LWE Podcast 65: Jitterbug

They say slow and steady wins the race, but Jitterbug has applied that maxim without participating in the race at all. The somewhat shadowy UK-based DJ/producer lets his music do all the talking and even then hasn’t said very much. Yet the message that’s come across in his two EPs for London’s Uzuri imprint has been quite moving, presenting a house sound that prizes the gritty, unbound ethos of early Chicago house, the drum patterning of fellow UK producers, and the finesse required to excel beyond pastiche. Even in his brief discography Jitterbug has shown a good deal of development, suggesting that no matter how long it takes between releases his next transmission will exceed the one before it. For this reason we’ve tracked down Jitterbug for an interview about his deliberate pace, the gear facilitating his granular sound, and his relationship with Uzuri. He’s also contributed LWE’s 65th exclusive podcast, a nearly 90 minute long vinyl-only mix that reveals his influences as it touches on everything from psychedelic jazz to acid-house, cosmic disco funk and Detroit techno.

LWE Podcast 65: Jitterbug (86:05)

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01. Sun Ra, “History Repeats”
02. Barry Morgan & Ray Cooper, “Samba Street” [Themes International Music]
03. Lola, “Wax The Van” (Jon’s Dub) [Jump Street Records]
04. Bill Withers, “You Got the Stuff” (Black Cock Re-Edit) [Black Cock]
05. Rick Wilhite, “Roots of Detroit (Revise)” [Three Chairs]
06. Theo Parrish, “Music” [Sound Signature]
07. Lil’ Louis & The World, “I Called U” (A Cappella) [FFRR]
08. Mr. Fingers, “Mystery of Love” [Jack Trax]
09. MD III, “Set Me Free” [Underground]
10. Ace & The Sandman, “Let Your Body Talk” [Trax Records/Rush Hour]
11. Joe Lewis, “Separate Ways” [Relief Records]
12. DJ Skull, “Don’t Stop the Beat” [Djax-Up-Beats
13. Saul Williams, “Pledge of Resistance” [Ninja Tune]
14. Chez Damier, “Untitled B1” [KMS]
15. Alex O. Smith, “Ultra Fine One” [FXHE Records]
16. Markey, “Bounce” [Cajual Records]
17. John Swing, “Unknown Feeling” [LiveJam Records]
18. Tevo Howard, “Move” (Acid Mix) [Rush Hour Recordings]
19. XDB, “Cagomi” [Metrolux Music]
20. Mach, “(The Original) On And On” [Lost Records]
21. Telex, “Moskow Disko” [JDC Records INC.]
22. Paperclip People, “Paperclip Man” [Retroactive]
23. The Other People Place, “Let Me Be Me” [Warp Records]

Uzuri seems to place faith in both seasoned and talented new producers, how did you first get involved with the label?

Jitterbug: A couple of years back I finally had some tracks I was actually happy with and vaguely looking to get released. I sent a demo to Uzuri as well as another label, all pretty low key. I didn’t really hear back from Uzuri for quite a while. I think I sent on another demo, waited some more and then kinda out of the blue got an email saying they wanted to do an EP.

I really like your laid back approach and the fact you have not been rushed into releasing material for financial purposes. Is this something you actively think about or is it a case of finding time to make the tracks?

It’s just down to wanting to take my time rather than rushing records out for the sake of it. Waiting a good few months after finishing a track before thinking about releasing it gives you time to see it with fresh perspective — sometimes I’ll rework things and come up with something better. Plus, you want to work with people who believe in you: Lerato from Uzuri has become a good friend of mine who I can trust — that’s really important. I should be doing another record for Uzuri in the near future.

With regards to making music how long have you been producing tracks for? Also after hearing both previous Uzuri EPs there’s a definite lo-fi aesthetic to your sound; is that influenced by your musical background?

