“Well life is an “unsober” experience. I would say we’re always under the influence of something…”
Since their debut in 2006, J*Davey has thrived by embracing experimentation and reinvention as their mantras. Their latest project, Evil Christian Cop, continued that tradition by showcasing everything from Nirvana remakes to searing R&B ballads. Instead of resting on their laurels, Los Angeles’ dynamic duo is using that EP is a lead-in to their long-awaited sophomore album, New Designer Drug (due out this summer). Now removed from major label constraints but enriched by the experience, J*Davey is prepared to reach the “next level” on their terms.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What was the reason for the big gap between the Evil Christian Cop EP and the first Great Mistapes project?
Brook D’Leau: I think we just put it out when we thought it was ready. We don’t have a system. We only put out projects when we really feel like it’s time.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: The Nirvana remake is great. Did you guys have any apprehension with tackling it? You know when you remake a classic there’s heightened scrutiny.
Jack Davey: No, we don’t make music with worry. We just throw it out into the universe. When you start thinking about what you’re making it kind of deters you from making it to the best of your ability. We just covered the song because it resonated with us.
Brook: Everybody has a perspective on how they would have remade it. I think we did a great job with our own interpretation of it. It wouldn’t have made sense to do it just like the record.
Jack: That would have been awful. [laughs]
Brook: People don’t understand when you do a cover it’s not to sound specifically like the original. It sounds like J*Davey but it’s a Nirvana song.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What’s your favorite Nirvana album?
Brook: I’m gonna go with Nevermind because that’s the one I’m most familiar with.
Jack: Yeah, that’s probably the best one. The EP they put out [Incesticide] was good too and Bleach. In Utereo… it was ok. I’ve become more of a Pixies fan with older age.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What’s the best thing you’ve been hearing in the music of your peers?
Brook: There’s a lot of genre-meshing. That’s always exciting in making that special gumbo of things that are unexpected. I feel like I’m hearing more of that but definitely not in the commercial vein. That’s a very small percentage of all the great music that’s out there.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: The West Coast has been under the radar now for years. Would you say that lack of mainstream attention has creatively benefited some of the regions like L.A.?
Jack: Definitely! It’s completely all our own and not taking any influence from anybody else. It’s creating trends and people are coming. L.A., we get a bad rap all around; it’s not fashionable to like L.A. But there’s something really undeniable happening out there right now. People are going to be forced to pay attention. It’s been happening for awhile.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: How was the creative process working with Blu?
Jack: It was so simple and organic. It was just as simple as us having something we want to hear him on and calling each other up. It wasn’t much more complicated than that, thank God. [laughs]
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: You guys are free agents, but what did you learn most going through and coming out of that Warner Bros. deal?
Brook: We took the chance to see if it could work on that level. The biggest lesson was understanding what we want and defining that a lot more. I find most of the people who get lost in the shuffle don’t have a clear vision of what they want. You got a lot of opinions and hands in the pot. You can forget the reason you got signed is because they’re attracted to what you having going in the first place. They don’t put any money into grooming and developing an artist. They want something that’s already happening. They’re going to throw a lot of ideas at you that really don’t benefit your music but the business of selling your music.
We had a clear vision of what we wanted to do and got to work with a lot of great people. Being in that mix helped us develop our writing and production skills along with valuable experience working with people who sell millions of records.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Would it be right or wrong to assume Evil Christian Cop is indicative of what the new album will sound like?
Jack: It’ll have elements but we never release the same of anything. We always take it to the next level with each release we put out. This one will be one step further. That’s our goal; keep progressing with our sound and development.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Are there going to be any special guests on the new album?
Brook: There’s actually no big features.
Jack: Nope, no special collaborations.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: With social networking you get immediate feedback on anything you drop. What’s the line you draw between accepting valid criticism and not letting it have a say in your creative direction?
Jack: I don’t know how you can critique anyone’s art because it’s an extension of that person. How do you critique that? It really bothers me. Either you like it or you don’t and that’s as far as you can go. If you don’t like it we can deal with that. We don’t make our music for other people. We have no choice but to make it. It makes us. We don’t trip off that stuff. We read it [and] it goes in and right out.
Brook: Only thing I think that’s great is there’s a conversation about it. One person says I love J*Davey and one person says I hate that. We’ve already done our job. That means we’re invoking some sort of emotion and opinion in people. That’s all we ever want to do, to be potent enough where when you see or hear us, there’s no way to act like you didn’t and you feel a certain way about it. [laughs]
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Does J*Davey make better music sober or high?
Jack: Well life is an “unsober” experience. I would say we’re always under the influence of something.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What’s the biggest argument J*Davey’s had as a group and how long did it take to resolve?
Jack: I don’t think we’ve ever had a big blowup we couldn’t resolve. We don’t agree on everything, but we’re two different people and know that. We meet in the middle as much as possible.
Brook: The agreement is if we disagree it doesn’t happen. In order for us to pursue this as a duo there can’t be anything we’re divided on. So internally if we feel different, we’ll put it on the backburner until we both feel the same way about it. We’re trying to make this an easy breezy experience. There’s no way I’m going to be in a band with somebody who creates drama and we have to argue and fight about it. We’re pretty calm and understand this isn’t about us and what me or she wants.
Jack: We always keep the bigger picture in mind.
Brook: As much as this is creative, it’s still a business. That element comes in when understanding the big picture.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Jack, is it true you’re afraid of matches?
Jack: [uneasily] Yeah.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Being that you always have creative tracks, have you ever thought about making that phobia into a song theme?
Jack: I haven’t, probably because it freaks me out so much I don’t want to think about them. [laughs] And I know if I did someone will come up with a video idea where I’m immersed in matches and I’m just dreading that whole idea.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: “Raincheck” is a great song and one of my favorites off the EP. How difficult is it to balance love with the careers you have?
Brook: Not too much. I think love is what motivates us to do what we do.
Jack: Definitely. Love should never be a struggle. And if it is it’s not your career.
Brook: And if it is a struggle, I don’t know if that’s really love. I don’t look at it that way [laughs].
Jack: I would say that love and sex are our two biggest inspirations [laughs].
Keep up to date with J*DaVeY as a group and individuals with their following Twitter pages.
Brook D’Leau: @BrookDLeau
Jack Davey: @jckdvy