The buzz is building pretty solidly around Brooklyn for lo-fi/electro/dance duo Javelin. Their debut album No Mas
features an off-the-wall combination of hip hop, electro, elevator music, synthpop, and any other type of music you can imagine. In an attempt to get to know more about the mysterious and incredibly eclectic duo, Baeble had a chance to ask them a few questions.
First off how'd you guys get started?
We are cousins who grew up playing music separately, then joined forces. We started making stuff together in 2005.
Your Myspace says you're originally from Rhode Island, but now in Brooklyn. Did the change of music scene have any impact on the way you approach writing
More than the scene I think the place has thoroughly affected our music. For one thing, the city (Manhattan included) can totally spin your head around what you thought was music only you cared about. If it exists, some community is listening to it, or remembers it when it came out. I was in a record shop in South Slope and Stevie B.'s producer's cousin was in the room trying to sell wireless routers. Everyone in the shop knew who Stevie B was and started calling out favorite songs. Where else in the world can you find that? All cultural references aside, bands here are way more serious than what we were used to in Rhode Island. It made us step up our game a bit.
How did your idea for using dollarbin records as samples start?
I started collecting these records when I was 15 or so-- it was a fun activity, more than a calling. It goes well with diners, flea markets, matinees, etc. I think I was following Beck's impetus: "turn sh*t to gold."
How do you think the low-fi, low-cost type of approach has affected your sound?
It's funny, the term lo-fi seems to apply to how consumer-grade digital equipment sounds. I really like how the same principle applies to tape. If you don't exactly know how to go for a specific sound, you just blow out the medium and have a lot of fun. That said, I think our sound definitely has shades of lo-fidelity in there, although we are trying to get better.
Rumor has it you have some pretty famous friends, like David Byrne and Mos Def. What's that like, knowing you have that kind of support?
Rumors are cool.
I think it's safe to say that you share a lot in common with groups like Rattatat or JUSTICE, do you think about other groups in your "genre" at all when producing?
Not really, although sometimes you make something that sounds like another group, (like their influence has seeped in) and most times we don't really want them in there, so we back away slowly and re-start the process a little further back. Producers we think about when making stuff are usually far from who we are, as far as being from the same time, age, cultural context, etc.
Are there any groups that you are influenced by that you think would surprise people?
Hmmmm... It's hard to tell what would surprise people because that entails predicting someone's perceptions and possibly prejudices... but, let's see, we are as influenced by booty bass as we are by Arthur Russell, by our childhood music of the 80's as by oldies like the Beatles, Smokey Robinson, African guitar music... I grew up on classical and baroque composers, Bach...
What are some acts you'd love to play with but haven't yet?
Of all the remix/recycle type DJs (Girltalk, Hathbanger, etc) what do you think makes you guys stand out?
That we are not DJs. We're musicians. If you see us live, we're more like entertainers. We would PLAY your Bat Mitzvah, not DJ it.
debut No Mas
comes out April 6th on Luaka Bop
. If the pre-release buzz is any indicator, you'll probably be hearing a lot more of their sample-laden dance music in the coming months. -Ryan Broderick