FAULT Future: Jeremiah Jae – The Quiet Man of Rap

jjdDSC_1785 Jeremiah Jae was tracked down in 2006/7 by SAMIAM through MySpace and introduced to Flying Lotus. A year he signed to BRAINFEEDER and moved to LA, albeit reluctantly. I met JJae at his hotel in Old Street, London. He is welcoming, humble and very mellow. His attire does not scream ‘rapper’, a word he professes to detest. His fashion is low-key and rather than partying all night he prefers to get high, make music and meditate – he hasn’t been to a gig, other than one of his own, in years. Jae wants to connect with people spiritually. He is all about positive communication not fame and money. He’s in it “just for the music”.

 

 

Jeremiah’s sound is hard to define. It is a collage with a variety of textures and layers that just works. The combination of compelling samples, psychedelic beats, smooth jazz, experimental hip-hop, and abstract rap transport the listener into “a world of pure imagination”. His music creates a drowsy and dreamy trance for the mind through his smothered vocals and hazy lyrics: “so what now when we turn the lights down and the world fades out”. Jae possesses a subtle poetic and musical talent. He is the quiet man of rap. jjdDSC_1827

How would you describe your sound?

I don’t. I just do it. Spontaneous.

Sampling seems to be a key factor in your music. Why is this?

It’s not the key, it’s more of a tool, a vehicle for ideas. I kinda like the old record static sound. When I was growing up my mum had all these records and I just loved the dust on it and all that shit and just wanted to have my own collection of records to dig through. It’s just a reference point really, not a key factor, ‘cause I still make shit without samples.

How did you meet Steven Ellison, Flying Lotus, and become part of the BRAINFEEDER crew?

Probably 06/07 I met SAMIAM and he introduced me to Steve just through mix-tapes I was putting out. I met Steve and was like “yeah he’s a cool guy”. I was really into his music and about a year later he asked me to come out to LA. I was shocked and didn’t know what to do. I was a little apprehensive, I didn’t want to be on a label. I was timid and didn’t want to put out my music like that, it was personal. Obviously I was putting shit online, it was fun, all my homies got together and made music. We were learning how to rap and how to make beats.

So it was more of a hobby to start with and then you’ve got this big brand coming to you saying we want you to sign with us and you don’t know what to do?

Right! Yeah, I had an idea of what I wanted to do but the idea of putting an album together, being an artist, the fame and all that shit I was trying to override all those feelings. But then I learned it was just do what ever you wanna do and I was like okay and agreed to the record deal.

 

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How much has your home city of Chicago contributed to the artist you have become?

Everything. That’s why I am here. That’s why I look the way I look (laughs). I think there’s something really raw about Chicago, where I grew up on the South side. I grew up in this kinda nice area surrounded by the hood and the drug dealers, Jackson Park Highlands. People in Chicago know that shit. My grandfather was a preacher, he passed away in ‘93, and left my grandma this big ass house and so me, my mum and sister moved in with her and that’s where I kinda grew up. It’s literally surrounded by the hood, so I had all these interactions and my friends were out there. I didn’t section myself off, I was in the streets. I was going to school up north. I was all over the city.

What are you inspired by?

It’s impossible to pinpoint one thing. Life I guess. My dad was a big influence on me growing up. He’s a jazz musician, a painter and is a self-published artist with his own label. He made me want to do everything on my own, to figure out my own talents and a way to work it out and how to create my own business out of it. That’s another reason I was reluctant to sign. I want to keep it organic. It’s really just for the music. I’m such a fan of jazz musicians and the history of music. It’s so different now with the internet, kids have lost not only the meaning behind music but analogue equipment is being less and less used and the mindset of artists back in the day was a lot different.

Am I right in thinking you do your own artwork including your album?

Yes! I try to do everything as far as the visual ideas and concepts go apart from the photography, of which was done by B+ on Raw Money Raps who is a legendary photographer, its crazy.

What do you feel separates you from all other current artists?

Me? I’m just me. I like to stay me and be myself. I’m not like anybody.

 

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You said Raw Money Raps was an “experimental relationship between dreams and waking life”. Tell me about RawHyde, your music with Oliver the 2nd.

He’s my first cousin and also comes from a musical side of the family, his father is an R&B singer, his mother is a singer too and his brothers are artists and rappers. Me and him lived together in Chicago for like three or four years, he’s from LA, but we always connected with the music. He was actually making beats and rapping before I was in this group and that really inspired me. He gave me this beats cd on a mini disk when I was like 12 or 13 and it put me into a whole different mindset. I was hearing shit on the radio but I’d never heard someone that close to me making shit that was actually good and trying to get better. The whole RawHyde thing came about as we always made music together and always wanted an album or a mix-tape to come out and that was what it turned out to be. We didn’t put a lot of thought in to it, it just happened. It was kinda spontaneous.

If you were stranded on an island, which 3 tracks would you take with you?

I’d say: Miles Davis ‘Boplicity’, Billie Halliday ‘Strange Fruit’, Jimi Hendrix ‘Machine Gun’

What can we expect from you new music and how soon is it dropping?

The new music is gonna be dropping via Warp Records and it’ll be out whenever they tell me. I’m excited about making music but when I make it sometimes stuff gets pushed back and I have projects that are going to be unreleased for a while but they are coming out. If I have to self release some I will but the others will be out on various labels. There should be a lot of stuff coming out this year and I already made a plan to drop stuff every month which is annoying to some but I just want to get more of my crew ‘Black Jungle Squad’ out and just keep dropping shit and shitting on people. (laughs)

What’s your favourite word?

Flabbergasted

 

DSC_1834-2 Dream collaboration?

Probably Spike Lee. Do the right thing. Public enemy. I wanna make a video like that, a Spike Lee directed video so if you’re out there Spike Lee…

Lyric you are most proud of?

Something on my new album. You guys gotta wait. But know this, I’m proud of it.

What would you do if you had 30 minutes left to live? Depending on who I was with. If I was with a girl….(laughs). But if I was with my friends I would just get really high, probably trip and take DMT so I am ready for death. Really I would just meditate and enjoy the last seconds of life.

 

Words: Rosie Matheson
Interview: Sana Sigola
Photography: Rosie Matheson