, it makes me kinda confused. It’s so many things but in essence it just popped into my head one day and only started to make sense as of late.
Brook-How we operate we tend to do things and think about it later. When we create things, even the name J Davey, it means more now to us than it meant when we came up with it.
Jack-We thrive on random impulse.
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