Jazzuelle – SA House Music’s Best Kept Secret
I think honesty is important, I am very honest with how I express myself, musically that is. It takes people a while to really get me”
Jazzuelle may just be South African House Music’s best kept secret… or our next incumbent super star artist. He has been getting rave reviews from international heavyweights such as Atjazz and locally he is slowly seeping into the psyche of all knowledgeable house heads.
The deep thinking, honest DJ/producer talks to us about his brilliant ‘Inaugural’ EP on Atjazz Records, a split persona, being inspired by Picasso, and what he did to get established labels to notice him and his work.
Your latest EP ‘New Worlds’ out on DeepStitched has a pretty interesting story behind its concept. Your reference to a life long fascination with the universe and the cosmos gives the release significant substance. How important is it to you that a release has a deeper, underlying story and why?
Jazzuelle: Everyone has a way that yields creative output, like a release I did on Foliage Records was mostly inspired by Picasso’s paintings. So be it writing, music, design etc., it’s completely up to you, there’s no one size fits all formula. Most of my work is inspired by art, love, heartbreak, the books I’ve read or am reading, what I learn every day and the people I meet. For me it plays an essential role as it gives what I do direction, a holistic picture about who I am and what I’m trying to reveal.
Rooftop parties make for perfect, dream like settings for deep house music events for example. What do you enjoy most when playing at rooftop parties, and what in your opinion does the location add to an event?
Jazzuelle: Oh yes I’m pretty new to them, growing up in Cape Town, we never really had any rooftop shows like they do here in Joburg, or at least I wasn’t playing any rooftop shows there. So I’m always thrilled when I get the opportunity to play at any given rooftop. Locations are just as important as the music sometimes; the ambience can influence the overall energy in any space, just as a working space, if you’re comfortable where you working you’ll deliver more. In essence if you’re really feeling the venue you’ll enjoy the gig too. It all works together.
Your ‘Inaugural’ EP on Atjazz Records is a fluid, brilliantly rhythmic, and transportive piece of work. How long did it take you to complete this release and is there one or more of the tracks that has a special meaning to you/or story behind it?
Jazzuelle: Thank you, it took me roughly about a month to write everything and be comfortable with it, the tracks that meant a lot on there for me were probably Always There (Yearning) and Birth Of Venus; the former was inspired by the universal yearning people have to be loved, or waiting to be loved by the right person. The latter, inspired by a historic painting done around the 1940’s by legendary artist Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the Goddess Venus (Aphrodite), having emerged from the Sea as an adult woman, arriving at the sea shore. This piece was very special to me and I wanted to somehow put music to the painting, or at least try.
I enjoyed the muffled crowd chatter in the background of ‘The Last Labyrinth’. When and how did you decide to add in this effect here and how did you achieve it?
Jazzuelle: Trying to fit in field recordings or sounds of everyday life isn’t a new thing for me. I’ve always played around with the idea of incorporating music or sounds into everyday life, deep and directly into spaces where it would had otherwise been another lost moment in daily routine [pauses] not sure if I want to give off my secrets away just yet, maybe in the near future.[laughs].
Your take on deep house is purposefully left field and beautifully experimental. Your stuff is so soulful it’s almost impossible not to love. What do you think it is about your nature and personality that propels you to approach your music and artistry in this way?
Jazzuelle: I think honesty is important, I am very honest with how I express myself, musically that is. It takes people a while to really get me, as a result I think what I write in the lab is directly correlated to the interactions I make when I’m out with or around people. My inability to be myself and communicate the way I want to without being judged usually brings out a split persona, almost like a guise. As a result when I’m back in the lab alone and comfortable, it’s as if the music is like a diary. I’ve grown to realise that the fundamental aesthetic of my work is nostalgia, everything I write is attached to a memory, these memories make Jazzuelle, they are Jazzuelle.
Not forgetting your own independent label, what can we be expecting from Cityscope Recordings in 2015?
Jazzuelle: I started Cityscope as an outlet to release my own music. I never had plans for it to go further, it’s very hard for anyone to release music that makes a significant difference in the scene these days without a discography. Labels want to deal more with artists that have released something, in my case, I believed I had a hot record but could not get anyone to listen or sign it because no one knew who I was, so I Googled how to start up a label, found a distributor and I did it myself, and waited for them to come, and they did. It’s safe to say for now I wont be releasing anything on CSR, maybe in the future.
You’ve been a part of the Red Bull Music Academy Bass Camp and were surrounded by some of our finest progressively thinking local artists. What would you say this experience afforded you and in which way/s did it enrich you both personally and on a creative level?
Jazzuelle: It was really awesome man, was so stoked when they called me and said I was chosen. I knew, somehow, some way my life would change. I’ve always been following RBMA so I wasn’t completely oblivious to what they were about. I really learnt team work and how others work, the way they process themselves before they work and so on. It was a real eye opener for me, and the knowledge we received from the likes of Bra Hugh Masekela, Vinny Da Vinci, Christos and more was also great and motivating. I also gained some friends there too, it was a family vibe and family is what echoes the ethos of the Red Bull Music Academy.
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