I’ve been making music for a fair few years now, but I still consider myself a relative beginner. As far as the lo-fi thing goes, I guess that has its roots in my love of old school Chicago/Detroit stuff. So much amazing, soulful music, yet still so rough around the edges. That’s the kind of stuff that moves me. I love the DIY vibe of it, the way people just strung a couple of boxes together and made records that still work 25 years later. In general I often lean towards rough and ready music, whether it’s lowdown acid house or crackly dub reggae — sometimes raw is more.

With the influence of Chicago and Detroit house evident in your productions, do you prefer the analog hardware often associated with the sound or does that matter much to you?

Well put it this way, I started out making music on a computer. But given the kind of vibe I aim for, it’s very difficult to get that sort of sound in the box. So I’ve gradually added bits and pieces of hardware to my setup which has made it much easier to get some grit and colour in there. I’ve kept the computer as well’ it comes in very handy for certain tasks, but it’s no longer the focal point of my setup. The great thing about hardware is sometimes it forces you to be more spontaneous or take a trickier route which can have unexpected but pleasing results. The downside is paying to get shit fixed!

There has been a resurgence of a traditional analog vibe over the past few years, but with that becoming the trend do you feel it’s starting to sound a bit generic and indistinguishable from artist to artist?

You know, I don’t pay that much attention. Everything comes and goes in cycles. It’s not like I’m out there checking the week’s new releases all the time. I buy more old records than new, by a long way. I keep an ear out for interesting new stuff but I know there’s a wealth of music out there from the last 30-40 years I can spend my money on that will inspire me way more than this week’s big thing. I never bought in to this brand new, “cutting edge” bullshit — good music is good music. On any given day I’m playing reggae, disco, soul, and techno. I’m never gonna sit and listen to new house records all day, it would bore the shit out of me. So when I do sit down to make music, my head isn’t full of preconceived ideas about what to do. I’ll grab a sample here and there and just do what feels good that day.

Moving on to the podcast, will you please tell us a little bit about the mix? Ideas behind it? Influences? How it was made?

It was mixed at home on my turntables. I triggered a couple of vocal samples from my MPC, other than that it was all vinyl, same as when I play a party. For me vinyl and turntables are the perfect set-up. I will love vinyl to my dying day. I just wanted to play a set of records I really like, no great concept behind it, just good music spanning a few decades. Hopefully people will dig it.

What producers do you lay claim to having influenced your live performance? Or the producers you particularly admire?

It’s really hard to know where to begin, to be honest. My record collection is large and varied. I’m influenced by disco, dub/reggae, Chicago house, jazz, afrobeat, Detroit techno, etc. With the house stuff, the DIY ethic of the early Chicago stuff is something that resonates with me. Someone like Larry Heard would be an obvious person to mention — I’ve just been listening to Distant Planet again today and marvelling at just how good it is. What a fucking record! With DJing, the Chicago style of DJing — that high-energy layered mixing style [Hotmix style -ed] — has always excited me. Although I’m not so much into his sound these days, Derrick Carter was a huge inspiration on the way I mix records. I’d always rather hear someone take a few risks and fuck up occasionally than do everything by the book.

What lies in store now for Jitterbug?

I have a collaboration project in the pipeline which I’m pretty excited about although I’m not gonna give too much away at the moment. An album is something I’ll do eventually.

lerato  on November 15, 2010 at 7:51 AM

Love working with you jitter and am inspired by your passion for what you do .
another great mix again !!! Much love

tom/pipecock  on November 15, 2010 at 10:19 AM

go jitterbug!

Dave  on November 15, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Thanks jitterbug, really loved the last mix you done for Uzuri, TL on this looks great, downloading now!

