Jamaica is a duo from Paris that make proper American rock and or roll. And one time I, Asian Dan, had the pleasure of playing bass and touring with Jamaica around North America in 2010 in support of their debut album No Problem produced by Xavier De Rosnay of Justice & Peter Franco . You may wonder how such a clash of geography and people occurred and the answer is quite simple - The Internet.
In 2012 I was fortunate enough to spend a week with Jamaica as they began the recording process of their follow up album in a house they rented in the canyon in LA. I caught up with the guys to ask them about their experiences writing and recording their sunny sophomore album, Ventura.
Check out the Q&A with Antoine and Florent of Jamaica as well as an exclusive listen of a tropical techno remix of their single "Two on Two" by Myd of Bromance Records.
This is Jamaica's sophomore album, what did you guys want to say with this album that you did not say on the first album "No Problem"?Songwriting wise, we intended not to give ourselves any boundaries musically, like the "no synths" rule we had on the first album. Also, "No Problem" was more about tension, sonically and lyrically, and this time we wanted "Ventura" to be more varied, quiet vs. loud, home studio vs. big studio, more extreme.
Why did Jamaica decide to take in some California sunshine and start the recording process in a house in LA?We wanted to work with Peter Franco again. His production on "No Problem" and his friendship were essential in this decision. Peter got together a nice home studio in a rental house, which proved to be cheaper than renting a studio in Paris anyway! Knowing that we would start the record in LA triggered a lot of ideas and fantasies and, even though we only spent a month there, the time there really shaped what "Ventura" became. We were lucky to be surrounded by friends during in LA and even though we were really serious about the work we had to make, we had many moments eating burritos, drinking Margaritas that are infused in record.
What are some of your favorite sophomore albums of all time?"Nevermind" by Nirvana, "White Light, White Heat" by The Velvet Underground, "Paul's Boutique" by the Beastie Boys, "Discovery" by Daft Punk "Discovery" and "Return to Cookie Mountain" by TV On The Radio. There are so many.
The French have an amazing ability of absorbing and reflecting all the best pieces of American Culture back at the world, what were the pieces of American Pop Culture you were drawing from?We think that being foreign allows us to drag and drop whatever we think could be interesting for Jamaica, because we don't have the exact same filters as Americans would have. Antoine is a huge fan of the NBA and he was into indie rock growing up. Flo was into Pantera and the Beastie Boys growing up, and is still a huge Fleetwood Mac fan. Pop culture is so global and we all experience more or less the same artifacts. What can be interesting is what you make of it, how it fuels your work, whether it's taking it all or on the contrary, react negatively to it.
When you're born and raised in Paris, you don't pay attention to the beauty of the city anymore, you take it for granted and we don't explore it. We do the same with American pop culture: we are so impressed by it that we tend to know the monuments, the hidden cafés, the best clothes shops. But it's always been an habit of our little group of friends: we try to find beauty in sometimes the most despicable artifacts of global pop culture, because the outsiders always have something interesting to say.