The Courts: Jam City

"Genre is completely meaningless..."
JAM CITY 2012 PRESS PIC.jpg
Night Slugs – despite their devout eclecticism – have a certain style, a certain approach.

The label’s day-glo sound contains a near radioactive Fluorescence, an energy which seems to burn through every release. Jam City is no exception, and indeed Jack Latham has almost become a burning example of the label’s ferocious, insatiable commitment to genre-smashing, party-crashing Futurism.

Recent cuts have been pushing this agenda further and further. Jam City mixes run the gamut from 80s synthetic art-pop (step forward Art Of Noise) to Grime, classic techno, bubbling G-Funk and beyond. Drawing from a wide palette, the producer is able to inject an enormous array of colour into his sound. “It’s been my mission statement for a while to prove once and for all that genre is completely meaningless and a poisonous, destructive idea” he argues.

“For a couple of years now I (along with the rest of Night Slugs) have been trying to prove that House is Grime, Grime is Techno, Techno is Synth-Pop, Synth-Pop is Hip-Hop etc etc etc and will keep on doing that until people get it. Seriously though, anything sexual, industrial, tense, romantic, B.A.D, frenzied, alien, sad, ecstatic is muzik that I get down with and should be treated on an equal plane. If anything, surely it’s all pop music right?”

Jam City productions always seem to have an element of fantasy, of the fantastic lurking within them yet each song - ‘In The Park’ or ‘The Courts’ for example – appears to be rooted in the physical. “It’s all visual, it’s all shapes, spaces and places…Although the park and basketball court…and anywhere else I reference, they are real places that I have had some sort of experience in or something has happened there, you have to work out what it is from the trax, it’s in there! I just wouldn’t want to represent those places and experiences in a way that is too tangible - there is already too much of that forced down our throats” he explains. “I mean I’d respond positively to other people making music that fought not to live a confined existence in the dull, drab world of ‘UK Bass Music’ but apart from my friends, no one really is. I don’t want That Particular Reality to have anything to do with my music.”

Jam City - The Courts



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Constructing his own reality, there’s an element of Psych-Geography – of places filtering into ideals – flooding through Jam City’s music. Latest cut ‘The Courts’ has a veneer of glamour, which seems to fleck away to reveal something decadent, corrupt. “I’d like to use that language of ‘High Society, Glamour, High Romance’ for my own uses because I, along with most of us, are outsiders from it, even though the aesthetic is attractive” he says. “One of the strangest club experiences I had was playing in this beautiful mansion on the outskirts Paris. It was a strange night, playing Kevin Saunderson tracks to a group of oil barons or something. I’ve since learnt that this can be a very alienating experience. But I still believe in DJing in mansions, if you see what I’m saying?”

The connection between real experience and imagination is a dichotomy which runs through everything Jam City puts his name to. Focussing on an album – the format is still extremely important to him – the music fuses memory and possibility into one cohesive concept. “Well it’s kind of based on a true story” he reveals. “A while ago I was contracted to work for a fashion house who I can’t really name cos we’re not on good terms any more. They had a studio outpost on the West Coast. I’d been developing solid chrome, wearable “body extensions”, like the one I’m wearing in my photo, and trying to get people to buy them, they’d seen my work and they liked what they saw and offered me a position developing a larger project, that we weren’t really told much about. I was kind of bemused but went along with it and flew out there”.

“The atmosphere in the studio was tense and there was a general air of paranoia about the place and no one spoke to each other. I learnt halfway through working there that the whole thing was being bankrolled by a well known aero-space company, God knows why. I used to drive around the city at dusk listening to my favourite music and feel edgy, like someone was watching me. One day I arrived at the offices and everything was gone, cleared out, so a couple of days later I had no choice but to fly back home. So to some degree the album was written about those experiences”.

Jam City’s debut album ‘Classical Curves’ will be released through Night Slugs on May 28th.

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