The topic of what constitutes as “real hip hop” has become a hot issue in the media recently, thanks to a certain costume changing rapper. While the debate will surely rage on some aspects of the culture can’t be denied. Sampling has been a cornerstone of hip hop music and culture since its formative days, the art of finding that perfect groove. One DJ keeping the art of crate digging alive and well is Jumps, the mixmaster best known for work as part of the beloved Cat Empire. It’s a busy time as we catch up with Jumps, real name Jamshid Khadiwala, fresh from the release of a his debut project and recent Cat Empire tour of North America.
“It was the last run of shows for our ten year anniversary tour so we really enjoyed playing an old school set list.” Highlighted by memorable stops in New York, Montreal and Quebec City, Jumps now returns home to take up a residency at the funky Loose Goose, starting on Friday June 15. “I will be spinning every Friday at Loose Goose, it’s a great bar with big windows overlooking Flinders Lane,” he says with excitement. “[It’s a] good spot to have a couple and listen to some good music.” While he admits that it’s “been a while” since his last residency, he’s ready to get things jumping, pun intended.
“Looking forward to pulling out some cool wax for this. I’ll be playing all things funky no doubt and may test some Latin stuff out later in the evening.” As if being part of an acclaimed platinum-selling band wasn’t enough Jumps has ventured out with a solo project, dropping the expansive Music Makes the World Go Round earlier this year. “I have always wanted to do a compilation and last year the opportunity came to me,” he says of his recent venture. “The main goal of the album was to present a classic range of funky world music to the masses.” Taking in a range of exotic flavours and styles from across decades and countries, the compilation gave Jumps a chance to dive into his record collection. Always on the hunt he’s picked up records across the world in places like France, Cuba, Singapore, Thailand and Germany. It sounds like a kid in a candy store except for the chore of having to narrow down the best cuts and obtain permission.
“The toughest call at the start is choosing the tracks you want. Then, the process of clearing the tracks with the record labels starts to dictate what the tracklist starts to look like. Once you have a good selection cleared by the labels you choose the ones that go well together.” Keeping things international yet local, Jumps says that his favourite selection from the album is Mr Clean by Melbourne-based band the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra. The challenge with a compilation, as he discovered, is balancing between the urge to choose more obscure tracks while including more recognisable tunes. “I really wanted to push for the less heard tracks so I made a pretty big list of about 50 tracks. Then I went through them and picked out the ones that worked together and sounded good as a whole.” Spreading the goodness of quality tunes has become a life’s work for Jumps, who started collecting in his teens. “I’ve been buying records for about 16 years now, luckily I have a room dedicated to my records and turntables, so most of my stuff fits in there and the rest is at my parents place.” Every DJ has a certain record they keep near and dear to their heart for this Melbourne native it’s an innovative yet obscure release from almost five decades ago. “One of the most interesting records I have is a field recording of different communities on the Ivory Coast in 1965. It has one song which features a group of young girls making drum patterns with their mouths, beatboxing.” For many listeners and performers one of hip hop’s true gifts to music is its ability to expose lesser known artists and recordings through sampling.
“Hip hop is filled with elements from all music styles of the past so this opened up my ears at an early age. Later I started to get more into funk records and then I started looking more closely at African and Latin music after joining the band in 2001. I guess in the end I just look for what I consider to be good music no matter what genre it is.” Jumps first got his taste for DJing at a time when the DJ was in the spotlight and seen on the same level as the MC. “One day when we were 14 my best mate and I just decided to buy a record with what money we had and it just kept going from there. We ended up getting cheap turntables from an op shop and an old mixer and started to mix and scratch.” Seven years later he joined the Cat Empire and the rest is Aussie music history. If his residency at the Loose Goose won’t keep him busy enough Jumps is also working on a scratch track and a few new mixes. “As for the Cat Empire we are starting to write a new record due for release March next year.”
BY ANDREW 'HAZARD' HICKEY
Jumps [AUS] performs at Papa Goose every Friday night from Friday June 15.