Monday, February 12, 2018

The Du-Rites, Side B: Previously Unreleased 2017 Greasy Listening-centric Q&A with Jay "J-Zone" Mumford & Pablo Martin (The Witzard Interview)

First and foremost, I have to readily admit, what you see below is a previously unpublished 2017 interview with Jay "J-Zone" Mumford & Pablo Martin of The Du-Rites conducted right around the release of their second collaborative album, Greasy Listening, or "2 albums - 1 CD Mo' Funk, Less $$." After conducting the initial emailed interview with both Jay & Pablo, my fiance and I purchased our first home together, the holidays came and went, and amidst constant preparations for our Fall 2018 wedding, I quite simply, and unfortunately, forgot to publish my second comprehensive Q&A with The Du-Rites. It actually, makes complete and total sense, in its own weird way, to publish this interview now, as Greasy Listening and almost all the separate projects from J-Zone & Pablo Martin mentioned within—aside from The Du-Rites' full "The Odyssey" (The Fizzy Wo-Magnificent Remix)—have been effectively released to the masses: THE ZONE IDENTITY's "Funk-I-Tus" 7-inch, MANZEL with J-Zone's "High & Tight" 7-inch, LULU LEWIS' self-titled EP and "One Note Rock and Roll" featuring both Pablo Martin & J-Zone, The Du-Rites' remix of Wax Tailor & Ghostface Killah's "Worldwide," and and The Du-Rites' first original theme song for Vivica Fox's 2017 film, Fat Camp.

Honestly, now seems like as good a time as ever to finally publish The Witzard's second interview with J-Zone & Pablo Martin of The Du-Rites,as they're currently preparing a slew of releases for 2018, including, but not limited to: J-Zone's Gorilla Breaks (break beat record,) The Du-Rites' "Gamma Ray Funk" B/W "Fish Sammich" 7-inch, THE ZONE IDENTITY's "Melting Pot" B/W "Soul Food" 7-inch, and The Du-Rites-composed score/theme for Bobbito Garcia's upcoming Rock Rubber 45's documentary, as well as purported releases from Benjamin & The Dreamdancers, LULU LEWIS, and PABLO. The Du-Rites' comprehensive 2 albums 1 CD Mo' Funk, Less $$ combo pack is currently available to stream or download on Bandcamp, along with the the aforementioned 2017-18 J-Zone & Pablo Martin releases.


Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz

I. How has your combined sound as The Du-Rites, recording processes, musical approach, etc. noticeably changed and evolved since 2016's J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites?

Jay "J-Zone" Mumford: I think the songs are beginning to write themselves. The first time around, I personally, would try to aim for something I'd heard before or something I had in my head and I'd dictate the direction to Pablo. He would end up just doing his own thing, anyway and it was almost always for the better. So, this time around we just did what came naturally, rather than trying to micro-manage. I think we also have more of a focus on good song-writing and composition, as opposed to jams and vamps.

Pablo Martin: On this album, we got rid of big orchestrations; we went for a smaller ensemble—mostly drums, organ or electric piano, one guitar track,and one bass track. Very minimal. Songs used very few tracks. It's very gritty. Written very fast; we're basically, relying on dirt.

II. Greasy Listening was cut live in-studio in "The Collard Green Lounge," correct? How does this approach differ from how your first album together, J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites was recorded?

J-Zone: Same process. We just added the faux-live thing to be tongue-in-cheek about our live show limitations as a duo.

Pablo: It's was pretty much, the same [thing as] the first album, in terms of recording.

III. Now, what exactly are you currently willing and able to reveal about your upcoming The Du-Rites remixes for Wax Tailor, Ghostface Killah, Large Professor, and Lil' Fame (of M.O.P. fame)? Were you initially approached by these artists/labels or did you fellas seek them out?

J-Zone: Wax Tailor is a French producer and DJ. He's dope. He had done a song called "Worldwide" with Ghostface and reached out for a remix. The song with Fame, Large Pro, and Timeless Truth is called "The Odyssey." That was done as an EPK [electronic press kit] theme song for a wedding DJ named Choimatic. There were a lot of remixes for that song and ours was one. The instrumental was strong enough to ride on its own, so we added it as a bonus track called "Du-Matic!" * on the CD and digital versions of the album.

Pablo: Except for the Lil' Fame [remix], they are all already done; in fact, the bonus digital and CD-only track from Greasy [Listening], "Du-Matic!" * is the playback for the Large Professor track. We were approached by the producers, that's how we got into [these] remixes.

IV. How did you get involved with Vivica Fox's [2017] film, Fat Camp? Your Reks-featuring "Fat Camp Theme" is showcased within the movie's trailer. What was it like working with an outer-Du-Rites emcee, let alone an award-winning actress and major film studio?

J-Zone: That was through Brian Hamilton over at Beats & Rhymes, who does our sync stuff. We never had any interaction with Vivica or Rex (the emcee,) but the song came out dope and we're happy to be in a film!

Pablo: That was through the people who license our music, they got us the gig. Again, Jay got it first, I think. He got the vocal track and some music that the production didn't like, so we removed it and Jay did the drums and sent it to me because the producers liked the guitar sound of "Git'n Off;" so, I made a riff and the bass line. It was pretty much, like the remixes—just one more track, in this case, vocals. I did not see Fat Camp yet. It's on Amazon for $5.99 rental feels like a deductible of my fee.

