Jaw Gems, a young collective of exploratory producers from Portland, Maine, have taken the traditional production of beats and transformed it into an enchanting live setting complete with vintage dueling synths, drums and bass. In a world where producers are plentiful and live electronica is flourishing, you may be asking yourself, what makes this tetrad stand so far out from the rest? Since the beginning days in 2009, the group has assimilated a Roland sp404 sampler and a Juno 106 analog synth to fine tune the loop free intrinsic beat of magic that is Jaw Gem’s audible treasure chest. Jaw Gem’s finished product is irresistible instrumental hip hop, funk and soul influenced beats fused with a Radiohead-esque dreamy tempo that has been compared to the likes of legends J Dilla and Thundercat. With support from pioneers in the game such as electronic musician Daedelus, Lettuce and BreakScience drummer, AdamDeitch and TheMotet’sLyleDivinsky, JawGems are surely on the rise to becoming the next big thing in the live beat making scene.
On August 26th, JawGems will release their second album titled HEATWEAVER, via STS9’s1320Records. HEATWEAVER has been said to meld neck-breaking, hip-hop synthesizers and nostalgic atmospheres, while simultaneously touching on elements of psychedelic funk, neo-soul, and punk rock. Be on top of the game and get your FREE DOWNLOAD and sneak peek of HEATWEAVER before its release by filling out your email below. We had the chance to catch up with the innovative group and ask them a few questions.
CYM: Thanks for taking some time to talk to us, guys. Y’all must be full of feels with HEATWEAVER coming out soon and a tour coming up…tell us about the excitement!
Thanks CYM! The feels are pretty immense over here. We’re so hyped for our new sounds to emanate through the ether and finally make their way into people’s ears! And so looking forward to teaming up with some absolutely amazing bands on tour this fall. This record is also our first release on 1320 records, so it feels very special. 1320 is/has been the label for some of our all-time favorites, like STS9, Daedalus, and Prefuse 73. We’re very honored and very excited, to say the least. We also loved making ‘HEATWEAVER,’ and it feels really good to share something that you genuinely enjoyed making. And now that we’ve made a thing, it’s time to make another thing! I’d say that’s the most exciting of all – that we can start putting things together from scratch again for our next project.
CYM: Compared to your first album, Blades Plural, how was the creative process different (or similar) with HEATWEAVER?
For both albums we left society completely, holed up in a house with all of our gear, and ate pizza for a week. My all time favorite metaphor for our creative process comes from our bass player (Alex – imagine four happy kids in a room filled with legos, just making something cool out of whatever they have at their disposal, and not caring at all about whether it’s a castle or a city or a space shuttle, but simply focused on making a thing that we all think looks cool – it might look like something that already exists, it might not, but none of that really matters.) I think this metaphor perfectly describes us.
Blades Plural was more about showing up and making something totally from scratch, while HEATWEAVER drew much more upon music that was already in process. All four of us make beats, so in the making of HEATWEAVER we started off by cherry-picking each other’s favorite beats, honing and refining them from there in our recording process. Our drummer came up with the title ‘HEATWEAVER‘ just thinking about the album from a visual standpoint, and I think it also speaks to how the album brings together our inspiration as individual beatmakers.
CYM: How does it feel receiving so much support from huge names in the game (i.e. Zoidis, Deitch, T3, etc)? Who/what inspires and challenges you all to keep pushing for ‘more’ and creating music?
Umm, we absolutely love that! Honestly, it’s a pretty big shot of dopamine to the brain, but we try our best to use it to inspire us to keep on being our true musical selves. That’s what has brought us to where we are and that’s what we believe will carry us forward. We’re just really grateful for their support and encouragement, because those guys are obviously in a place where they can just keep on being the legends that they are without ever looking back.
As for who/what inspires and challenges us, I’d begin with the bands we’ve been touring with (STS9 and Lettuce) and the music we’ve been listening to in the tour van – Knxledge, Mndsgn, Kendrick Lamar, Black Milk, Shigeto and Swarvy have all been in heavy rotation lately. We are also all deeply inspired by each other, by our music students, and by all of our amazing musician friends in Portland, Maine.
Also, we’re all just really curious about music. It’s just really interesting to us, in the way that you never feel like you’re done. We came across an amazing metaphor last week that really embodies our reasons for continuing to make music every day. It begins with a widely held belief in our culture, which is that when you’re an artist and you make something, that thing you made is your ‘baby.’ Thinking about our work this way encourages us to be protective, defensive, and entirely too concerned with how our work is being received. But get this – what if you approached your creative process with the feeling that YOU are the thing that is being made? And that by creating things, you transform, evolve, and grow? I love this so much, because it takes the emphasis off of what you make, and places it on making things at all. (This idea, by the way, is from Elizabeth Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic,’ which is so thoughtful and so inspiring that it should be required reading for every human being)
CYM: Well, I’ll have to add that to the reading list. Coming from Portland, Maine, I’m sure you all are super fond of the cold, long winters. What other places have you been drawn to since touring?
Haha. I love the idea that everyone in Maine loves the winter here. If you come to Portland in February, you’re likely to meet some of the grouchiest people on planet Earth. But to some extent you are right. The Maine winter definitely holds a special place in all of our hearts. We actually wrote our song “Peace Pipe” [FREE DOWNLOAD INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE] as a refreshing track to bump with the windows down once Spring finally arrived.
We loved kicking off the year in Atlanta opening for STS9. It was so amazing to comfortably walk outside in a t-shirt in January! But we really have our sights set on the West Coast. We’ve never played a single show out west and we want to change that! Definitely be on the lookout for a west coast run from us in late 2016 or early on in 2017.
CYM: The West Coast is definitely something special. I know you all are on the verge of announcing fall tour dates, but we noticed a few dates in September supporting Lettuce. What are y’all most looking forward to coming up that we are allowed to indulge in?
Most of the cats are already out of their respective bags, but we’ve got a pretty weird music video coming out soon that involves old men crutching through the forest and twerking fire goddesses, among other things! Don’t want to give too much away! We’ll also be teaming up with some amazing artists in the next year for various live and recorded projects, too. We can’t name any names right now, but they are all suuuuuuper dope.
CYM: Twerking fire goddesses?! That does sound suuuuper dope! What can fans expect on this tour from Jaw Gems?
Beats! So many beats. We’ll also have physical copies of our new album, and lots of new Jaw Gems merch on hand that, at the moment, you can only find at our shows. We’ll be playing songs from our album, many of which we haven’t yet adapted to a live setting. On top of that, we’ll be utilizing the sp404 (an amazing sampling device that we are all obsessed with) a lot more, too, and bringing some new sounds into our live performance. Maybe some costumes. Maybe some shows where we eat pizza on stage. Maybe some recordings of babies crying in reverse, too.
CYM: Well, sounds like your live shows are the spot to be this Fall! At CYM we are all about composing ourselves through doing what we love and sharing that love and creative flow with those around us. What does Jaw Gems compose themselves of?
I love that question! I’d say that we’re currently composed of pizza, curiosity, and space dust.
CYM: Wow, haven’t heard those answers before–stellar! Thanks for the answers, friends, and we look forward to hearing HEATWEAVER and seeing y’all out on the road. Keep on composin’ yourselves!