Sounds From The Other City

April 14, 2017

Interview: Jupiter-C

They’ve described their own sound as ‘ruptured melodies // dissonant noise’, but there’s much more to Jupiter-C than those four words give away. One of most hotly tipped under-the-radar bands of the last few years, the band first played SFTOC back in 2015 – in the time since then, they’ve built out their sound, travelled the world, and put out their debut release: EP 001 on Invada Records. Our reporter Elli Brazzill spoke to Jupiter-C ahead of their return to Sounds from the Other City.

Hello! How are you? Up to anything cool at the moment?

Hiya Elli, we’re very well thanks. We’re juggling various projects at the moment, keeping busy, distracting ourselves from the total mess that is the world in 2017…

You met at a party years ago, how’s your relationship and lives changed since then?

Ha! Yes, that party. Wild times. We were both living in Manchester at the time. I (Ashiya) was doing an art foundation, David was working a 9-5. I felt the need to escape the city I grew up in, so moved to London to study art and somehow never left. David felt the need to escape full stop and quit his 9-5 life and went to the other side of the world. He eventually returned to (thank goodness), we got back in touch, he ended up moving down to London, to study, and the rest is, as they say, history.  

You’re studying at Goldsmiths, what are you doing and how’s it going?

Ashiya: I’m studying for an MA in contemporary art theory in the Visual Cultures department at Goldsmiths. I’m not writing about contemporary art though. So far I’ve written on agency of the artificial voice in AI, the narratives surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly, and I’m about to start my dissertation on nuclear threat… It’s all fun and games in our house. David recently started a PhD researching representations of the Apocalypse in Narrative and Visual Cultures. He said he just didn’t bank on there being an actual fucking apocalypse before its done. Well, maybe he did. It feels a bit hyperstitious, all this existential dread.

Describe Jupiter-C in just a few words…

As people: cynical fucks with good intentions; miserable with the threat of sunshine.

Music: dark, filmic, layered, sex apocalyptic

You’ve described yourselves in the past as “retrofuturists”, what does that mean for you?

I’m not sure if we ourselves have ever been retrofuturists in the stylistic sense, but there’s definitely a fascination with technology and science fiction which seeps into all of our ideas. Take William Gibson’s cyberspace predictions, and JG Ballard’s countless cultural prophecies. There’s also a link with Mark Fisher’s concept of hauntology (taking from Derrida), which we’re both really interested in, whereby we’re haunted by absences in what we conceive to be reality. It’s the haunting aspect which interests us: if you look back on, say, Philip K Dick, some elements are accurate, yet there’s so much missing. There’s a fascination with this and how previous visions of the future are entering our present timeline, recently was the inception date of Leon Kowalski. We’re try to find that space, the absence, the between and then inhabit it.

What aspects of the world influence your music the most?

I think, to be honest, everything just feels hopelessly shit in the world at the moment, and we try to put that across in our music. It’s complete existential despair in musical form. For us, it’s a cathartic process, just putting this stuff out there. I see it as a form of documentation. There’s something political about it because we’re constantly sold these meta-narratives and it’s important to interrupt that somehow and collectively harness any glimpses of the Otherness generated in these dark times and then invert it.

What musical acts influence your music the most?

We came together over a mutual love of Philip Glass, John Carpenter, New Order, Sonic Youth, etc. Those influences continue to run through our veins, but at this moment in time we’re finding ourselves listening to loads of Chris & Cosey, Tropic of Cancer, Ab-Soul and Danny Brown. We’re keep playing Lyonnais’ two records loads as well.

Your EP 001 has recently come out on Invada Records, we love it. How’s the reception to it been?

Thanks! It’s been a bit surreal, as the project was such a long time in the making (for us, at least) that it feels odd that it’s finally out there. Nevertheless the reception has been great, especially at the launch shows in Manchester and London. It’s difficult to really gauge the mood via an web page or magazine article, so seeing people’s reactions in person was brilliant – the atmosphere at both nights was buzzing.

It features remixes from East India Youth and Clint Mansell, how did that come about?

Clint Mansell was put onto our music via an old Quietus article a few years ago, which completely blew our minds at the time as his soundtrack work is up there with the best – we’d only recently rewatched Darren Aronofsky’s Pi and had been talking about how brilliant the score was. So we ended up in Twitter dialogue, then we went to see him live in London a couple of times, and he came to see us at Apiary Studios. We formed a friendship, then he offered to remix a track, which we obviously said yes to. And William Doyle (East India Youth) is a good mate of ours. We toured the UK together in 2014 in support of his first record, Total Strife Forever, which was so much fun. Then we went into the 4AD studios in Wandsworth for a few days to mess around with some recordings together. Those recordings never saw the light of day, but Will ended up playing with the stems of Another Place and came up with his completely bonkers remix as a result. Redg Weeks from Invada described it as sounding like the music for a Turkish lorry company, which we’re not entirely sure we understand, but we’re into it as a concept.

Looking forward to Sounds From The Other City? When were you last in Salford?

Yeah, absolutely. We’ve spent a fair bit of time there of late, considering we live in London. We did our EP launch show at the White Hotel at the beginning of March, which was a great night, and we also saw Raime and Sam Kidel there about a month earlier. I reckon it might be our favourite music venue in the UK. We keep telling all our mates in London about how much better everything is in Salford, although I don’t think they believe us..

The video for ‘Locust’ from the EP is really cool, is that what we can expect to see for your live set?

Thanks, it was made by our friend Edward Green and was shot entirely on Super 8 and VHS. It’s mad how accurately he managed to capture what we wanted from the look. That use of old technology is key to us: we’re not particularly interested in that nostalgia culture, which seems to be everywhere. Instead, it’s more that we’re keen to explore these juxtapositions – old vs new, harsh vs clean, abrasiveness vs softness – and I think (hope) that comes across in our sound too.

Who else on the line-up would you recommend?

We’re curious about OTOMO X: the amalgamation of Fay Milton’s drums and Ayse Hassan’s bass is the highlight of Savages’ live show, so it’ll be brilliant to see what this is all about. It’ll be great to see TVAM again. And Blood Sport, who impressed us hugely when they supported Algiers in London a while back. We are very big Monk fans, so we’ll be down the front for them. And we’d like to see Sex Swing, who we’ve managed to miss out on seeing so far but have always heard good things about. Plus O>L>A, as our friends at Ramber Records put some of their stuff out on cassette a while back. But really, the Kings Arms is where it’s going to be at so we’ll almost definitely be spending most of the day there.

What’s coming up in the rest of your 2017?

We’re already looking ahead in terms of the band. Now that the EP is out we’re both itching to get writing and recording asap, so the idea is to get something else down asap. We’ve got loads of ideas, so we need an outlet. We’ll be playing live a lot more, and we’re also recording the soundtrack to an indie video game, which should be a lot of fun. Oh, and I have to finish my MA, and David will be continuing work on his PhD. It’s all a balancing act, but a necessary one all the same.

Jupiter-C play Sounds from the Other City for The White Hotel at The Kings Arms. You can get one of the final festival tickets here: 

Elli Brazzill is a journalist based in Manchester editing the new music section for Too Many Blogs, finishing off a degree in Music Business and is part of the SFTOC marketing team. In the weeks leading up to the festival, Elli will be introducing some of acts from the Sounds bill.