Saturday, July 2, 2022

DJ Interviews: Jumbotown Band

 Here's my interview with the band Jumbo town

How'd you get started in music?
Jumbotown, the acoustic singer-songwriter duo of Mike Davies and Paul Ivor Jones, has been a 40 year journey. In 1982 a group of friends were on a train heading from the Welsh village of Pengam to the nation's capital Cardiff. The topic of Mike's acoustic guitar playing came up and Paul remarked that he wrote poetry and lyrics and maybe they should get together sometime. Mike gave Paul a cassette of two original acoustic songs; Paul provided a few poems and lyrics and a cassette with melodies. Mike was struck by Paul's skill in producing lyrics along with an accompanying melody, without being able to play any musical instrument. Paul rang Mike to say that he really liked the style of the two songs and was excited about what they could do together. So it began. 

Who are your inspirations or influences?
Inspiration and influences can come from anywhere and everywhere. We are both quite eclectic in what we listen to, what we read and what we write about and Paul in particular, as the primary lyric writer, is always 'eyes open, ears open'. That said, we are both heavily influenced by the heart-on-the-sleeve solo singer-songwriter and, with the acoustic guitar being our musical vehicle of choice, especially the singer-songwriter guitarist. The contemporary 'folk' music of the 60s and 70s in general was undoubtedly a big influence on us but it is artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young that showed and hence inspired us to write and to write with quality.  

What advice would you offer aspiring performers?
In all aspects it is important to immerse oneself deeply in a broad range of music and material from whatever genres interest you. Learn how to play the musical pieces and songs of others, and let the techniques and approaches seep into you. Ask yourself and develop an understanding of why such pieces and songs work for you, be it lyrically, musically, emotionally. Whether you're a musician or a songwriter, what you ingest will be re-expressed in some form through your own creations and performances and so the more diverse, rich and comprehensive the input the better. For songwriters, keep writing, writing, writing, accepting that all your creations have a role even if merely stepping stones to others. 

How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
Ultimately listeners will decide what might differentiate us from others. However what is important to us as Jumbotown is quality songwriting delivered through the clarity of the acoustic guitar and the unembellished voice. We know that this emphasis is not 'mainstream' but it is a form that has served us well and hopefully a form through which we can influence and inspire others. 

Any new gigs or albums in the future?
We are bringing more live performance work to our YouTube presence but gigging as a duo is a challenge when we live on opposite sides of the globe! We are currently working on our next and 8th album which will have more of a studio feel to it without losing that acoustic 'unplugged' emphasis which is important to us. We continue to share all our most recent compositions as demos on the BandLab platform and through our website - life is too short for just formal releases! 

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