An interview with LUV*JAM

For a man obsessed with measurements, dates and decimal points, Luv*Jam, aka Andrew Cole, is a pretty unquantifiable man himself.

Talk to him and you quickly get a sense of his interests that run alongside and intersect with his music. One of these is his love of dark British paganism during the early medieval period, the only reason we know this is because a lot of his music specifically references it, and by a lot, we mean a lot. In fact his Blind Jack’s Journey label is kind of homage to this, based up in deepest darkest Yorkshire, Knaresborough to be precise, the name references one John Metcalf a blind engineer himself. Blind Jack’s also acts as a father label to the limited release imprint Crow Castle Cuts, the alliterative name painting a pretty vivid image.

Blind Jack’s acts as a platform for this kind of eery deep house, that culminated in their first batch of releases named Dream House Volumes; 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4, the obsession with decimal points definitely comes through on this one.

As for Luv*Jam himself, a lot of his music follows this path of dark shamanic sounds, but plethoras out into some lighter ambient stuff as well. He’s had releases on Lobster Theremin, Tsuba, and We Play House Recordings.

Ahead of his upcoming gig with Rye Wax on the 27th we had a word:

You seem to have multiple projects each one focusing on different genres and topics. How does LUV*JAM fit into this, and what’s the angle?

The genres are kind of similar really and all flow from one to another, the topics are my interests and we’re trying to add a bit more historic and artistic depth to a project. The main goal really is to be slightly unusual and not too normal, as that would be a pointless scenario for me really.

Looking through your mixes, and many of your tracks, there seems to be a crossover of ambient, trance and acid. What kind of vibe do you aim to set when putting these genres together for a party?

I tend to go across about 30 years of musical styles really and try to gel them together, but mixing beats is sometimes unimportant to me, to fade in 2 completely different styles of music at the right moment is fine. I’ve got to a stage with mixing where I could beat match 12 hours of house music, no problems, but sometimes it just feels ok to mix in a weird sound effect and then drop in an italo disco tune or an old trance track and change the direction a little.

You’re a hard man to research it must be said, there’s very little about you online, albeit the other Andrew Cole who seems to be a rock musician. How important is anonymity to you personally?

The musical styles we are involved in are quite subliminal anyway, and that’s how I also like to be. But it’s not difficult in this day and age to find out things about artists right? It’s usually out there on soundcloud, facebook, discogs etc, if folk want to know, they will find out for sure! The main ethic is focusing on those who do like it, they will surely discover it…

Do you think that artists’ identities should be completely removed from their work, or do you think in some cases their identity can be a big part of that work?

Both are interesting options. Sometimes it’s good to promote an artist, a name but for my labels in particular it’s about the release as a journey. However for one of my luv*jam artist releases perhaps it makes more sense for the label to push the artist name. It depends on the project completely.

Your location on Soundcloud states you’re from a place called Onkfordshire, can you describe this place and what exactly goes on there?

It’s all about the Onk and Onkfordshire is the place!

Scour the Internet and it seems you have a deep interest in pagan British mythology, then scour LUV*JAM’s music and, to me, there seems an ethereal undercurrent of dark mystery not dissimilar to the kind of folklore you cite. Is this a fair comparison?

Yes, I guess so, I’m simply trying to add that little mystery to the projects. Let people dig in and see what’s there. Most people will never heard of Llangollen’s Crow Castle or Knaresborough’s Blind Jack or a dog called Gelert, but now they may know a little bit. I’m trying to weave in a bit more depth, similar to what I mentioned in Q1.

How important is it to have a pre-planned concept, like say, pagan mythology, when composing a piece of dance music?

It isn’t really, bottom line is we’re trying to create music will enjoy the substance to and the concept is added fun and adds that mystery. It’s also down to the individual person to choose what they do too, for some it may be as simple calling the releases 01, 02, 03 but for some of my projects

I wanted to spell out the poignant dates of historic landmarks ie crow castle

CCC0749 – the first possible occupancy of the castle

CCC1073 – the first ‘known’ definite occupancy of the castle

CCC1277 – the year the castle was captured by The Earl Of Lincoln

CCC1402 – the year Owain Glyndwr unsuccessfully attempted to recapture it

By doing something like this, we’re just adding a reason to follow the series. It then becomes a more collectable journey of music with story to tell!

Now that we’re transitioning between 2016 and 2017, what can we expect from you in the coming year?

More fun on the Blind Jacks label with not just Dream House records but Dream House Tropicana – Trop4 and Trop5 will be next up. The Legend of Gelert will continue to descend through the 3000ft mountains of Wales, with 3000.6 and 3000.7 on the horizon. Luv*Jam will play a few gigs here and there and another tour to the US and Canada is also on the list.

Luv*Jam is playing Downstairs at the Bussey Building on the 27th of January, get tickets here.