This article is part of a weekly feature on SalaciousSound: every Friday we’ll have a new exclusive interview for you with fantastic musicians from around the world.
It’s unusual for an up and coming band to have a pedigree as impressive as that of Los Angeles electro-rock conspirators Jump Jump Dance Dance. But as it stands, the duo of Chris Carter and Simon Lewicki had amassed a wealth of experience – Carter as an in-demand DJ and vocalist who has played alongside such luminaries of the LA scene as DJ AM and Tommie Sunshine, and Simon as the mastermind behind the celebrated club acts Groove Terminator, Tonite Only and Chili Hifly – before uniting to create
Jump Jump Dance Dance.
You guys were both heavily involved in the LA and AU music scenes before coming together – can you tell us a bit about where you were at before you formed Jump Jump Dance Dance?
I was living in Hollywood Dj’ing rock n roll electro nights, playing in bands, and touring a bit as a guitarist and keyboard player.
Well I’m from Australia. I’ve been a DJ there for quite a while, and have been making records for quite a while also, under various names. I started off in hip hop and then made lotsa house and electronica, then electro for the last few years.
I was in a band called West Indian Girl — kind of a pyschadelic west coust electro thingy, and we toured with Pheonix, Fischerspooner, bands like that.
Other things I’ve been involved in: Tonite Only, Groove Terminator (GT), Chili Hifly, Loverush… I think thats the stuff thats most known.
I met Simon in a dirty little electro rock n’ roll club we had going in Hollywood — it was a good time for music back then. Simon and I hung out, he’d pop behind the booth and take my drink tickets, haha. I knew he was a legendary DJ from Oz. He started turning me onto some remixers I didn’t know at the time.
Yes totally – I was goofing off in LA, blagging free drinks when we met 🙂
Simon was doing Tonite Only — we started hanging, I’d do some session work, he’d record a demo for me, etc.
Afterparties turned into recording sessions, that sort of thing — Simon’s place had some good afterparties.
Yeah in fact the first thing we did together was Carter playing guitar on the Tonite Only remix of “Pictures” by Sneaky Sound System.
Haha no way. So that was a ways back then.. like 2006 right?
Haha — that’s right! I remember playing the easiest 4 chords, but somehow you guys were impressed — That may have been the first time we were in the studio together?
I think so..
So when did you guys finally say “ok we’re Jump Jump Dance Dance, and we are going to release tunes together”, and did you have a direction for the project by that point?
Simon looked at me one day and said “you know we have to start a band w this, right?” That was it. We were both listening to the same music, same influnces, both new and old. — I think Simon had a clearer idea of direction when we started.
It was a ways after the Pictures remix before we got “serious”.
Yeah I’d say so — we were both loving that whole new wave of “indie dance”, for want of a better term, as well as all the original stuff like Can.Liquid liquid, The Clash, Gang of Four, and also stuff like Chic and late period Moroder, Talking Heads etc. I was really wanting to do a stripped back vibe than the heavier programmed stuff I’d been doing previously and it so happened that Carter wanted to do something more programmed and sequenced than he’d previously done b4, so we met halfway. Yeah quite a whiles after I think.
Alan Braxe and Fred Falke remixes of DFA 1979 may have cemented our friendship.
Don’t remind me that I’m not going to Coachella 🙁
Carter nailed it with that DFA1979 comment.. god I still love that.. it’s still kinda a signpost for us in many ways.
I may not make it either.
On the topic of heavily programmed tunes, you guys did an interview at Future Music Festival last year where you talked about having to reverse engineer your tunes for your live show – was that a consideration on your upcoming self-titled album?
No we made the album how we wanted to hear it.
Yeah we make the tunes first then figure out how to do it live.
I mean we had some ideas about how to do the live show, but were playing all kinds of instruments on the recordings.
We could have made it easier on ourselves for shure.
Yeah, so what is the workflow like then? Do you guys find yourselves jamming stuff out on your instruments more often, or do you usually start on a DAW? Or something else?
We’ve done tracks just about every way.
Some tracks were ideas, riffs, lyrics, that either Simon or I had. Some we just started jamming in the studio.
Yeah most of the time it starts with a groove/beats or some chords or even just we find a synth patch we are vibing on in Logic. Other times Carter comes in with some chords or a melody idea.
When we do remixes we have more of a set way we do things.
Yes we’ve def settled into a workflow that seems to be working for us now with remixes at the moment.
I wish you had the record, we could tell you which tracks come about how.
But I find that it can be anything cool — a riff, a cool beat, a sound on a synth — that will trigger a song. Sometimes you search for a while and nothing happens, and it can be frustrating, and then boom — you add a delay to that guitar, or put in a different cowbell, and then the song starts writing itself.
A few vocals on the album were almost stream of consciousness — we had a great beat and vibe and just pressed record. And some took lots of revisions too get to a place we were happy
Like on Modern Eyes?
Modern Eyes I remember we had a great verse vibe we liked, then we had to step away and come back to it later. But I remember clearly when we got the chorus, we were like “that’s it.” The whole song made sense then.
Yeah that verse and the main groove sat around for a while b4 we stumbled across the chorus.
Of course most of the time you know exactly what the song is “about” and referencing, but sometimes the parts need to be teased out.
Is 2.0 the lead single off the album? Comes out in March right?
