Thursday, April 10, 2008

JAZ speaks

Regular readers of A.N.O.E. will be familiar with Rock Disco merchant JAZ, his mixes are in all the good places on the net, his recent edits released on Paul Murphy's label SixtyFive are really excellent and of course he's involved with that hairy collective Beard Science. JAZ also recently mixed a genius set of Beard Science edits (still available on Trackwerk), to celebrate the imminent release of a second set of Science cut ups on vinyl. You get a double treat tonight with a new mix (the second part to his Leather mix series, the first of which was done for heavyweights Cosmic Disco) and a really interesting interview with the man himself. The mix is superb; a full on groovin' education, find the download link and check out the track list at the end of the interview... (the last question, JAZ himself ads in - very nice)

when did u first realise u had a disco fetish and when did u start digging deeper for the more obscure stuff you come up with?

I was born in downtown NYC the same month that Donna Summer's "I Feel Love" was released, and my parents used to leave me with a baby-sitter regularly to go out dancing. My father loves his new wave synths and raised me on lots of stuff like OMD and the Human League, so the seeds were planted early. I followed the college/indie/120minutes route into this stuff, not the house music route. First I was into the Cure, then MBV and the Pixies, then post-punk and kraut...and then voila, you just have to start dancing at some point!

I bought some decks while I was in seminary in Oxford, and that's when the penchant for vinyl really took hold hard. Then I moved to Pittsburgh where the record stores are like forgotten museums, sort of like that library at the end of Logan's Run. The rest is history.

what turned u on to the idea of editing?

The editing thing started in Pittsburgh. My collection started to fill up with all these half-awesome songs that needed a little help. It seemed at the time (though I was way wrong) that all the best stuff from like 76-84 had already been discovered, but that there were lots of almost good tracks from the same period, with all the magic production and feeling of those magic years, but that were ruined either by a poor bit of song-writing in the midst of a bunch of radness, or else the other way around, tons of terrible songs from that period with great breaks or segments in the midst of a bunch of silliness. By editing stuff, I was able essentially to discover new, overlooked gems from the past, thereby unearthing some excellent music.

Also, listening to old tapes of Baldelli and other cosmic stuff stretched my way of thinking about music a lot; it made records fair-game whether or not they were played in the way that the artist originally intended (i.e., slowing stuff way down like on that Sylvia Love edit I did, for example).

what makes u want to edit a particular track? what are u looking for in the track?

I guess I just covered some of that, but, suffice it to say, I think lots of stuff is being edited that doesn't need an edit. For instance, compare the recent "That Thing" edit, which was already perfect and which benefits not at all from an edit, to Pilooski's John Miles' "Stranger in the City" edit, which is much better for the edit, especially thanks to the absence of the ridiculous Broadway bridge, which he was smart enough to cut, and thanks to the extended intros and outros. My own philosophy is that I'm trying to make "good songs" out of "bad songs with good parts" or "good songs" from "good songs that have bad parts". I've heard people say that the bad parts often make the good parts even better, but I don't think that's necessarily true.

I just want to make sure that I enjoy listening to my edit more than the OG, hands-down. Otherwise it's a waste. I think it's best when the digging (read: obscure finds) and the need for an edit (read: "good song with bad parts" or "bad song with good parts") come together. That way I feel like I've contributed something as a listener. I think editing is about listening and finding, not about creating obviously.

u have a very interesting day job - tell us about it

I am an Episcopal minister. It's all pretty fresh as I only recently received the official dog collar a few months ago. My day-to-day involves doing most of the good old-fashioned stuff that is ministry: lots of hospital visits, time with the elderly, counseling, weddings, baptisms, drink a lot of coffee, funerals, and leading Sunday services. I was a terrible Buddhist because I am so neurotic and intense, so eventually I gave in and joined the family business. I really do love it!

My boss (lower case "B") used to be a big Top 40 radio dj, which is weird, especially for our congregation. They laugh at us when we get going on the music tip, but they like the eccentricity, even if they don't fully appreciate Supermax.

I think ministry and dj'ing are very similar to each other, and, for me, the lines between the two are pretty blurry. I'll never forget seeing Mancuso drop the Joubert Singers' "Stand on the Word" and seeing everyone in the room/loft sing along at the top of their lungs with their hands in the air. I don't think most Christians know that kind of stuff is going on in clubs. In fact, I doubt any of them have ever heard that song for that matter, and it's their loss...but that's where I come in. :)

I'm into the idea of trying to bring the obscure world of Anglo-Lutheran thought from the mid-16th Century together with the world of obscure music made in the late 70s/early 80s. It's a project which no one (for obvious reasons) has ever tackled before.

how long have u been posting with dream chimney and how did u get involved there? what do u get out of blogging?

Dream Chimney is the best! I think it's the original "Track Of The Day" web site, no? I started reading it a while back, and then I just sort of jumped in feet first about two years ago. Tons of great people contribute on there, like Lovefingers, Bumrocks, Hatchback, Sorcerer, Tako, Gary Abugan, the Beat Broker, and tons of other great heads. The knowledge contained therein is pretty mind-blowing. Also it's pretty casual, sort of based in the US, which makes for a slightly different bent that I like, and it's just about the music without much of the annoying forum ado that comes with higher intensity levels.

What do I get out of it? Finding people in Charleston, SC who are into the same music that I dig is like trying to find a raccoon in a pine tree; it's next to impossible. This way (thanks to the net) I've been able to make some friends, hear some incredible music that I never would have known about, and also educate myself a bit. I'm very much a product of the internet, for better or for worse. Without it, you would not be asking me these questions and my edits would never see the light of day.

as a crate digger, one can get so deeply involved that newer stuff goes unnoticed (well kinda), so my question is, who do u rate that is producing material now?

