Not only will 2018 be my 30th year atop this, as Tears for Fears put it, "very, very mad world," it's poised to me my most successful and plentiful year yet, both personally and professionally: it will be my lovely fiance, Caroline and I's first full year in our new home and we're planning our wedding for this upcoming Fall. This year, I'm planning to re-launch The Witzard with my own site at TheWitzard.com with an original logo designed by graphic artist John Wong. I'm also, planning to launch a number of recurring columns and initiatives here, in addition to 3 Feet High & Rising, Beat-maker Bedrock, Run It Back, Wax Watchers, and The Witzard's Top 5. One of which including a tentatively-titled track-by-track breakdown column, wherein I plan to have a select group of artists literally, breakdown their latest of upcoming releases; this including, but not limited to, UK emcee Charles Edison, DJ Chong Wizard, Reggae revivalists Super Hi-Fi, and for this inaugural edition, one-man band, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and Canadian emcee Jack Moves. Jack graciously submitted a comprehensive track-by-track breakdown of his latest EP, "Work to Rule," which is currently, available stream on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify, and like-minded digital retailers.
"Jack Moves got his start in late 2014. A member of Toronto Metal groups Godstopper and Ayahuasca and a former member of Hardcore act Column of Heaven, he had grown tired of working within the limits of heavy music and so, decided to strike out on his own. Inspired by live looping performances of Reggie Watts, Jack started busking at the corner of Queen and Spadina in downtown Toronto. As a one-man band with a captivating and crowd-pleasing live show, he quickly started playing a wide variety of venues, from clubs to parties to tattoo shops to Portuguese restaurants; sharing the stage with Hip-Hop artists, Electronic producers—he is the host and DJ for the monthly concert series, Frequencies—Metal and Post-Hardcore bands, and many others. He also, ran a weekly-updated YouTube channel from 2015-2017," Jack Moves' on-site BIO reads. Without further ado, please enjoy The Witzard's first track-by-track breakdown penned by live loop artist Jack Moves.
1. "Moment of Your Time"
"In November 2016, I got some friends of mine together and got them to jam on some very basic ideas I had and another friend of mine, Taylor Barrow (a very talented producer himself) recorded the whole thing. I then, chopped up the session into 100 or so samples, some of which are present on every song on this EP, except "Emilia." Since I come from playing instruments, initially, I felt unsure about totally giving myself over to software-writing and production. I felt the live "real" aspect of the sessions and resulting samples might have an inspiring affect on me, which it did. This song showcases those samples, more overtly than any other track, with the original Sly & The Family Stone-type groove preserved. The lyrics were inspired by The Legend of Barney Thomson, which I had just recently seen and the vocals were inspired, in part, by Peter Gabriel, although, no one ever guesses that and I wish they would!"
"Source material, again, came from the aforementioned sessions' samples; specifically, the Nord [Keyboards] synth "melody" line toward the beginning and in my friend Josh Park's fabulous drum breaks—I hope, one day, people talk about "Josh breaks," like they talk about "Clyde breaks." Cryptic lyrics, loosely based on Stranger Things, which I was watching, at the time, mixed with the usual Hip-Hop bravado, if you can manage to make out what I'm saying. I'm really intrigued by Grime and take influence from the small number of emcees I know, relative to the huge pool of talent that's out there. A friend told me that Novelist, in particular, was into pushing up those tempos from 140 BPM up to 150 and beyond, so for this track, I wanted to try to get up in that range; I like fast raps. That's one thing current me and 16-year-old Busta Rhymes-loving me have in common."
"One of my first software-produced tracks. I probably wrote the initial groove for this about a year and a half ago. I even did a couple tutorial vids on how I made it. I had John Carpenter in mind here. At this time, I was contemplating changing my sound in earnest away from what it had previously been (ie: vocal-based Hip-Hop loops) and thought, maybe, I could use the dark, synth-heavy music of Mr. Carpenter as a jumping-off point. However, I should note that I make a point to not listen to influences' material to any great extent, once I have started making a song; I don't wanna copycat anything unintentionally.
I think proper, justifiable and indeed, desirable use of influences include such scenarios as Prince, after hearing Bruce Springsteen, resolving to make a "Rock album"... and coming out with Purple Rain. Influences are necessary, but will be bent to fit your mold. So, I guess, the key words going into this tune were "John Carpenter" and "80's"—sort of a foregone conclusion, given the synth sounds I was working with. Add some clean New Wave-type vocals and cool harmonies, PLUS a Rap verse... and lyrics about a bored drum student I once had. The song is my exhortation to the youth to not become privileged humdrum automatons with no real passion for anything."
4. "Demon Eyes"
"One of my favourite tracks, still. I was thinking Corey Hart for the melody, without actually listening to Corey Hart—I hope it doesn't sound too much like Corey Hart. Wrote the instrumental in a Starbucks. I love that you can do that with this kind of music. Back at my rehearsal space, I teased out the melody over a couple hours, which then, quickly and organically, turned into a 6-7-part harmony. Raps inspired by Grime, rhythmically. In terms of subject matter, more Pop-type fare.
I'm still working on feeling totally confident inserting a Rap guy into a synthy Electro-Pop song and not having it sound like, say, Linkin Park. I love emceeing and even as I develop this new sound, I want it to be incorporated; I think it adds a modern aspect. That's important to me because I never want to have my music be called a "throwback" ("DON'T CALL IT A THROWBACK!! I been here for years!") But anyways... I dig this track. When I play it live, I re-create the chorus with my loop pedal, minus a couple layers."
- Jack Moves