V. What can you fellas tell me about the making-of The Du-Rites' first proper music video, "Du The Twitch" directed by Pablo's wife and LULU LEWIS bandmate, Dylan Hundley? Who thought up the various concepts and scenarios employed throughout? It's a very fun-loving, amusing video!

J-Zone: That was all Dylan and Pablo. I got a migraine that day. The heat, dealing with shooting a video, and being around a lot of people and having to entertain was too much for me. I had some of my friends show up, but my involvement in video stuff is almost zero. I do more of the boring data, merchandise, and shipping stuff. Pablo usually handles visuals and locations and Dylan is great at that stuff. I totally hate doing videos and anything related to promotion, to be honest, but it came out spectacular.

Pablo: The Du-Rites are not very trendy, when it comes to real estate. Jay is from Jamaica, Queens and I'm in [Washington] Heights, New York. We're neighborhood guys. For a while, I wanted to catch the essence of an uptown block party, so we talked with Kyle Scott, who's a good friend of Dylan. He runs a public garden on the corner of 142nd and Amsterdam Ave. and he BBQ's for the 'hood every Saturday weather allows; anyone can go there and have an amazing meal, while you get to meet a really incredible group of characters. We shot on Dylan's phone, the same way we do with LULU LEWIS. We just let her direct and do her thing. We just invited our friends and the people there to create their own step, "The Twitch" and we went from there. It was hilarious and great fun. Overwhelmed by the social environment, Jay got a migraine...

VI. What's the current status of upcoming releases from your various outer-Du-Rites bands: Tom Tom Club, PABLO, THE ZONE IDENTITY, SUPER-BLACK with Prince Paul & Sacha Jenkins, LULU LEWIS, MANZEL, Benjamin & The Dreamdancers, etc? Any tentative "release dates" to "announce?"

J-Zone: THE ZONE IDENTITY is working on a follow-up 7-inch. That MANZEL 7-inch is about to drop this Fall. I'm the drummer for both LULU LEWIS and Benjamin & The Dreamdancers. SUPER-BLACK, I'm not sure.

EDITOR'S NOTE: J-Zone's listed "SUPER-BLACK LP (with Prince Paul and Sacha Jenkins) – Fall 2017/TBA" within their A Generic Update (Because when you're silent on social media people think you died) as recently as May 18, 2017.

Pablo: LULU LEWIS is growing and playing regularly in NY, posting video frequently, and getting ready for the full-length. LULU is complex to mix—takes time and when I'm by myself, I have a tendency to procrastinate. PABLO is on stand-by, but I'm gonna post the single with two songs pretty soon. Tom Tom, I go when they call, but at this moment, Chris & Tina are enjoying life and who can blame them?

VII. How were you able yo fully write, record, produce, mix, master, etc. and ultimately, release Greasy Listening so soon after J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites? It's been a little less than a year!

J-Zone: Funkin' is a daily routine. We're always making music.

Pablo: These are the times we live right now: release or get lost in the pile. We were pumped by the success of the first album and we wanted to keep going, while we were still "hot." I guess, the first album took years in-the-making, since we started 'til we decided we were a project and we put it out. By writing the second album so quick, we're just catching up with the average time to do things.

VIII. Your recent album press release states that "Greasy Listening is a "live" concert staged at a fictions hole-in-the-wall chitlin' circuit venue, fittingly dubbed: "The Collard Green Lounge."' How was your recording set-up arranged differently this go-'round than last time?

J-Zone: Recording set-up was pretty much the same. Just swapped out a few keyboards, on my end.

Pablo: All I can say is: how many bands [do] you know that never played a live show that already have a "live" album?

IX. What was your inspiration behind Greasy Listening's 1960-70's-reminiscent front and reverse vinyl LP covers? Now, was the front cover image taken in a diner or something, fellas?

J-Zone: Since it was a faux-"live" album, I thought it'd be cool to channel those early 70's live album covers, where they had a photo collage. I always used to trip out off those covers, as a kid looking at old records.

Pablo: Jay came up with the concept, which is definitely a literal interpretation of the title of the album. We even bought the chef jackets and we made sure to take good care of them, so we could return them right after. Shot was taken by my friend, Juan Mirko, at a Dominican joint in Harlem called El Nuevo Amanecer. They have been feeding me consistently in nine years or so I've been living here. The ladies who run the place are sweethearts. They let us do it at the bar; we wanted to be beside the counter, but we would have to wear hats, due to sanitation codes and that would have messed up we the look... The back cover was also Jay's concept and it's the register of a "show" at The Collard Green Lounge.

X. How did you guys decide to issue J-Zone & Pablo Martin Are The Du-Rites/Greasy Listening together on one CD for your "2002 Ford Focus-driving contingent?" This is the first time J-Zone & Pablo Martin...'s being released on CD, correct?

J-Zone: Yes, both albums were short enough to fit on one CD. CD's are a risk these days, unless you have a core following that buys them or you tour often. We didn't know what type of response the first album would get and we weren't touring, so we never did CD's. We figured with two albums-worth of material at a decent price and a limited pressing, we could satisfy any demand there was for CD's and have it make sense.

Pablo: People kept asking about CD's,so we gave it a shot. It's technically, a Greasy Listening CD version, but since all our [complete] discography is there, I'd like to call it "Mo' Funk, Less $$."

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