Interview: Jess & Crabbe

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As we noted in a recent post, we are big fans of Jess & Crabbe. After a series of 12’s in the late 90’s as a duo they went their separate ways to pursue various solo projects. We are excited to announce that the hiatus is over! They are back in the lab working on new material and doing select DJ dates. The boys were kind enough to chat with us about the past, present, and future of Jess & Crabbe….

We have to admit, it was a bit of a heart breaker when the Jess&Crabbe records stopped hitting the shops and you guys went your separate ways. Can you comment on the reason for the time apart?

J&C:We had been living in the same flat and sharing almost everything for quite a while. We came to the point where we both felt that we had to experience different stuff. Inspiration is something you have to feed with personal exploration, so that’s what we did.

Some recent DJ dates and the Demolition Tape 5 mark a comeback of sorts for the Jess&Crabbe project. What inspired the reunion?

J&C:We never fell out each other. We have been stockpiling lots of records in different styles of music for the past few years but we didnt really look for any promoter to support us. The Fluokids encouraged us to reunite and participate in the Club scene again. They contacted us around this time last year to ask if we were up for spinning again at their 3rd birthday gig. That was something we both enjoyed doing and indeed we felt like maybe we still had something to contribute that scene.

The series of Jess&Crabbe 12”s released on Fiat Lux continue to be championed by loyal fans and many of the new French producers who are in the spotlight today. Do you feel your sound may have been ahead of its time?

J&C:It definitely didn’t have the today’s sound. So hard to tell if anyone’s really been influenced by what we did until 2004. We notice that some of the electro-house scene today mixes rave, rock, hip hop, hardcore, jungle, clash reggae, disco, funk, punk… elements. That’s what we tried to do maybe a little earlier than most but this was on the way anyways…

Hip-hop, reggae, Chicago house, punk, rock….all influences that you can feel in your productions, remixes, and DJ sets. Tell us a little about the bands and producers that inspired Jess&Crabbe before you started producing electronic music.

J&C:As we don’t like to eat the same dishes every meal, we like to listen to a wide range of different styles, periods, scenes… Many styles of music have been influential to us, we both had different backgrounds and it might have been one of the catalyzer for our partnership

C:If I have to pick a main reason that ignited my burning passion to produce music, I’ll have to go back to that 1st De La Soul LP Prince Paul produced, which still is one of my very favs, or Todd Terry 87-89 circa.

J:I had been into punk hardcore and reggae before I experienced rave parties in 1992 and I realised that i had to join the movement. I think that Dead Kennedys and Lee Scratch Perry really wrecked the head of my parents when I was a kid…

Design has always played a role in the Jess&Crabbe branding (logos, records cover artwork). Are you still doing design work?

C:I do draw for interior architects, I did logos or websites for money since then but never advertised myself as a proper graphic designer. So I don’t get a lot of requests. I keep on drawing and designing stuff on my own when I got an idea or a picture in mind, but I’m not very productive.

America recently embraced French electro and house music in a big way. The buzz alone from Daft Punk’s live show in 2006 at Coachella inspired a world tour. Justice sold out Madison Square Garden in New York City. Have you been to the States? Any plans to come here in the future?

J&C:We’ve been in Miami WMC together a few times, more as tourists than dj’s actually lol. But we’ve never been requested by any US promoter, that’s the main reason why we did not come over a lot.

Who are some of the producers/DJs that excite you past and present?

J: Robert Armani, DJ Funk, Dj Deeon’s records are still on my playlist and I think that world music is going to take a more important place in dance / club music here. I like many Kuduro sounds from Angola and other african-influenced new styles. I have to mention DJ Nilcaps, Costuleta, Diplo, DJ Slugo, DJ MPC, Sandrinho, Radioclit, Bab Lee, Esau Mwamwaya…

C: My 2 all-times favourite djs are Harvey and Dave Clarke. In terms of production I expect big things coming this year from Sebastian, Proxy, Justice, Switch, CÈcile, Bloody Beetroots, Oizo, Petits Pilous, S.P.A., Huoratron, Pocket Checkers, Musique Large, Busy P, Qoso, RawMan, Ali Renault ,Discodeine…etc etc

What some records that never leave your box?

C: There are none particular that can fit any situation in my perspective.
J: Paris Mitchell Project: “Ghetto Shout Out” never left my box before I started spinning CD’s

Current top 5 records?

Mr Oizo – Lamb’s Anger
Prince Zimboo – Say Heh
Bloody Beetroots – Warp EP
MC Maiquinho – Prende Na Rave
Pocket Checkers – My Sharona

Finally, whats next for Jess&Crabbe? More DJ dates? New productions?

J&C:Many of the youngsters don’t know us. So we feel like starting all over again, slowly. We planned to produce together again so we’re gathering some equipments for now and have a few dj sets scheduled in France this year. J&C season 2 is just about to start…

Upcoming DJ Dates:

April, 18 2009 11:00 PM – Jess & Crabbe @ Astrolabe (+ Fulgeance + Rekick) Orléans (France)

April, 30 2009 11:00 PM – Jess & Crabbe @ Ambassade Lyon (France)

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