Sunday, 31 January 2016

Q & A: Mississippi Jones

In what will hopefully be a continuing series, I talked with another of the more recent blog pals I've made; Mississippi Jones. They caught my eye a while back by both tickling my elctroclash/electropop ears, having a scheduled series of releases throughout the year and just generally being nice folk. I think I've written enough about the duo of J@$ and Mississippi herself over the past year or so, so let's get stuck in.

Claude Van Foxbat: First things first is what we ask everybody who we Q'n A, what have you got in rotation right now?
Mississippi Jones: We're listening to Hannbal Burees apple juice standup. Comedy is always background noise for our project time. Also Amy Winehouse was on earlier cause we are cover her song Addicted for a show we're playing tonight 'The Bong Show'. It's in an art house and centers around weed- a very popular topic here in Seattle. :)

CVF: Do you have any reflections on your process from start to finish?
MJ: It's definitely getting more refined, we are understanding more what kind of a sound we want and how to create that. Our process is to release every 14 weeks with new material and we just wrapped up our final piece last week for this series. With the fourth release, we now have our second full fledged album. It is definitely a process we are going to stick with, getting heard as an indie band means having music out on a regular basis, and interacting in the local scene. It's much easier to do that when you have new content.

CVF: Is there any other media (Movies, Games etc.) which have made an impact on your work?
MJ: Tarantino is one of my favorite directors, he has definitely influenced at least one song "Mr. White". Maybe I'll write a song about feet next. Banksy is also another big influence, one of the songs off the most recent EP is titled after his last big NY art project "Better Out Than In". Street art has always been fascinating for us, we post about it on Instagram daily. The concept that some art could be illegal or less valuable simply because it is outside is very culturally relevant to today. We play in galleries and have a lot of artists friends so visual art and conceptualizing emotions play out in our music as we try to grab emotions and leave them on a track.

CVF: Something else I always like to ask is what was your introduction to electronic music?
M: I grew up going to raves when they were out in the woods and everyone used them to sell and move drugs. It's about the same now lol. The genre has definitely grown in depth, and it is so varied I wonder if wer're headed to a place where it will take over music entirely. The term EDM can cover everything from dubstep to happy hardcore to ambient psytrance. There is really something for everyone and communities around it are still growing.

J: I was introduced to electronic music through Donna Summer "I Feel Love". Which is widely recognized as the first breakout electronic dance music song ever. It was pioneering in the way it adopted that kind of instrumentation and composition. There were politics of disco and the racist, sexist, homophobic nature of that disco movement. When Donna Summer came on the scene it was empowering for women, it opened up for gay people and people of color to be accepted and celebrated and creative. We still see these issues today in a lot of electronic music, both the hetero normative bias, misogyny and general bigotry but also other people trying hard to open it up again for others.

CVF: Slightly related, how did you get involved with your current scene?
MJ: Going out and meeting people, asking around and playing show with other musicians. Getting out of the house and off the internet, and also making connections through social media that have been very beneficial. It's not all or nothing, you can't just play out and you can't just be on the internet. You have to work the gray areas in between to make it happen. The music scene is Seattle is big and everyone is a musician, everyone is creative and it is exciting to be in a city where creativity and art play such a major role in so many lives.

CVF: Do you remember what your first ever produced track was?
M: I wrote a bunch of songs some music for friends and family one year and a friend recorded it for me. I gave it out for xmas, that was a lifetime ago. I've recorded off and on with different groups and solo since then.

J: I've been recording stuff since I was a kid. Using cassette decks back and forth, to analog 8 tracks, to using digital now. I've done a lot of projects. I used to work with rock bands mostly, mostly. A few rappers and instrumentationalists as well. There was a performance art collective and we recorded and toured extensively and even headlined Burning Man back in the day.

CVF: You've got 4 words to sum up your sound, go!
MJ: Electronic heart analog soul.

CVF: What's your equipment setup look like?
MJ: It's a messssssss. The studio desk is a labor of love that gets used often and looks like a snake pit of cables and wires. Instruments are piled around the studio space we use, and get pulled out as we need them for various songs. Live we have a very simple set up intentionally. We can literally play anywhere and sound like a full band which is amazing and unique, and not something that could've happened even 10 years ago. Soft synths and samplers are at the heart of it.

CVF: And finally, what's in store for the future of Mississippi Jones?
MJ: More shows more music, more art more origami. Stay tuned for releases, and follow us on instagram, talk to us on facebook we are very friendly and are always open to connections from around the world or around the corner. I spend a lot of time on twitter too, talking with musicians, writers, and artists and posting collage like pictures of galaxies and street art. If you need any Canadian graffiti, my account is a good place to find it. We can see into the future, but if we told you we would have to kill you. Let's just say it's gonna be real good.

CVF: Alright that about wraps it up, thank you! thanks! It's been real interesting to see all the different replies to the questions, been along time since we've done a duo too so that's been pretty interesting too!
MJ:Thanks as always for your thoughtful discourse on our music. We really appreciate the article and can't wait to read it!

And there we have it, another Q&A successfully in the bag. Now I just need to find some more people to email/tweet these out to, to keep the Q&A ball rolling. Alternativley if you're reading this and would like to answer the Q's anyway, feel free to drop me a line at the usual places!

Find more Mississippi Jones at:
Official Site

- Claude Van Foxbat