“We’re all influenced by each other. Yeah a lot of girls don’t have that finesse when they way they do it, but you know a true trend setter sets the trends and knows when to walk away from them.”
-Jack Davey On Copycats
In an industry where artists gain kudos for their effect on various markets, many fail drastically… especially those who try to take a stab at post R&B/Soul. There are those like Santigold and Janelle Monae and there are others such as J*DaVeY. Miss Jack Davey’s ultra-unique voice and Brook D’Leau’s fantastic musical voyage (Hip-Hop, electro, funk and new wave) are truly a bundle of eclecticism, suitable each type of audible tastemaker.
The duo band has been ruling the underground for quite sometime, appealing to the misfits of the underworld with double disc The Beauty In Distortion/The Land Of The Lost and most recently, EP Boudoir Synema: The Great Mistapes.
But don’t think J*DaVeY is just another best kept secret. Miss Jack Davey has done her part in sharing the wealth of her voice- even featured on alongside some familiar Hip-Hop cats. For someone who doesn’t listen to much rap music, Miss Jack can surely be caught dropping some bars on J Dilla’s Jay Love Japan track “Red Light.” Even if she isn’t dropping rhymes, you know who you’re dealing with. In fact, do the necessary research, for J*DaVeY has collaborated with fellow Californians Pacific Division and Blu, as well as Little Brother’s Phonte. Although it isn’t about name-dropping, J*DaVeY even opened for Prince.
While in DC for a tour stop, AllHipHop’s Diane “Shabazz” Varnie talked to the duo and was iin awe of the creative explosion. Prior to the show, J* DaVeY talk about upcoming projects excluding music, her thoughts on today’s female rappers and more.
AllHipHop.com: J*Davey have been around in the underground for quite some time now. What’s going on now in days?
Jack Davey: Our theme has really been about building a brand that’s beyond music and encompassing all of our talents. So we’ve just been working on that while touring and doing shows, and directly connecting with our fans. We’ve also been doing merchandise. A lot of art related things that aren’t specifically music. Because now in days you have to a lot more than just the music. We’ve been looking towards branding a lot more.
AllHipHop.com: So besides music, what are some of the other art-related things that you guys are working on branding?
Jack Davey: Fashion definitely. I’ve been collaborating on a line called Lady Tripper, which is a lot of feather and lace pieces, which I’ll be wearing tonight. He [Brook D’Leau] has been collaborating on head pieces and a few garments. We’ve also been doing like a fan-zine for our fans. More video projects as well. We’ve been talking about doing a short that we’ll score and possibly star in. Just a lot of different things.
AllHipHop.com: I have seen the tumblr blog page and all the love you guys received from your fans. How has social media been successful for J*Davey?
Jack Davey: We’ve always been a group that always takes it straight to the people. Our fanbase is so strong… so die-hard that we have to directly connect with them. That’s always our goal. If we have the support of the people, then we’ll be able to stick around for a long time. So that’s important to us. Nurturing our fanbase.
AllHipHop.com: Being independent for majority of your career, how does it feel to be signed to Warner Bros Records?
Jack Davey: I mean it’s been about the same. The state of the labels now call for you to be a self-detained artist. You have to be able to push yourself and do your own work… your own everything. So we’re used to that, it’s really made us work a lot harder.
AllHipHop.com: So ya’ll basically get a lot of freedom.
Jack Davey: We have a lot of freedom, yeah. I mean that’s the type of band that we are. We have to have the freedom to just be who we are… or else it’s not going to work.
J*DaVeY – “Mr. Mister”
AllHipHop.com: Usually record labels go for the next best thing. Of course J*DaVeY is unorthodox when it comes to this aspect of marketing and appeal to the game. How has J*DaVeY’s journey been as far as paving a self lane?
Jack Davey: It’s always takes a little longer, but I mean it’s fine. I think there’s room for all of that- mainstream, underground. There’s room for everyone to do everything that they do. We just maintain, do what we do, and keep evolving. We’re always evolving and moving up to the next plate. We try to stay consistent.
AllHipHop.com: I agree that there’s room for everyone, but J*Davey has been around for some time. Being that the safest genre to pin you guys to is R&B/Soul, do ya’ll ever feel like dues aren’t being paid when due? Lack of recognition? How do you feel about the industry and the so called “originality?”
