Monday, 28 October 2013

From the Rebellion Archives: Jaya The Cat Interview

If the Booze & Glory interview was the first and easiest to finish, getting hold of Jaya the Cat involved numerous emails to press offices and a few emails to Daryl (Smith, programme editor) frantically asking him to just wait another day because I'm sure they will get back to me in time. They did and with some funny answers. Jaya the Cat just rule. And it's still weird to write as 'Rebellion' but you all know it's me... Don't forget that tickets are already on sale for Rebellion 2014. Get yours early!

Originating from Boston and currently based in Amsterdam, Jaya the Cat play an original and uncompromising combination of punk rock, reggae and ska music. Founded in 2002 through a shared passion for 60’s and 70’s dub and punk, the band draw inspiration for their unique style of music from seedy bars, cheap hotels, dysfunctional love affairs and political disillusionment. The resulting albums contain songs that range from booze fueled singalong anthems, to mellow tracks with a dance feel to outspoken social and political commentary.

Since their formation and transatlantic relocation the support for the band has continued to grow. They now have played hundreds of live shows to an ever expanding audience including a number of performances at Rebellions past. This is in addition to bolstering their sound with keyboards, samples, percussion and a tiki bar, which has now become essential to their onstage act. Whilst there is no such thing as an average Jaya the Cat concert, gigs usually become more of a party than a performance with the audience singing, dancing and drinking with the band onstage. With a new album out just before Rebellion, you know that this lot are up for a party. Make sure you don't miss the celebration.

Rebellion: Is it good to be back at Rebellion? When was your first Rebellion? Do you think it has changed since then?
Geoff: Hell yeah it's great to be back! I think this is our third or fourth year going, and it's always a blast. I actually don't see too much of a change in the festival. With Rebellion you pretty much know what you're getting into

Rebellion: Is Rebellion different from playing other festivals? If so, in what way?
Geoff: People are pretty damn cool there, from the stagehands to the audience it's pretty relaxed. And I like the whole vibe Blackpool as a sorta beat down resort town gives the festival as well. A lot of the bands we've played with and friends we've made touring the UK tend to be there as well so that's cool, it's a good party.

Rebellion: Do you have any top tips from this year's line up that we shouldn't miss?
Geoff: This is gonna sound bad but we play so fucking much, and we've also been so busy getting our newest album done, that I haven't have much of a chance to check the lineups of any of the festivals we're doing this summer. I usually just show up and hope to be pleasantly surprised. One good thing about Rebellion though is there's no worries, there's always a bunch of stuff I'm stoked to see no matter what.

Rebellion: I saw your set last year when members of The Skints joined you on stage, how healthy is the state of ska-reggae-party-punk music in 2012? How important has joining Bomber Music been to the band?
Geoff: I would say in the UK it seems to be fairly strong, I mean that sorta sound was pretty much born over here, right? In mainland Europe it's not as prevalent I guess, bands tend to stick in just one style, strictly rocksteady, or reggae or whatever. I personally like a bit of a mixup. Bomber is cool, they're a nice bunch and have quite a few of the bands in the scene we play with signed to them.

Rebellion: Would you agree with the statement that Jaya the Cat's philosophy is to drink as much as you can and don't take anything too seriously?
Geoff: That sounds like a pretty good philosophy! Maybe I'd change that to drink as much as you feel like and don't take anything too seriously. If I spent my days drinking as much as I could I wouldn't have time for anything else.

Rebellion: You've got a new album, The New International Sound of Hedonism recently released, where have you drawn inspiration from?
Geoff: I guess mostly just being on the road. We travel a lot and tend to imbibe in whatever the local poisons are when we get there, hence the international and the hedonism.

Rebellion: Is it work or play in the studio?
Geoff: It's a bit of both. It's a fine line, but I guess most of the work is done getting ready for the studio. Once you're in there you just want to cut loose, fuck it. You don't wanna come across as stiff or too professional on your recorded stuff.

Rebellion: What's your favourite track from the new album? Are there any which you'd recommend to people as being representative of Jaya the Cat in 2012?
Geoff: I dunno I've got a couple. My favorite one now is a track called bos en lommerweg, it's not so representative though. It's kinda a slow one. We did a few calypso style numbers on this album with guest vocals from some UK artists, Itch Fox from the King Blues on one and Adam Parsons from Captain Accident on another. It was cool to do some collaborations and I've always been a big calypso fan but have never been able to make it work before with Jaya. Every time I've tried in the past it just sounded too much of a stretch from our sound. So maybe that's a bit representative of the overall vibe on this one, it's still very much Jaya the Cat, but on this one we've been able to bridge out a bit more and expand our sound. You've gotta do that. Keep things from getting stale while sticking to your vision.

Rebellion: What's exciting about music in 2012?
Geoff: Music is always exciting, huh? I guess I like that technology just keeps getting cheaper, faster and more accessible. Say what you want, but the spirit of punk rock, the whole do it your fucking self deal, is more possible than ever now. As much as I still love the whole cassette tape single input 4 track deal, we're lightyears beyond that now and I think it's pretty rad.

- The Future is Unwritten. Make the most of every single day.

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