2.0 is the 4th single in Aus.. out early next month. Show Me The Night was out early last year, followed by Modern Eyes in June-July, then City On Fire came out last last year but wasn’t really a proper single (no remixes or video have been issued yet although we have DOPE LA Riots and Majik Johnson remixes coming).
But 2.0 is gonna be the biggy — Album dropping on the back of it.
So you guys have a single that you’re releasing next month called 2.0, and it was co-produced with Laidback Luke right? Did you guys get in the studio together, or collaborate online?
Laidback Luke has done an amazing remix of our track 2.0.
hehe am I wrong? I could swear I read you guys co-produced it.
Its huge — can’t wait till it gets released on the first package!
Yeah I love his take on our song too 🙂
2.0 is our original track — It was mixed by Jack Joseph Puig, who is a legendary mixer.
Big pop acts right?
Everything really but he’s more a ROCK guy.
But I think a collaboration with Laidback Luke is a damn good idea! Let’s get it going.
Jack Joseph has done it all — my fav Black Crowes record Amorica.
Oh shit Klaxons — but it was written and produced by Jump Jump Dance Dance. Jack delivered a kick ass mix.
We should talk about the video we just shot for 2.0 — w our good friends Skinny directors, they just did Pnau as well.
Yes indeed.. also a bunch of great remixes. I’m listening to the Fare Soldi mix as we speak.
The remix package is gonna be great — besides Laidback Luke, we got Jono Fernandez, Redial, Rob Pix, Christian Luke, and Fare Soldi.
You’re gonna love the Fare Soldi 1 — it’s fucking disco.
Yeah you can tell that videos are important to you guys.. do you guys get support from the label to do them, or is it more on you both?
Our label has been great.
We get the label to get the chequebook out on those 😎
Videos ain’t cheap! 🙂
Hell yeah they are.
Yeah I was gonna say, you guys aren’t exactly heavy on the props, but your videographers must be expensive as hell.. those vids are great looking.
hey Thx! Sure the videographers will love to hear that – the first 2 were pretty low budge as far as vids go.
Thanks — we’ve been lucky to work with some great directors and DOP’s. The video for 2.0 I’d say is some other shiz.
We shot in a scrap metal junkyard, all night in freezing weather w massive cranes working around us. Junked airplanes, etc. It was surreal. We’ve been posting some behind the scenes stuff on our twitter and facebook @jumpjumpdance /jumpjumpdancedance
whaddya reckon Carter : 2.0 is “High Concept” ?
More like Get High Concept
Yeah 2.0 has a story and Dina, our super hot sexy dancer turned human turned android.
Ok so on the note of collaborations again.. You guys have a HUGE list of collaborations, remixes for, and remixed bys (MSTRKRFT, PNAU, Grum, Human Life, Datarock, Lifelike, Bit Funk, and Laidback Luke to name just a few); can you tell us a bit about what ingredients make a good collaboration?
We probably fucked up not getting Ke$ha in on a few tracks when she was offering.
Meh.. just auto tune Carter talking.
We could CGI her face on my body — get real creepy.
I think it all comes down to working with songs and people that are simpatico — stuff we like and people we like.
Band note to self — when one of your friends is destined for imminent super – pop stardom: Record a few tracks, just for shits and giggles.
Yep, the trick is remixing stuff that you like.
Yeah she’s a mate and we’re very happy for her success — you should try and dig out the tunes she did with Tom Neville a few years back. They were pretty cool actually – a lot like Luciana actually.
As far as other people’s mixes of us — we hit up people we like, and let em do their thing.
Put in a good word for us w Miami Horror!
Yeah big fans
I am going to be dropping the PNAU track at least 😉
We’ll shoot you the Tim and Jean one we’re finishing up when it’s done.
Tim and Jean eh? Can’t wait..
We didn’t officially release it as a single, but we leaked our song White Picket Fences in Europe and South America. It was in the EA FIFA 11 soccer game, World Cup ’11. People were going nuts for it on Youtube and our FB page, so our label agreed to get it out there
Oz and America gotta wait for the album 🙁
So with the launch of the album in April, are we going to see some touring activity?
We’re DYING to get on the road!
haha — yeah we’re ready to rock — focusing on getting this record out
Looking at some dates in Australia and America around May, but nothing firmed up yet.
Yeah some LA / SD dates early MAY I think right now.
So what sort of balance are you looking to strike between touring and production in 2011? Do you guys produce on the road?
Yeah we worked in Oz a bit when we were over there for Future Music Festival last year.
We can def write songs on the road and actually the last remix – Aston Shuffle was started when I was in OZ and Carter was in LA.
Oh yeah I forgot.
We’re focused on getting this record out now, and touring once its out.
We def keen to get out and do a LOT more touring and then we can fill in the gaps with remixes and DJ mixes / edits etc. Kind of what were doing now really.
Ok so last question: If you could book a North American tour with you guys headlining, what two acts would you get to open? Why?
Whoa put us on the spot 🙂
That’s a long list..
So you guys need a festival then? 😛
I would say 1979 Chic and 1982 The Clash
Can Alan Braxe DJ for us?
Yeah, I mean if we’re allowing time travel for Chic and The Clash, why not right?
But they’d probably wouldn’t open for us. We’d have to work out some sort of co-headlining thing
I’ll take Fred Falke too 😉
Falke had so many jams last year that I loved..
That guy is a machine!
Guys, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me
Cheers to u too, thanks for reaching out