Jack Davey: I mean sometimes it’s easy to feel entitled for certain ideas, so sometimes we just have to snap ourselves back into reality and know that we’re merely vessels of a genius that is present in the world. We’re not the only ones that are going to enjoy that genius. As long as the ideas are out there and people are exposed to great things, that’s all that matters. Whether it comes from us or not. We have done a lot of things that people have failed to do before we did them. But to take credit, it’s egotistical. We just keep doing more things and the credit will come. But you know getting credit for a hairstyle or a particular outfit is bullsh** in the bigger picture.
AllHipHop.com: It’s funny you mention that. Everyone knows you for your stable image, stamped with the infamous haircut that we’re now seeing more in the mainstream avenue. Most noted for jacking the hairstyle from you is Cassie. How do you feel about people saying she took the style from you?
Jack Davey: I mean I followed the girl that used to cut my hair was the first person I saw [with this haircut] and I was like “Whoa, that’s bold as hell. I wanna do that.” We’re all influenced by each other. Yeah a lot of girls don’t have that finesse when they way they do it, but you know a true trend setter sets the trends and knows when to walk away from them. Not to toot my own horn, but you it’s to be done, it’s to be copied. That’s what the art is there for. To be shared.
AllHipHop.com: One thing for sure is the spotlight California has slowly been regaining. A lot of your fellow artists such as Nipsey Hussle, Dom Kennedy, Jay Rock and more are now emerging as the west coast’s next promising artists. How do you feel about that? Especially since J*Davey’s is apart of that in a sense.
Jack Davey: I think it was all just a matter of time. We were all working, we were all doing our stuff- especially us and Sa-Ra. We were all coming up around the same time. It’s been about the south for a long time, and the east for a long, and now it’s just time for a new west coast type of vibe. I think it was just a matter of time before it all just blows.
AllHipHop.com: Despite music, what gets your creative juices on a day-to-day basis? What inspires you?
Jack Davey: Everything. People. I love to people watch and just listen. People don’t even realize that I’m listening. I love to be a voyeur of the world. That’s where I get all of my inspirations from.
AllHipHop.com: You’re usually singing, but you have some tracks that you’ve spit a few bars on, such as “HI’S & LO’S.” How do you feel about the current females in the hip-hop game and the way some are being perceived as gimmicks?
Jack Davey: I think it’s unfortunate that females feel like they way to portray that same image over and over again just to get out there, but I don’t know. I mean it’s been done so many times and I’m personally desensitized and not interested in it. I mean I guess as long as we have one champion at a time, that’s better than nothing I guess.
J*DaVeY – Crawl All Over (off Boudoir Synema: The Great Mistapes)
AllHipHop.com: Have you been following this oil spill business? How hip are you when it comes to that?
Jack Davey: I’m hip enough to know that it’s f**cked up. I heard about what happened here today. D.C. experienced a random oil spill where all the streets were flooded with oil. All the streets were shut down. It’s not just a gulf problem, it’s everybody’s problem. This is going to affect how we eat and how certain parts of the country make their money. Sea food is the lively hood of the gulf. If you take the sea food away then… I mean you deprive certain people of culture. I think it would have been a dope form of protest just to basically say “Hey, this affects all of us. What if this happened in your neighborhood?” It’s really unfortunate.
AllHipHop.com: On Boudoir Synema: The Great Mistapes, I couldn’t help but have a stand-outish ear for the “Outta The Window,” track. Though all of your music is eclectic, you guys went kind of went left-field with this track- if that’s even possible. The track places me in the 60s scenario involving on a beach and a lot of California sun, chillin’ with some funky company. How was the studio session going into the recording of this track?
Jack Davey: I actually heard the track from this producer named Khari Ferrari Mateen, whom we collaborated with a lot. He’s right in our same vibes. He’s lives in Philly, but he’s a California kid. I heard the track and I loved it. I just started coming up with some sing-songy melody. It was kind of dark, but it was kind of focused on what I was saying. He also did “Venus To Mars,” which I just really connect with his music so much because it’s like we’re of the same tribe. Going into it… I don’t know. I don’t really know where I am mentally or spirituality when I write or record anything. It’s always different.