I used to know lots about new stuff. Now, it's like I haven't heard anything at all. I do check stuff that crosses my radar here and there, but I tend to think that most good new stuff sounds kind of derivative of old stuff that people just don't know about. That said, I love Woolfy, and Koushik, Blonde Redhead, MF Doom, Stephin Merritt, a lot of the LIndstrom and Prins Thomas stuff, some of the California stuff like Hatchback, Sorcerer, & Beat Broker, some of the stuff people like Runaway, Lee Douglas, Smith & Mudd, Aeroplane are doing, plus Madlib and Dudley Perkins. I like Bertrand Burgalat, Whitey, and Slum Village, and I love Ween! And then the Shinkoyo label, which is a bunch of my friends from Oberlin's electronic music program, is pretty awesome and original (stuff like Skeletons, now on Ghostly International, woohoo!), oh and LCD's recent stuff is pretty great! And I like Fujiya & Miyagi (even bought their cd!), Soft Rocks, New Young Pony, all the Chicken Lips-related projects, San Serac, and I'm really psyched for the Hedford Vachal stuff coming out on Tirk soon.

Disco like any genre is extremely diverse, what in particular do u like about Disco

I like the place where funk, early electronic instrumentation (e.g., moogs and analogue synths), 70's classic-rock vibes, irony (e.g., italo lyrics, continental Europeans singing in English, and disco's male sleazy-ness), psychedelic spirit, 80s fashion, and punk all come together dance. Basically 1977-1983 give or take a few. Lots of German stuff.

tell us about the new release

Well, the Dogs of War re-issue just came out and the CD version features two of my edits along with an excellent one from Lexx. The guy who put them out may put out a 12 of the edits, we'll see how sales go. The Dogs of War lp is so sick, and Pat Desario deserves some serious respect and recognition for being way ahead of his time. It's the very best of the Cosmic Disco Rock genre!

tell us about your involvement with beard science and the new mix, also do u have an edit on the second 12 ?

Beard Science is very much a creature of these modern days we live in. The goal is to bring fairly conceptual dance edits to listeners through a collaborative effort of friends from all over the world, using the internet as our conference room. I don't have anything on the next 12" (coming soon!) but it's awesome, and the "Dancing Knights" edit is a personal fave of recent. The mix is worth listening to, mainly because there's some awesome music on there. It's an interesting mix because it contains bunch of edits from the cutting room floor that I compiled into a somewhat digestible chunk. Most of that stuff won't be released, but it speaks for the large amount of talent that is driving that project/label.

what are your musical plans for the year and where can people catch u dj'ing??

There are a few things in the works at the moment: Mudd's new label Sixty Five label put out an ep of my edits about two months ago, which is cool. He's got about 7 more of my edits on the way soon. Definitely one more ep of just mine and then a few split eps with some other folks (like DJ BWYSE!). I think some of them will be well-liked by folks.

There may be another edit coming out on Beard Science too, we'll see.

And then I'm helping to put out an ep with some special French dudes. It's called: Libre
Ambiance. That features two of my finest and two of their very amazing contributions. Look for that one! It will blow minds!

I'm not spinning much these days though, but you can catch my weekly show on Viva-Radio, and hopefully some pool parties this summer, bow-tie and all... At some point, I'll take a sabbatical to properly come tear it up in your hood (collar optional)!

do you have an awesome wife?

Yes! She's the best! I often use her ear to steer my edits in the right direction.

Thanks Chris! -JAZ+

Leather Get Going (pt. 2): Track list

1. Gina X Performance - Nowhere Wolf
2. Starbow - Voyager
3. Barclay James Harvest - Love on the Line
4. Boby Welch - Don't Let Me Fall
5. Mikael Rickfors - Dancing on the Edge of Danger
6. Sharon Bailey - Cosmic Dust (instrumental)
7. Gonzalez - Just Let It Lay
8. Mantus - Slidin' To the Music
9. Pumps - Boy, I Need Your Love
10. Black Jack - I Am the Disco Machine
11. The Z.A.C.K. - Mister Satellite
12. Supermax - Spooky
13. Pumps - Gasoline Dealer
14. The Zebras - For Your Love (JAZ's "You Love, Main Line" edit)
15. Vivien Vee - Alright
16. Sticky Jones Gang - Tunisian Ride
17. Laser - Dish-A-Boo-Shoe-Shoe
18. Black Gorilla - Soul Dancer
19. Snowball - Backfire
20. Final Offspring - Message
21. Trax - Do You Wanna Be a Star
22. Tantra - Top Shot

get the mix on the right hand bar or here


Jez said...

Thanks Chris & JAZ a great read. All the best to both of you.
Much love from London (come over and tear it up!)

Jez /innersounds

simon said...

Good work chaps.
A nice insight to a man who's helped me unearth some amazing records of which I'm extremely grateful.
A day you find a new JAZ mix is a good day indeed.
Keep up the good work.
Simon/Cosmic Disco

DJ BWYSE said...


giuliodj said...

very interesting interview...

and i am looking forward to all these new edits!


seandonson said...

Great interview, great mix!

Yay for product's of the internet!

ramah said...

bobby welch and bobby caldwell -- brothers of difft baby mother's??

Tim said...

"...and hopefully some pool parties this summer, bow-tie and all... At some point, I'll take a sabbatical to properly come tear it up in your hood (collar optional)!"

JAZ tour dates?!!! ASAP

christopher keys said...

thanks for all the comments everyone, we all seem to agree that JAZ is a pretty special talent... and great to interview...