Jus Now’s music is a fusion of traditional Trinidadian Soca rhythms with the sub heavy sound of the Bristol Underground. The band is made up of LAZAbeam (Keshav Singh), 30, a percussionist and producer from Trinidad and Sam Interface (Sam Chadburn), 29, a producer and DJ from Bristol, UK. The duo, who describe themselves as “two riddim obsessives… separated by 4,500 miles and brought together by a shared love of bass, rum and parties” have played what is their first concert ever at an Indian music festival at Jodhpur Riff last night. The performance was interrupted by the police on a complaint about the music being too loud from residents who live near the Mehrangarh Fort (in and around where the festival is held). So Jus Now continued the performance— without speakers.
What did you think of the acts that you saw at Jodhpur Riff this year? Was there anything that you found particularly interesting?
Sam Interface: I found a lot of them intriguing. Although, a lot of them, I didn’t really know their names…
LAZAbeam: To hear the different types of world music that the festival has brought here in this setting is pretty cool. There was a Scottish group that was doing that Celtic vibe (a Scottish folk ensemble— featuring Kaela Rowan, Ewan Macpherson, Patsy Reid and James Mackintosh with Rajasthani folk musicians). Also, I guess Rizwan (of the Qawwali group Rizwan-Muazzam) representing the Fateh Ali Khan family— that was really cool for me. But we also liked the folk stuff…
Sam Interface: The folk stuff that was kind of just dotted around the fort— that intrigued me the most (live folk performances that occur throughout the day, during the festival at Mehrangarh Fort— called the ‘fort festivities’). The kind of small groups of people from different… are they all Rajasthani?
LAZAbeam: Yeah, they’re all Rajasthani like the Langa and Manganiyar. I got to jam with some of them too, which was very cool.
How did that happen?
LAZAbeam: That was just an organic musician thing. As musicians that’s what we do…
Sam Interface: We saw the drummers (the Dhol Thali Nritya drummers) as we were walking past and decided to try it out.
Will you be using any of that in your work?
LAZAbeam: Well, probably not this trip. This trip was basically for us to come and get a vibe of the thing, to kind of immerse ourselves in the Jodhpuri traditional vibes, the (Jodhpur) Riff culture, and see what will happen.
Sam Interface: Hopefully in the future that will be the long-term plan and the reason why we came here. I’m very much interested in Rajasthani music. Keshav (LAZAbeam) has roots here.
LAZAbeam: A little bit of Rajasthani blood (his father traces his ancestry to Rajasthan).
Sam Interface: And it’s the beginnings from where a lot of music comes from. It’s something we’re very interested in doing and exploring more of in the future.
About your performance here, were there any challenges?
LAZAbeam: It was interesting. You know any setting would have been a challenge in a place as grand as this. And there was a little problem with the PA system. The PA system had to be shut down, because apparently the public that is right outside the fort called the police. I think it was very loud and certain neighbours… you know, sometimes you get that, they didn’t want it to go on too late. So we basically played the gig through a monitor behind us and we just drummed our hearts out. And even the festival director Divya (Bhatia), came and drummed with us. It was kind of more like a jam but people wanted to enjoy themselves, they wanted to dance and rave out, and we brought the vibes to them. Until we could have brought them no more…
I remember seeing a couple of Rajasthani artists at Club Mehran before your rehearsal. What was happening there?
LAZAbeam: Maga Bo. He did a really cool performance with some Langa and Manganiyar. And he did his own set afterwards and there was a kind of jam with them. And we got one of the khartal players from among them to come and jam with us too. And that was really cool because incidentally… well we were kind of just walking past him and saw him playing. And I recognized his face from when I came here as a child, staying at Umaid Bhawan and coming for Holi celebrations. And we kind of instantly hit it off and I remembered certain things. And we wanted to jam. So we asked Divya and he came and jammed with us, which was really cool. Even though there was no sound system, we still had plenty vibes.
Where do you see your music going from this point, with regard to collaborations?
LAZAbeam: We don’t know yet. It’s not a boxed-in kind of thing. We’re not going to limit our options now.
Sam Interface: We’re in Rajasthan today and there’s a lot of things that inspire us here. He’s (LAZAbeam) going back to Trinidad in a couple of weeks. And Trinidad is a massive source of inspiration for us as well. So… we’ve got a lot of projects going on there. Working with interesting, talented people in interesting locations, enjoying and exploring new cultures…
Where do you see Jodhpur Riff with regard to other festivals that you’ve played at? How’s it different?
Sam Interface: Well location— first and foremost. I’ve played in some pretty incredible settings but to be set up in a courtyard in an ancient fort with such history… it was a beautiful thing. I just had to stop and take it in. Even though there were a few technical glitches. I think in another location I would have come out of it being quite annoyed but because it was such a beautiful setting and the people were… the energy was so amazing. I still came out smiling.
(Image: Jus Now performs at Jodhpur Riff. Shantenu Tilwankar for Oijo/Jodhpur Riff)