Per Bojsen-Moller  on November 15, 2010 at 1:27 PM

The tracklist alone looks outstanding, can’t wait to listen

ferrispark  on November 16, 2010 at 6:34 PM

SUPER SOLID! If you don’t ‘jit’ you need to get at it…

Barry  on November 16, 2010 at 7:43 PM

amazing mix, aint the mr fingers mystery of love though?

either way, ive listened to this 3 times this evening!

littlewhiteearbuds  on November 16, 2010 at 10:28 PM

Quite clearly, thanks for pointing that out. Fixed.

jitterbug  on November 17, 2010 at 6:01 AM

hey LWE , thanks for hosting the mix. sorry, the mr. fingers track is mislabelled on my LP :



Barry  on November 17, 2010 at 9:51 AM

I knew about that mis-label, though that was the case alright! anyway, mix is amazing!

Luke Hawkins  on November 17, 2010 at 3:58 PM

top marks for a top bloke! i was fortunate to have a couple of weeks listening before this was posted! pure bliss! tracklist is supplemented by some very tasty mixing!

kakaok  on November 18, 2010 at 9:05 AM

bit too predictable, non entertaining, kind of “find all most colourful and most value sweeties around and it will make an unforgettable mix”. in fact all sweeties are only because of their,say constituted/commonly respected colourfullness and sweetness instead of beeing a naturally fitting building block (in other words too many V.I.P’s!)

hence, though all bangers like always adored but hard to exposure (complete failure here) kms49, are present, the problem is they are not coworking only giving each other a runaround (Mach “On And On” is another out of element one, and bringing after it other “Ron Hardy owned” track is for me hardly creative)
dj must know how to use potentials of his weapons, not shakin them all in one pot.

kakaok  on November 18, 2010 at 9:31 AM

if you want listen to everything from psychedelic jazz to acid-house, cosmic disco funk and Detroit techno, better sniff in the unterunderground, for instance http://soundcloud.com/uho-soundoscillators/soundoscillators-inspiration-mix-podcast-february-2010 . it may be technically flawed but deffinietly got more funk and entertainment then overloaded, eaten by pressure efforts :)

boe recordings  on November 18, 2010 at 11:08 AM

jitterbug was the highlight for me at the last sud electronic party. he tore it up. cant wait to download this one.

lerato  on November 18, 2010 at 11:19 AM

kaokak don’t know what you are listening to but i find no lack of flow at all with this mix and as for predictable in whose books ?
point us pls to you less predictable mixes pls !!

ferrispark  on November 19, 2010 at 8:33 AM

@kakaok go troll somewhere else please. you are predictably boring… I think maybe your girlfriend has a crush on Jitterbug or something, get over it, all the girl’s like Jitterbug

mrkaizen  on November 19, 2010 at 1:07 PM

fantastic set

harpomarx42  on November 20, 2010 at 9:39 PM

Easily one of the best mixes in the LWE podcast series.

I gotsta find me some of that Theo Parrish business.

jamie  on November 21, 2010 at 4:03 PM

love this mix – karaoak, yer entitled to your opinion but music shouldn’t be about one upmanship – its no deep house top trumps! good music is good music

disco nihilist  on November 21, 2010 at 10:37 PM

Nice mix.

andy a  on November 22, 2010 at 2:25 PM

love the mix.

Simon  on November 30, 2010 at 4:28 PM

best mix i’ve heard this year. Awesome man


Jitterbug – LWE Podcast 65 « The Hipodrome Of Music  on November 18, 2010 at 2:38 AM

[…] read interview Leave a Comment LikeBe the first to like this post.Leave a Comment so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Click here to cancel reply. Line and paragraph breaks automatic, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <pre> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> […]

Next party with Jitterbug, 4 February «  on January 5, 2011 at 5:08 PM

[…] more interested in the records that JB plays, and you can get a taster for them with his recent mix (and interview) for Little White Earbuds. Speaking of playing records, our own supersmooth Andrew […]

LWE Podcast 65: Jitterbug is archived this week | Little White Earbuds  on October 15, 2011 at 3:11 PM

[…] 90 minutes by Jitterbug with a heavy focus on the music of Detroit and Chicago. Be sure to add it to your collection before it’s archived this Friday, October 14th. » Brandon Wilner | October 9th, 2011 […]

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