Distortion, Designers, and Drugs: The Art of Pushing J*Davey
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 by Team Greedmont | 3 Comments; | Category: Alternative/Rock, Electro, Entertainment, Interview, Music, Pop, Rap, RnB/Jazz/Soul
“I thought I knew what to say. What do I know?” is a powerful sentiment expressed in the single, “Outta The Window”. It’s a groovy tune that on the surface might remind one of house parties and popsicles, but underneath it all is self-conscious and strangely, self-deprecating look on life and relationships. That’s a pattern with J*Davey. What’s displayed on the outside is never quite as deep and layered as what’s really there once you take the time out to actually listen and look.
J*Davey is a group consisting of Brook D’Leau and Jack Davey. They’re hailing from California and bringing a cool mesh of psychedelic, jazz, Hip-Hop, pop, and rock all smoothed over into something as energetic, powerful, euphoric and astonishing as a high-hitting, big wave. To look at J*Davey is to see only half the story. Jack Davey sports some of the most interesting designs that cover her petite frame and eye-catching haircut that was her style trademark before Cassie got hold of clippers. Brook D’Leau is the picture of GQ with an effortlessly chic style, but still interesting and fun. Seeing the two standing together inspires ideas of the cool kids who skipped class to go to concerts or smoke cigarettes in the bathroom. J*Davey brings the same type of effortless cool and charisma to the music industry. Brook’s trippy production and Jack’s playful vocals and witty songwriting have been capturing music lover’s ears for the better part of seven years.
I’m on the phone, sitting on an ottoman in a corner by a window in my friend’s apartment with pen and notepad in tow. Praying for nothing, but a good phone connection and a successful interview; my hands are in prayer position and head slightly bowed. Before I can successfully even put the ‘amen’ on my prayer; the high, cartoonish voice of Jack Davey interrupts with a lazy and relaxed “Hello!”. Before long, Brook came in with a deep, welcoming tone greeting me into the conversation, as well. The two have a chemistry and kinship that is even detectable on the phone. The relationship is intentional and very important to both members, Brook spiels. “[We are] definitely best friends… we have to be in order for us to do what we do… Whenever, I want to work with an artist I need to know them in order to have a sincere connection […] me and Jack constantly talk about how songs should flow.” Jack adds, “We’re like family, brother and sister, it’s important to our music. I’m personally connected to our art. That’s why it works so well because we have a great relationship.” The chemistry is apparent as they gush about what they love about each other’s talents and skills they bring to J*Davey. “My favorite part about Brook is his production is heavy. It grabs this random place that’s never touched any other time … He is musical unlike others who are partially musical [...] It’s always it’s own thing, and I love that”, Jack divulges about her production counterpart. Brook sharply adds his admiration about Jack’s songwriting. “She always does something that I never expected anyone to get away with [...] No matter what box you attempt to put her in, you’re always going to know who it is because she never takes herself out of the equation […]there is no exact reason as to why I’m attracted to her style of music, but it always works.”
J*Davey rocks out on stage and they aren’t just sonically ear-catching, but visually seductive. Brook eloquently describes his definition of art. “The expression of everyday life. It doesn’t have to make sense.” Jack chats about her view on style,
“It’s the true essence of a person. Style has nothing to do with fashion. Style is what you give off without even trying. It’s like an omniscient cloak of ego.”
Omniscient isn’t exactly the first word that comes to mind when you think of J*Davey’s sound, however. On their latest free EP, “Bouduir Synema: The Great Mistapes” it’s funky, playful, and eclectic like their fans would expect, but there’s still a significant change to be heard. Jack shares, “It’s a collection of songs we came up with while recording the major label release with Warner Bros., it bridges the old with the new.” The upcoming Warner Brothers release Jack alluded to is the much anticipated official debut of the duo entitled, “New Designer Drug”. “It’s mature J*Davey, a progression from where we started to where we are now.” Brook adds, “Not necessarily psychedelic, but it’s a lot of vibe in it and gave us the opportunity to experience with a lot more sounds. Working with a larger canvas allowed us to work on different things. Record a huge chunk of music and to see what stood out […] sift through and find the diamonds.” Jack talks about the racy name and the origins. “‘New Designer Drug’ is people taking anything that’s supposed to be hot shit, but it’s laced with the truth and some substance.”
J*Davey are probably the best pushers I’ve met in my short years. They believe in their product and the power of it. “We do have to believe in our work. The hardest part for an artist is editing yourself. We wanted to make certain that our songs stood the test of time.” Jack explicitly tells me the goal with J*Davey’s music,
“Why bust a nut when you can go for the big O?”
Environment influences art. That’s not a new theory, so I wanted to know how the two California artistes give credit to the place of beaches and dreams, and how it influences their work. “There’s groovy people, medical marijuana [...]we’re out here zoning out. We’ve got our own laid back thing that translates to the music. You’re either too cool or you’re chilling, we’re chilling.” Brook adds, “We don’t see real seasons out here and of course it’s going to pour into our music.” Jack doesn’t miss a beat, “People tend to look over L.A., but it’s very unique. It’s something else besides Hollywood and the paparazzi. L.A. being a young city reflects in our artwork [...] we’re not drawing from history.”
Jack and Brook are great conversationalists and were especially forthcoming when I asked about the milestones in their career like performing on ‘The Ellen Degeneres Show’ (Jack formerly worked for the show in production) and touring with Prince. Jack had this to say about performing on Ellen’s show after quitting to pursue music full-time. “It was really trippy, almost like a homecoming. It was like reintegrating myself with family. Ellen was the greatest boss [...] to go back, it felt amazing that I did something right.” Trippy is right, but if that’s trippy performing with Prince was a full-blown high. Brook shared an unbelievable story of J*Davey being able to meet and converse with Prince, Cornel West, and Tavis Smiley. Both members of J*Davey divulge about being able to meet one of their musical icons, Prince, and being able to cite him as one of their mentors. “He is our musical idol. Actually meeting him, a mentor of ours. He encouraged us to pursue what we really wanted [...] he definitely has a strong opinion with what’s going on with the musical climate.” He chimes after a short pause, “It’s one of [the group’s] biggest accomplishments ever”. The experience, though fruitful, was just a solidification that J*Davey was on the right path. Jack concludes, “Meeting Prince was a perk of working hard, a reward.”
J*Davey are a lot like drug dealers. They have a product that makes people feel great and they’re making a living off of it. J*Davey for all their style and brass are simply at the end of the day, two people with passion, creativity and a good product. It’s a timeless formula that has been proven to be successful and satisfying time and time again. When asked where J*Davey will be in ten years, Jack and Brook agree. “Here, there, and everywhere”. Spoken more like a promise, then a gloat. For music’s sake, I pray that J*Davey take promises as seriously as I do. J*Davey is planning an extensive summer tour and prepping for the release of their newest release, “New Designer Drug”. You can also download their new EP, “Bouduir Synema: The Great Mistapes”. There’s no excuse why not to get hooked on J*Davey, everybody’s doing it.
- Myles E. Johnson