Jamz Supernova is a South East London DJ who splits her time between championing pforward-thinking R&B, hip-hop and bass music over the BBC Radio 1Xtra airwaves and on dance floors with her ‘Future Bounce’ parties.
TĀLĀ is a South West London musician, who’s childhood soundtrack of Timbaland, Prince, UK Garage - plus a sprinkling of cheesy pop and Iranian music from her parents - formed the basis for the melting pot sound she’s created a producer and vocalist.
Ahead of Jamz’ next ‘Future Bounce’ party at Peckham Rye - where TĀLĀ plays alongside Addison Groove, KXNGS, Martha and Jyoty - the pair caught up for a chat that covers everything from Internet trolls and fashion, to computer games and the positive change they’d like to inspire within the music industry.
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Jamz: Do you feel like a producer or do you feel like a artist?
TĀLĀ: I'm definitely an artist but I would say production is a major part of what I do. It's probably the bones of what I do. It builds everything around what I do so my sound comes from that but I'm essentially an artist.
Jamz: I always find people that oh do you prefer radio or do you prefer DJ but to me they're synonymous.
TĀLĀ: Do you get that?
Jamz: Yeah a lot. Which ones do you prefer? How is it different to be on the radio or being in the clubs? It's very different but it doesn't ever feel like ... There's not one over the other.
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When I was seven I started playing the piano and that was my first introduction to music.
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TĀLĀ: You can't pick one or the other.
Jamz: How did you actually start out? I don't know this!
TĀLĀ: When I was seven I started playing the piano and that was my first introduction to music. Then it was from that I think a friend of mine gave me a copy of chant music software programme Reason. I was 13 and I was like 'Oh my god this is sick!' I knew everything on it. That's when I started messing with the whole production. I had so many music ideas basically in my head that I wanted to put down. That was an easy way for me to basically be able to do it.
Jamz: It's quite an early age to start producing as a hobby.
TĀLĀ: I guess for me I never really thought of it like that. It was kind of weird. I didn't really have many friends that were doing that or anything. I was like a pastime for me. I never really thought of it as a anything fascinating. I just did it. It was natural.
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Jamz: It was like when people go home and play on their PlayStation, you go home and get on to Reason?
TĀLĀ: I love gaming too.
Jamz: Okay, that makes sense now.
TĀLĀ: I feel like the two things actually correlate really well. Especially fun programmes like Reason, Fruity - they're very much like playing a game. I think for me, that's what that was. It's like playing the game. Did you used to play games when you were younger?
Jamz: I had a PlayStation. My dad played games a lot, on a Saturday afternoon on the PlayStation or whatever. I had a PlayStation 2 that I saved up with my own money.
TĀLĀ: Oh wow.
Jamz: Yeah, Crash Bandicoot. What else did I used to play? There was a car one called ‘Drift’ something like that. It was a car game and you had to get to all the different levels but then my older brother would always take it though. ‘Grand Theft Auto’, I played a lot of ‘GTA’.
TĀLĀ: Oh my god GTA! It's the best game ever though, isn't it?
Jamz: Good soundtrack.
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For me, if I play a game that switches me off. It's really weird. It's therapeutic.
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TĀLĀ: I just love all the little things. You can change the radio station. You can pick up a prostitute. Sort of stuff you would never do in real life.
Jamz: Do you find time to play games now?
TĀLĀ: Recently I got a VR basically and I haven't been playing a lot of the games. I got ‘Resident Evil’ for VR. The Sony VR headset for PlayStation it's amazing literally life changing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone even if you're not a proper gamer. It’s nice to have it because it's fun and shows you where movies and games are gonna go. It's amazing just to have technology move that far.
Jamz: Yeah, I bet. I could just imagine you sort of being there and hours could pass.
TĀLĀ: Oh yeah. It’s quite intense so you do need to take breaks. It's easy to play it for too long and then be like 'Whoa I feel a bit weird'. Do not smoke too much weed and use that thing…
Jamz: Yeah you're trippin' out. Start climbing up the walls. Wow that's like a whole new world for me. When I go home that's what I need to be invested in. VR and ‘Resident Evil’.
TĀLĀ: I'll always find time for a new game. For me, it's a way to turn off my brain so if I've been in the studio all day and you know when your brain's just active. You go home and you just can't sleep because it's on. Your brain's turned on. For me, if I play a game that switches me off. It's really weird. It's therapeutic.
Jamz: Mine's Netflix. Anything you can name, I've seen it. I'm probably watching it or I've lined up about to watch it. I'll come home at night at 2:00 AM and then I go off to bed to 4:00 or 5:00 because I've been watching and winding down.
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Jamz: Have you always been fashion focused? I like clothes but I don't know nothing about fashion in that way.
TĀLĀ: You've got great style.
Jamz: Yeah, but Topshop’s different to style and having couture!
TĀLĀ: You do have great style but I think I just love fashion because I see it as a way of expressing yourself. Like an artistic form, I feel like it's so nice that it makes you feel good but also as an artistic expression. I think it's really a great thing.
I've always been into that from when I was younger because I'd always see my mum. She'd always have on that crazy outfits that she'd like. She had an amazing collection of clothes. I used to see her getting ready and dressing up in her clothes. That kind of thing when you were little and I loved it. I thought it was so nice how she would put things together these interesting pieces and it's a great way to express yourself definitely.
