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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bay Area Beatsmith Jel Opens For Tricky Tonight, Defends Name From Interlopers

Posted By on Tue, Dec 21, 2010 at 2:20 PM


We haven't heard enough from Jel, born Jeffrey Logan, of late. An early mainstay of Oakland's Anticon collective, he released an excellent solo record, Soft Money, in 2006, then returned to the shadows -- or so it seemed. Upon closer inspection, he's been plenty active in projects like Themselves (a duo with cLOUDDEAD co-founder Doseone), which has in turn been active in projects like 13 & God (with members of the Notwist) and Subtle (with a veritable Anticon clusterjam). But tonight he's teaming up with another what?-hop luminary, Odd Nosdam, to warm up the crowd for Tricky's show at the Independent. We caught up with Jel and rapped (so to speak) about what's been goin' on.

What have you been up to lately?
I've been working on a lot since the last Themselves tour early this year. The new 13 & God album got finished this October in Munich; that should be out first quarter 2011. Nosdam and I have been working on a co-produced LP with Serengeti from Chicago. We're all psyched on the music we started in April for that -- Geti has about two and a half albums ready to release on Anticon now. Right now I'm finishing my new LP -- with help from Mr. Nosdam again, of course. I'm excited about rehashing music I've been sitting with for about three years now, plus I've been doing more singing and rapping, and it actually sounds good to me. I think my new LP will be 50/50 songs with vocals and instrumentals with cuts. Hopefully that will be ready to go this coming fall. We have a packed year for album releases at Anticon in 2011.

How have your recent shows been?

They've been great. The Mister Heavenly show at Du Nord was out of the blue and very fun... it was set up by Themselves' booking agent, who also books Mr. Heavenly. I didn't know of the band before I was asked, so I did some online research and found out that it was Nick from Islands, whom I've met multiple times and who's tourmates with Yoni from Why?, and I was all in. Then I saw that members of Modest Mouse/Black Heart Procession/Man Man etc. were involved, and I was like, "this is going to be a very interesting show." Then I find out that Mike Cera is playing bass -- I did think it was a joke at first, but it was confirmed by my man Shaun from Anticon. I realy enjoyed the show. Everyone including the famed actor was/is an exceptional musician, and it seemed like they were just having fun with the idea of this new project on stage... it translated.

I opened for Tricky in New York a couple of weeks ago. It was good to play in front of a sold out crowd where maybe one or two people knew who I was -- I love the challenge. And I got to enter the backstage for a good 15 minutes. That was amazing ... one day I'll be able to have my own green room. Can't wait. 

The day after that I played at Mighty in SF, at a benefit show for a new friend named Lola, who was in a coma after a car accident and needed help with bills. That was amazing because it was an entire family affair; that night most of the people in the crowd were fans, so it was a great appreciative homecoming.

What's in store for the show tonight?

Tonight I'm doing a collaborative set with Nosdam. We haven't played together in a few months, but he just got back from touring in Europe with Saroos so he's good and warmed up. I'm usually always ready to play a show -- I really like leaving half the night up to improv, whether it's one chunk of the night or spread throughout. So Odd will do some of his songs and I'll accompany, and vice versa, with a good amount of improvisational beatings and bassings.

Am I right in assuming this other Jel has nothing to do with you?
Yeah, I've been aware of that band for a couple years now... I'm not threatened in any way -- I've been putting music out as Jel or DJ Jel since 97-98. I think they released their first album in the early 2000's. No disrespect, but I think I only listened to like 20 seconds of it on MySpace, cracked a little smile, and forgot about it. I do wish them Too-Much-Success in the future... they should just change their name. I often think about how corny it is to call myself Jel... ya know?

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Daniel Levin Becker


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