In an increasingly consensus driven dance music culture, Juju & Jordash let their freak flag fly. More akin to a particularly funky jazz combo or psychedelic rockers than your average production duo, Gal Aner and Jordan Czamanski take a vivid and largely organic approach to making house music that leaves few boundaries left to color outside of. Early on their sui generis sound caught the ears of Detroit artists Reggie Dokes and Keith Worthy and garnered releases on their labels (Psychostasia and Aesthetic Audio, respectively) among many others, but the Amsterdam-based pair gained their widest renown with the release of their self-titled sophomore LP on Dekmantel. The present pinnacle of their vibrant, jazz-infused sound found favor with critics and elbowed its way onto several discerning year end lists. It also gave us hope there is much more to come. Gal and Jordan were kind enough to answer a few of our questions between gigs, and put together a whirlwind mix of lush house sounds, industrial textures and ethnic explorations that goes a long way towards explaining their perspective and getting you dancing.
LWE Podcast 41: Juju & Jordash (55:42)
01. Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Steppin’ Into Asia” [Midi Inc.]
02. Aroy Dee, “The Planets” [NWAQ]
03. Tevo Howard, “Dreamer’s Reason” (Club Mix) [Beautiful Granville Records]
04. Rick Wade, “No Place” [Laid]
05. Rick Wade, “Ricky’s Groove” [Laid]
06. Kuniyuki, “Dear African Sky” (Henrik Schwarz Remix Unreleased Live Version) [Endless Flight]
07. Aroy Dee, “The Planets” [NWAQ]
08. Marcus Mixx, “Better Spread On Red” [Let’s Pet Puppies]
09. Beautiful Swimmers, “Horizon” [Future Times]
10. My Mine, “Hypnotic Tango” (Instrumental) [Progress Record]
11. Cabaret Voltaire, “Kino” [Virgin]
12. Theo Parrish, “Overyohead” [Sound Signature]
13. Anthony Nicholson, “untitled” [white]
14. Tidiani Koné & Orchestre Poly-Rythmo, “Djanfa Magni” [Analog Africa]
15. The Crystalites, “Concentration Ver. 3″ [Earmark]
If I were to walk into your studio now, what would you point out as the main pieces of gear used in your music? What about a favorite piece of gear?
Jordan: It’s hard to pinpoint one piece of gear, but we seem to use spring reverbs and tape delays in every track. [As for] favorites, maybe the Binson Echorec because it’s strange.
How long was the self-titled album in gestation before it was released? Were all the tracks written at the same time?
Gal: Most of the tracks were written at different times during the last couple of years. It was actually Casper from Dekmantel who had the idea to compile them into an album. From that moment on it was a relatively fast process.
Finding house music and even techno that’s not built on samples is increasingly rare. Why have you opted for this route? What are the consequences for you of not, say, grabbing a voice here and a horn sample there, and instead having everything performed?
Jordan: It’s not a philosophical decision. We like samples/samplers and sample-based music. But having a great studio available to us allows us to explore the reasons we would like a certain sample/audio texture. We enjoy trying to create the sounds we would otherwise wish to sample. The consequences… it takes us longer to record and mix, but I think we developed our own sound on the way, which is cool.
Juju & Jordash is also unusual in that (at least according to Discogs) you’ve done only one remix ever. What are the reasons behind that, and are there more coming?
Jordan: We’ve done a few remixes: One for The Asphalt on Deep Explorer, one for Sienna (a Norwegian singer), one for Lerosa on our Dekmantel EP and a few for our own tracks (one on Underground Quality, one on our latest LP, one on our LP for Ropeadope, and “Husheesh” from our EP on Psychostasia is a remix of our track “Hush.”) A few more remixes are going to be released soon: one for the mighty Ukrainian producer Vakula, one for Canadian producer Andrew Duke, one for Belgian producer Boogaloo Zoo, and one for a Spanish producer named Chete. When approached to do a remix, if we have time and like the material we usually see where it goes.
A lot of your tracks feel very organic and free flowing. How much do you have DJs and dancers in mind when making your tracks?
Jordan: When we are working on a more uptempo track we definitely have the dancers in mind, but never the DJs. A good DJ can work with any song/track. We don’t make DJ tools. We try to make music that we would like to hear on a dance floor.
Detroit artists and labels seem to be among the most receptive to your sound and style. Why do you suppose that is? In what ways has Detroit dance music influenced your own?
Gal: Maybe because we take chances and try to stay true to the music, without thinking about trends and formulas. A lot of guys from Detroit seem to be more open minded. Detroit dance music influenced me in a very big way, especially when I just started producing and dancing. I really looked up to producers like Juan Atkins, Jeff Mills, UR, et al. for making very innovative and futuristic yet touching music. They can really make those synths sing. In later years the more dirty (and slow) house sounds of Detroit (Theo Parrish, Reggie Dokes, Omar-S and crew) kept me dancing and believing this music is still alive and kicking.
What’s the best musical advice you’ve ever received?
Jordan: That there are no rules in music.
Where do you feel the intersections between jazz and house/techno are in your music?
Gal: Improvisation and freedom in the form are two important idioms we “imported” from jazz to our music. We try to fit that in with house, techno dub and industrial production methods.
What would be your dream gig? Venue, time of day, type of audience, line up, drugs on hand, etc.
Jordan: A dark warehouse with hash and psychedelics. The lineup. DJs: Maybe Daniele Baldelli, Theo Parrish. Live shows: Art Ensemble of Chicago, Lee Perry, Cabaret Voltaire circa 1979, haha. Maybe a two day festival and a time machine would do it.
What’s coming up for J&J in 2010?
Gal: Other than the remixes, a couple of new EPs and tracks are in the pipeline including another EP on Dekmantel, stuff on Uzuri and more projects to be announced. And yeah, coming up in a couple weeks our LP will be released on CD. Looking forward to doing many more live and DJ gigs this year, as well as some musical collaborations with our producer friends.
Tell me how the mix came together. Does it have a theme or concept?
Jordan: No real theme, just music we like hearing on a big system (well, at least most of it, haha). Maybe it’s a bit more “dancey” than our Off Minor radio show mixes.
LWE Podcast 41: Juju & Jordash (55:42)