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I've always been into that from when I was younger because I'd always see my mum...
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Jamz: I like the way you marry art and music. I think even the editorial pieces that you do. I always think 'Yes!' People might see it and then not think “producer-artist”. It looks amazing but when they find out you're a producer-artist as well, there's an extra layer of that badassness. Do you find it weird how on Instagram, you could put a post up about a new release or your EP and you might get x amount of likes, but you put a picture of your face or a selfie and the likes go through the roof? Is that weird?
TĀLĀ: Yeah it's weird but I feel like it's a thing. I particularly think women get it a lot. It's quite a common thing. I've heard people say mean things like ‘Oh she's put a photo up of herself just to get more likes’ And it's really unfair, but I know what you mean because it is true. As soon as when it's a photo of yourself or a photo of your face or you looking good or whatever that might just get the likes in and not your actual art piece or whatever, right? I feel like girls get that a lot actually, and I think girls get criticised quite a lot for that.
Jamz: Do you think it's open for you to be making hard sort of trap beats and then wet rockin' Versace do you think people can see the difference? Because for me I think it's just what we do.
TĀLĀ: I think it is what we do. I think it goes hand in hand. I feel like you can look at so many amazing artist that mix the two things. Look at A$AP Rocky. He's so fashion isn't he? He's so fashion forward. Kanye as well.
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I feel like we as women we get criticised sometimes for those things.
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Jamz: I've never thought of it like that. We've never been like 'God Kanye just put a picture of himself up again!’
TĀLĀ: I feel like we as women we get criticised sometimes for those things. Sadly, I think it does happen. I don't know what it is but it does happen. I've heard people say stuff like that and it's sad.
Jamz: I'm gonna take it there like being female in music. It's like one of those things that you don't want to ask it but then we should speak about it.
TĀLĀ: We should speak about it and it's not a negative thing. I think it's a positive thing to talk about these things because we want to celebrate a positive change with things. It's a different kind of energy isn't there with that stuff...
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Jamz: I don't think I ever really thought about myself as being a female? If that makes sense. In that sense of being a DJ or being on radio or going to play in the clubs. In my head I feel like we’ve progressed because I know so many other female DJs and female producers. But then I wonder if, even though we've progressed, I go on comment sections and I'm like ‘Whoa!’
TĀLĀ: Yeah, isn't it crazy? It's so weird how you surmise everything's just taking 10 leaps forward and there will be a huge step backwards with something really small. You'll be like I just can't get my head round that, or maybe it's the comments or being over critical of something or stereotyping that kind of stuff. I've experienced that too.
Jamz: How'd you deal with it?
TĀLĀ: The last thing, I kind of had a moment and it was very slight to be honest, I didn't really pay much mind to it. I thought it was more entertaining 'coz when I did that FACT Against the Clock thing listening.
Jamz: That's what I meant.
TĀLĀ: Okay cool. So with that obviously that is an extremely male dominated area viewer. So the viewers are mainly males. The most amount of people that have probably done those Against The Clock videos are male. It's probably a few girls that have got there or a handful if that, and I'm sure in the grand scheme of things it's mainly a male dominated area. So I think you're almost doing something like that - while it shouldn’t be like that - but you're kinda putting yourself as an easy target.
Jamz: Into the den.
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You're not gonna get into argument with a 13-year-old kid in his bedroom...
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TĀLĀ: You are but I didn't really think of it like that. I never would refer to myself as a female producer or a female artist. That's weird I'm just me. So I didn't think of it like that. I went to it blindly like yeah I'm just gonna do it. I was just gonna do what I do. I just remember thinking after, obviously the response was great. I was really quite impressed with the response of it but I couldn't help just in the beginning to read a few comments because it's what we all do. You're just curious. I was like you know what I'm gonna stop because I never do that stuff, and I thought I'm not gonna get lost into this through trolling. There’s so much weird stuff, I’m like ‘Really?’
Jamz: You almost want to write back but then actually you can't. You're not gonna get into argument with a 13-year-old kid in his bedroom...
TĀLĀ: Internet troll. I can't win basically. I can't win. Basically I'm criticised for being a girl. I'm criticised if I do something too well then it looks like I basically cheated and practised the night before. If I mess up a little bit on the bass line or whatever they said, then that's like 'Oh, I'm just shit.' But maybe that shows I was actually doing it for real. I was trying to work it out.
You can't win. By that time it's really perfect it would have been like 'Nah, it's too good. She practised it.’ By the end of it I can't read this stuff because I'll never win. I can't win and the fact is unfortunately being a female, being a girl, being a woman. That is the target. That's why you're getting that.
Jamz: You got to take it on the chin a little bit, at this time.
TĀLĀ: Yeah but at the same time I think it's really good to do things like that. I feel like why should there be this stereotype of? The only person that would a FACT Against Clock is it's gonna be a geeky producer guy in the studio or it's gonna be some tomboy girl. Why can't it just be any other girl? Why is that such a big deal? It shouldn't be a big deal. Why can't we all just do it?
Jamz: I think that's where the change has got to be.
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Jamz Supernova presents Future Bounce: Jamz teams up with Peckham Rye festival to host the next Future Bounce party with Addison Groove, Jamz Supernova, TĀLĀ, KXNGS, Martha and Jyoty on May 19th. Early bird £10 tix > bit.ly/2m3k182
Photo credit: She* http://iamsherelle.tumblr.com/