AllHipHop.com: Now with you Brook D’Leau, your style of beat-making is absolutely supreme. It’s truly unusual and challenges the mind to understand beat structure on a different plane. I truly believe you have the ability to be mentioned amongst fellow noted Los Angeles producers. So if you were in a battle with Flying Lotus, Dam-Funk and Madlib, what would be their strengths, and who would win?
Brook D’Leau: I’ve always appreciated Madlib’s authenticity- not to say that any of the other artists don’t have it, but I feel like he always tried his hardest to stay within that. Lotus is crazy. His shit is all over the place on a extreme mind idea behind what he does. Dam-Funk is just keeping it west coast and funky. So it’s all really different. Even for myself, J*Davey’s stuff is a bit more psychedelic… a little bit more trippy. But in a beat battle, I’d have to go with Lotus. He’s a beast. If you were in a battle like that, I just don’t see any body really knocking him out the box right now.
AllHipHop.com: So what’s next or J*Davey? Have ya’ll gotten a chance to work on any new projects or material while touring?
Brook D’Leau: Constantly. We never- well we haven’t necessary flooded the market with stuff. We like to be selective when we’re releasing things. It has to be right more so than “I feel like putting out some music right now.” It has to mean more than that. So whenever we expose something to the public, it has to make sense. But we’re always working on stuff.
AllHipHop.com: Any name for the next project? Set date for release?
Brook D’Leau: Not as of yet. We’ve been doing more writing than anything, but I think everyone will kind of understand what we’ve doing this year. I think Jack was talking about this earlier, but it’s more than just music. It’s it encompassing lifestyle that goes along with this. So you’ll be seeing other projects as well aside from the musical ones.
AllHipHop.com: So overall when you guys universally make it, what it something you guys want to be known for?
Jack Davey: I wouldn’t mind being moralized like Iggy Pop. Iggy Pop was one of the founders of punk [rock] music in the 60s. He inspired David Bowie and all the little punk rockers. He didn’t really start getting his dues until recently. Now everyone is a Iggy Pop and a Stooges fan. I think our music- and Sa-Ra’s too, and a lot of out musical peers, in 20 years, we’re all going to be the kids heros. Those are the crystal children, the young indigos that are really going to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. I think we missed this generation by a long shot, but that next generation, being born now, our music for them. They’re going to revive us and they’re going to make us legendary. We’ll probably still be traveling and doing J*Davey. That’s cool.
AllHipHop.com: I know you probably listen to your iPod on random, but when it comes to Hip Hop, is their anyone that you’re digging? Anybody that you’re listening to?
Jack Davey: I don’t really listen to a lot of Hip Hop… I can say that, sadly. But I’ve always been a Busta Rhymes fan. When ever Busta Rhymes does something new, I usually pay attention because he’s pretty consistent. I’m also pretty random. If I hear something and I like it, that’s what it is. I don’t have too many current favorites. It’s just sad because there are a lot of people doing some cool things, I’m so disconnected so I wouldn’t know.
AllHipHop.com: When you’re jamming to something, what are you usually listening to?
Jack Davey: When I’m in my car, I usually listen to the classic rock station or college radio, which plays a lot of off-beat, older things. I listen to a lot of old stuff. I’ve been listening to listening to a lot of The Prodigy. I listen to a lot of psychedelic stuff. Ol stuff, because like I said, everything is the same. You really don’t know what’s what. But of course I love Little Dragon, Muhsinah. I love Muhsinah and I love Elevator Flight… Brooke who else do we listen to?
Brooke D’Leau: Def Sound.
Jack Davey: Brook has been working with Def Sound lately. It’s dope. It’s inspiring. We’ve been working on music for so long. That’s another thing. We like to step out and work with other artists on a production, writing tip. You know, taking the focus away from us having to do all the work. Going towards something new.
AllHipHop.com: I usually ask “What are you’re last words for Hip Hop,” but in your case, I think it better to ask what are your last words for the world.
Jack Davey: Live life and don’t… do what you want to do regardless of what people have to say and how they’re going to feel. Always do you. Stay in your lane. Know what works for you, and do it to the best of your ability.
J*DaVeY – “Get Together”