by Couch Sessions
J*Davey have been bringing the worldtheir delicious brand of electro-punk-soul-funk for years. Their live shows drip with sex and sweat, and this time, they’re turning the heat up by performing with Zoe Kravitz’s super-hot band, Elevator Fight this Monday at The Black Cat in Washington DC after rocking Brookyn’s Southpaw last week. I had a chance to chat it up with Brook D’Leau and Miss Jack Davey about their new tour and album, the business of “the business,” and how a “certain black actor” inspired the name of their latest EP.
So you guys have a new EP out called Evil Christian Cop. It’s such a weird combination of words, very pointed and very loaded. What made you guys name your EP that?
Miss Jack Davey: Well, Evil Christian Cop is an inside joke that Brook and I have about a certain black actor…
Brook D’Leau: Clarence Williams III.
MJD: Yeah, we were just talking about him one day about his choice of roles and how he always plays something evil or…
BD’L: I thought of Deep Cover. Did you ever see Deep Cover with Laurence Fishburne? It was so weird how dark and strange he was, and then in the middle of interrogating Laurence Fishburne he’s like, “Do you believe in God?” (laughs) Just very strange.
MJD: Then in Purple Rain, he’s like the evil dad, and he’s just like, “You a goddamn sinner!”
BD’L: In Tales from the Hood…
Both: …he’s the devil…
MJD: We’re just like, he’s always just evil. It was just an inside joke that we just kinda kept around and it started to become a theme in our business and dealing with our label and the whole idea of people thinking they have the right to police one’s art, and it just fit in to what we were dealing with at the time, just one of those circular things.
BD’L: If you ever hear someone saying something that sounds really strange and it sounds like they’re trying to swindle you, then I always say you sound like a cop. Like, if you don’t like the way it sounds, it’s like “that sounds funny man. You talk like a cop man!”
I’ma give him the side eye, then I’ll just be thinking…you’re an evil Christian cop.
You guys did a cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” What inspired you guys to cover that particular song?
MJD: That song, I think, is pretty much the song of our generation, a very important song of our generation. We were keeping a list of songs we wanted to cover, and that one just made the most sense. We wanted to take a song with so much power and aggression and put our spin on it and give it a sexy, down-tempo kinda vibe, but it’s still rather angst-y and it still embodies the same spirit, just in a different way. It showcases Kurt’s lyrics, you know? I think a lot of people know the original song but they don’t really know what he’s saying. You know the melody, but you might not know the words per sé.
You definitely kept the intensity intact. I appreciate your version, it’s very different from any other version I’ve ever heard. It’s pretty cool actually.
MJD: Thank you.
You’re welcome. So this EP, is it a taste of what the new full length album is gonna sound like?
BD’L: I mean, the EPs that we’ve dropped, that’s pretty much been their role…bridges between Beauty in Distortion and Land of the Lost, our first official release in L.A., and then New Designer Drug. So yeah, it’s a bit of a taste of what New Designer Drug will sound like. But, you know, it’s also kinda one complete thought at the same time. Whenever we’re doing EPs, they just kinda come out as these 5 songs. They have a theme and there’s a start, there’s a middle, and there’s an ending. So, as much as it is somewhat a taste of what New Designer Drug is, it’s not exactly that, but it definitely bridges, you know…
MJD: I think you can expect a true J*Davey progression. I mean, we’ve learned a lot in this process and we’re really showcasing our broad talent as far as progressive production goes and the songwriting. We really were able to put a lot into this record.
In metaphorical terms, how would you describe the sound of New Designer Drug?
MJD: Each song is like a different altered state of mind. It’s like each song is its own character in this grand scheme of transcendence.
BD’L: I don’t really think it’s something that’s so far left. I feel like it’s a real achievement for us because we were able to merge our “left” sensibilities with our pop sensibilities as well, while still being in these different altered states of mind.
This album is gonna be your major label debut, is that correct?
BD’L: No, we’re actually not with Warner Brothers anymore.
Oh wow! Okay. Who are you guys with?
BD’L: We are with ourselves (laughs), but we’re actually looking at exactly how we’re gonna distribute it right now. The plans are being worked out as we speak.
Well you know what? Congratulations, because…FUCK the evil Christian cops!
BD’L: Right. Thank you.
How did you guys decide to bring Elevator Fight on your tour?
Brook D’Leau: I think it was pretty much that simple. We’re friends with them and…
Miss Jack Davey: We’ve been friends for a while and they just finished a really great record and we just finished a really great record, so it just really made sense, you know? It was just really like us sitting around like “we should do shows together” and then we hit up our booking agent and he made it happen.
It really makes a lot of sense.
BD’L: I mean, it seems like it’s such a good fit, and whenever it’s anything like that, we’re just like let’s make it happen! You know, why not?
Do you think you all will ever collaborate on a record?
UF: Yeah, that’ll be the hotness right there.
Thank you guys for your time. Like I said, I’m really looking forward to the show on Monday.
MJD: Awesome! Thank you guys for all of your support.
BD’L: Yeah, from like, way back.
UF: Well thanks for showing D.C. love. You know we’ve been on you guys since Day 1, so I appreciate the love that y’all show D.C., most definitely.