There’s something preternatural in the forecast for Monday. Apparently the sky will grow darker and heavier throughout the day; a dense wall of chaos will gather. But watching the sky will be futile, because like the infamous Jokers of the Scene themselves, the results of this anxious buildup will vary—immensely—when they hit the decks for their long-awaited return to Middlesex Lounge via CVLT.
You may have heard of their “Baggy Bottom Boys” music video, a true rave anthem, part of which was filmed during one of the nights Toronto natives Linus Booth and Chris Macintyre graced the legendary Hearthrob parties of yore. Or perhaps you’ve plunged head-first into their refreshingly whimsical and vast collection of remixes and Fool’s Gold originals.
One thing you can expect: JOTS will enter and break out from your soul, taking what you thought was your reality to unexpected places, and with the aid of Ctrl.Alt.Design., bring you thundering into audio and visual mayhem. Though trills of dark, dripping electronic music will pour from the ceiling of Cambridge’s favorite music box that night, the guys promised the Dig that they will bring fire.
This is not a joke.
Do you like Tim Hortons?
Chris: I prefer Coffee Time.
Linus: They’re great when you need a public toilet.
When you go there, what do you get?
Chris: Coffee and a pumpernickel bagel with cream cheese. Toasted.
Linus: In and out… as quickly as possible.
I know you have godly record collections. What was the last non-electronic music artist you chilled out to?
Chris: Right now I’m listening to the Cocteau Twins. Earlier tonight I listened to the new Laurel Halo album.
Linus: Really into the new Horseback and Laurel Halo records right now. On a Robert Fripp kick too… especially the records he produced for pop artists like Daryl Hall and Peter Gabriel. My favorite records are generally the ones that are completely misunderstood in an artist’s repertoire.
Your new EP, J0T5. I love the sounds, it’s totally other-worldly, eclectic, and huge. How long did it take you in the studio in total to make that, if you had to give me a guesstimate?
Chris: The entire record came together over the span of about six weeks. We had initially started sessions thinking we were going to create a new song or two for a 12-inch, but it ended up spawning into an EP. Some people have referred to it as a mini-album because of the conceptual nature to it.
Linus: We spent the majority of last summer writing the record and expanding on an idea. We look forward to doing something similar (and yet completely different) this summer.
Does the album feel to you in a way like a building story?
Chris: I think it has some sort of narrative. The idea was to try to create something that is better listened to as a whole rather than just as individual tracks.
I’m still largely fascinated by the album listening experience over an individual track. The experience is far too short and narrow.
Linus: We started out by writing one or two new songs for the new single, and the body of work kept expanding. I find we’re in a similar scenario again at the moment after finishing up several remixes… we’re definitely looking forward to working on a new body of our own work. No clue whether it will be two or 20 songs in the end.
What would you say to someone who walked into the studio who you didn’t know with a shirt that said “Drum Machines have no Soul,” and was dead serious about it?
Chris: Ignorance is bliss I guess…
Linus: I’d ask them where they got the shirt.
Do you feel like being so close with the guys at Fool’s Gold gives you the chance to let loose and let your creative juices explode all over your new tracks? Is that kind of relationship important to have as producers/artists?
Chris: For us, allowing yourself to be creatively open is the entire point.
I can’t imagine what it must like to be in a situation where you feel like you have to keep chasing a fleeting audience. We are tied to ourselves in terms of our creativity, not anyone else. We’ve felt pressured at times to make a “hit,” as so many others are sadly experiencing as well, but that’s something we would never consciously set out to do. We aren’t at all motivated by that sort of thing.
We enjoy being completely open with our approach and generally stick to a no-rules policy.
Linus: At this point we have nothing to lose.
The sound may have evolved, but the sentiment hasn’t. We’ll continue to challenge ourselves and everyone around us into thinking what JOTS is.
Would it or would it not bother you if a DJ spins and does not dance to his own music?
Chris: Never trust a DJ that doesn’t dance. Or just puts his hands in the air.
Linus: Ironically, there definitely seems to be a lot less dancing in the Electronic Dance Music scene these days.
Your guilty pleasure, an artist no one would guess, you’d like to see remix your stuff?
Chris: It would be cool to see someone like Brian Eno mess with our stuff.
Linus: Going back to the concept of artist’s working outside their comfort zone, I’ve been impressed by the remixes that David Lynch, Todd Rundgren and Rick Rubin have recently produced. cEvin Key would be pretty awesome to have work on our material.
Dream person to make music with. Alive or dead.
Chris: I once had a dream I was engineering a record for Raffi. Does that count?
Linus: Tough question as I don’t think I’d wanna make records with artists I look up to… would be awesome if Arthur Russell was still alive though.
How did you pick the remixers? Did you mail them all free copies?
Chris: We were big fans of all the artists we asked to work on the record, so they were easy choices. We also like to go for new and budding talent, or perhaps artists we feel are underrated.
Linus: We’ve been very fortunate in getting a wide variety of our favorite artists to remix our tracks and yes… they got shiny new Mp3s in their inbox. A couple even got WAVs.
When you guys started out, you were DJing at these loft parties called Disorganised parties for like seven years, that sounds a lot like my life. How was the sound system setup you rigged?
Chris: The sound systems were always pretty makeshift, and would blow up regularly. One time way back the entire system blew so we kept the party going through a single Peavey keyboard amp. No momentum was lost. It’s still our favorite party ever.
Linus: They were the type of events that when the plug was pulled we’d blast the front couple of rows with our headphone speakers.
Top three craziest parties you’ve played and what happened.
Chris: It’s so tough to narrow down as we’ve played hundreds over the years … but some that stick out are events we did at The Arches in Glasgow, our various Fabric experiences, and a very special night in Athens in 2011. Playing Coachella in 2010 was definitely an experience as well.
What was it like moving from underground insanity parties in packed places to touring clubs around the world?
Chris: We feel so fortunate to be able to travel as much as we do, and seeing the world is truly the most mind-expanding experience. We’re definitely both junkies for new experiences and discovering new territory.
Linus: Those early days we’re completely spontaneous. Incredibly tough to recapture that spirit while on the road, but the events that do are never forgotten.
Speaking of which, on an amazing party scale, how do Hearthrob nights at Middlesex in Cambridge compare to those parties of yore?
JOTS at Hearthrob, 2010. Photo by Gillian Bowling. + Various Hearthrob photos by David Day.
Linus: No to mention it served as the partial set for our first (and most popular) music video.
Are you excited to be back?
Chris: Of course!
Linus: Never a dull moment when it comes to Boston events (again, there have definitely been arrests).
Would you call yourselves crazy? (I’d call myself crazy)
Chris: Controlled crazy, yes.
Linus: Have to be crazy to endure this wonderful roller coaster ride!
I love how every set you play is totally different, it keeps things fresh. Can you give us any hints for your night with CVLT coming up? What to expect? Fire?
Linus: It always depends on the mood of the night and of the crowd. Being such big music fans we try to fit as much and new and old material into our sets from a wide variety of genres. Our ideal situation arises when the audience puts their complete trust in us and let us take them anywhere and everywhere.
Chris: No clue. We never plan ahead. We let nature take it’s course in the moment.
But I think it’s safe to say there will be a lot of playing with fire.
JOKERS OF THE SCENE
WITH SHIMODA, PUNKETTA, GLASS TEETH, EL POSER
VISUALS: CTRL ALT DESIGN
315 MASS AVE.