Jamiroqai may well be the hippest band to have emerged in recents months. Craig McLean tried to keep up with the band’s talkative main man, Jay Kay.
A 22-year-old who‘s severely bugged by the military/corporate complex. A London nightswinger who bonds like an anthropologist and cares like an ecologist. A hip young funkslinger who doubles as a post—materialist new agcr. Jay Kay is all ofthese. Ofless importance in
, the grand scheme ofthings. but ofgreater
i immediate resonance. is Jay’s splash-through. So fast have the plaudits followed the emergence of
his band. that‘s Jamiroquai, that the umbilical
cord linking prc-debut release conviction and
nascent stardom is still intact. For Jay and
; Jamiroquai, knowing where it‘s at has equal
; footing with knowing what to do with it when you i find it.
‘Therc‘s a lot to be learned from those people,’
reckons Jay of the indigenous peoples whose spirit
he’s tried to capture in his band’s unwieldy name
; (JAM/EAR/OH/KWAI. from the Amerindian
: tribe the Iroquois). ‘They live that simple life. and it’s something that I‘d like to reﬂect in the music
' over the next ten. twenty. thirty years— the way we
live.we should start changingthesethings,toning -
é _ E Speed freaks
unobtrusively into the conversation by Q O-Tex‘s Scott Brown,- but one which on
times that get faster to keep up with the music?‘
the go. And in defence ofthis schismatic approach— ‘basically
5 we can't keep bringing them out under
down. calm down a bit — it‘s too much of a hectic world. I’m sure these people. the longer we go on. knock down a Brazilian rainforest, that’s alright. But when you find out you knocked it all down and actually the cures for cancer. for AIDS. for a number ofdiseases, are actually sitting in the bark ofthose trees. it’s a bad karma thing ifyou like. Do you know what I mean?‘
Nearly. So excitable is Jay, eager to communicate and chock-full of fuzzy hippy/coolly incisive polemics, that his words are a jumble of infective. careering momentum. On-the-edge funkateers aren‘t meant to leave this impression. and Jay‘s credentials as a rising force in the acid jazz scene could be dismissed as hyped-up forgeries, more the product ofslick words than slick grooves.
But in his music as in his speech there can be discerned inspiring promise. Last autumn. after a year-long gestation at Acid Jazz HQ. ‘When You Gonna Learn?’ was released. The all-important vibe was palpable. weaving through the sultry jazzjfunk/disco fusion that also found time to include the thrum and wobble of a didgeridoo in the mix. Jay relishes the quasi-spiritual vibe, as revived for Jamiroquai’s second single, the March-due ‘Too Young To Die’. Ofcourse, club
types and setters of the scene are meant to lace
' their conversations with references to the vibe- a
T failsafe mark of intent, the inchoate key to that
, indefinable groove that is The Funk’s bedrock.
What they’re not supposed to do is talk your ears
i off with ranting polemics on the nasty state of the
j modern world.
But thinking globally and acting locally, so it is with Jay. Or at least, so it will be. The upshot of the
' whirl of interest that accompanied the first single
, was a deal with Sony. Much has been made ofthe
size of the deal, of Sony’s commitment (eight
l album‘s worth) and the potential dosh outlay it represents. ‘Never mind the quality, feel the width’ appears to be the undercurrent, a validation of the hype by way of cash-mungous excess. Jay,
smart young cookie that he is, is sanguine about the root hypocrisy of this route to (possible) success, given his cavalier rejection of the First World’s venal ways.
‘Absolutely — but what can you do? I’m not expecting to do anything in a year, two years, three years, but hopefully ifI can keep on the same course perhaps in ten years, maybe I can turn round and do something to encourage other people that there is a better system, a better way of doing things than they way we do them generally. .
‘If it’s gonna be immediate success then forget it, I’m not interested. I’d rather just stop now than waste my time . . . I want to be guaranteed longevity in my career, I don’t want to be the p0p star around for five minutes and then, see you later mate.’
Not for nothing did one recent J amiroquai review trumpet EGO ALERT. ‘Oh was that about me? Oh it is. Yeah,’ he gaily sneers, ‘I don’t give a monkey’s.’
Jamiroquai play The Venue, Edinburgh, on Tues 9 ‘ and The Tunnel, Glasgow, on Wed 10.
you have to keep up with the times.’ An off-the-cufi remark slipped
contact with the vinyl evidence begs the counter-query ‘should it not be the
Taking lull advantage ofthe techno act’s prerogative to divide, reinvent and multiply, O-Tex currently have two releases and therefore two guises on
because we write too many tunes and
the same name every two weeks.‘ The trio are therefore O-Tex to a multitude
of raving consumers, Equazion to anyone who’s nutter enough to take on a spiralling bpm count and Scott, Gordon and Alan to their mums. As their manager Brian points out, Praga Kahn has 23 names, so what’s a little
mild metamorphosis between friends? In layperson’s terms, ‘Celebration' (the one by O-Tex and out on the parent
23rd Precinct label) is fast and nifty with vocals and a tune, while the Equazion EP, on 23rd’s new hardcore
Sponsored by BACARDI RUM
limb Kore, is fasterstlll, instrumental and a brazenly tune-free zone. Not so much one for the fleet of foot as one tor the fried oi brain, and certainly more than the average stylus can handle, skitterlng haplesst across the vlnyl. . And listening to this giddy whirrol i depersonallsed automation, we still 5 wonder why stasis and club music aren't exactly bosom bedlellows? ‘ ‘I don't know if the dance audience want to change all the time,’ muses Gordon. ‘They want to hold on to what they were listening to last. It’s the music business- like the DJs, the bands and record labels— making it change all the time. It takes a wee while for the talk to keep up with it in the clubs, but the current level of dance music directs what’s going to happen next. You’ve got to be pioneering all the time.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
Celebration and the Equazion EP are out now on 23rd Precinct and Kore respectively.
The List 2632a}er — 1 1 February 1993 57