FACE TiME POLiCE
SULTANS OF STOMP
JJ AND DAN OF MOJORiSiNG
TALK TO ROCKWiRED
ABOUT THEiR DEBUT E.P. FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL
COMiNG TO AMERiCA
AND NOT CHANGiNG THE WORLD THROUGH MUSiC
iNTERViEWED BY BRiAN LUSH
It seems silly to me that the FARRIS brothers of INXS went to all the trouble to come to the States to do a silly reality contest show to find a chap to fill the shoes of the late MICHAEL HUTCHENCE when the ideal replacement was down under as well. JJ (JOZSEPH JAMES) – the front man of the pop-rock duo MOJORISING - has got the HUTCHENCE thing down cold in terms of delivery and songwriting so INXS’s loss is our gain as MOJORISING show those old sultans of stomping dance-rock how it’s done with the release of their debut EP ‘FEEL WHAT YOU FEEL’. Adding to the excitement of this dynamic duo’s release is a recent move from Melbourne, Australia to Los Angeles where they hope to lay down the foundation for America’s embrace of all that is MOJORISING. “[People] like to remind you that you are one in a sea of a million bands.” Says lead singer JJ “So we mentally prepared ourselves in coming to the States for a long time. Right now, I think that we’re feeling a sense of pride for all of the work that we’ve done in getting to LA because we worked our butts off. We’re pretty excited because we just played the WHISKY and that was something that I always wanted to do ever since I was a kid. To sing at JIM MORRISON’s old haunt was just unreal. It’s a mixture of pride, excitement and knowing that we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
ROCKWIRED spoke to JJ and drummer DAN of MOJORISING the day following their show at THE WHISKY A GO GO. Here is how it went.
How is LA treating you guys. I understand that you’re new to it.
DAN: It’s been great! We’ve been here for about ten days and it’s just amazing. There is so much energy in the people that we’ve met. We’ve had two gigs here already including the WHISKY – which we did last night. It’s been such a great thing that is happening with us right now. It’s all happening so quickly. It’s really, really cool.
Talk about the WHISKY gig.
DAN: We somehow managed to get the WHISKY gig booked four days after we arrived in LA which was awesome. The whole evening was incredible. There was a good energy there and obviously it is where THE DOORS got their start and to have shared the same stage as JIM MORRISON did is just really cool.
Whereabouts in Australia do you guys hail from?
DAN: We’re from Melbourne. It’s all the way down at the bottom of Australia. There is a lot of music there and a lot of different kinds of performing arts.
Now that the EP is out there for people to hear, how do you guys feel about the finished work?
DAN: We are very, very happy with it. We recorded it at a SING SING STUDIOS back in Melbourne. A lot of big people have been through there including KANYE WEST and ALICIA KEYS. We really tried to go all out with this CD and take our time in getting the production and the recording right. We’re really happy with it and we’ve gotten great responses – especially in America and Canada. That is one of the main reasons for why we are here I guess. We plan on pushing this a little while before we jump back into the studio to do a full album.
How did MOJORISING begin? DAN: JJ and I met three years ago and we had a similar vision in terms of what we wanted to achieve in music. We were always big thinkers. We were always pretty driven to do things that are outside of the box, so when we met, we had a really good connection. We’ve had lots of people coming in and out of the band. In the beginning, the band had more of a blues rock sound like THE ROLLING STONES so there has been a big evolution in terms of our sound. We were trying to find people who had the same motivation to do what we were doing and we got to a point after a year of one guy leaving to go to school and another guy leaving to get engaged, where we decided that we would be clever about what we are doing and see if we could throw a bit of a concept behind all of this and that is how we became the duo that we are at the moment. We’ve been playing out as a two piece and responses have been great. We’ve got a lot of energy on stage. It’s been a bit of a journey and an evolution for us.
You said that the band started out as a blues-based rock band. At what point did you guys decide to get a little dancier with your material?
DAN: I think that started maybe a year or a year-and-a-half ago that we decided to go for that sound but it was always hard to do because other members of the band were always trying to push that heavier rock sound. JJ and I had always embraced things like INXS and JAMIROQUAI. We love THE DOORS as well but their sound is different from the way that we sound at the moment. We were always into big pop artists like MICHAEL JACKSON and things with more of a groove. I guess it was a matter of going through the process of being true to what it was that we wanted to sound like. It takes time. When we had the other guys in the band, there were all of these compromises that had to be made, but now that it’s just the two us we can be true to our vision a little bit more.
How do songs get written between the two of you?
DAN: I’ll pass this one over to JJ. He’s the songwriter of the majority of our work.
JJ: Songwriting for me is very cathartic. It is how I express myself. I like to take things out of my life and other people’s lives and I basically turn it into a song. It’s funny because some people ask me how I write songs and I have no direct method really. Sometimes, I’ll be in a bad mood and I’ll come up with a bass line in my head or sometimes I’ll be playing at the piano and I’ll come up with something there. The song SHE WOKE UP TO ME was written when I was really angry with my girlfriend at the time. I was at work as she was cooking and all of a sudden I found myself tapping my foot to this beat in my head. It sort of just came to me all at once.
Talk about how music began for you?
JJ: Music started for me when I was five years old. I’m a huge fan of MICHAEL HUTCHENCE of INXS. I saw him singing on TV one day in Australia and at five years old I said I wanna be that guy. That was probably my first brush with music. My father would always singe songs to me – LED ZEPPELIN songs and my older brother loved ELVIS PRESLEY. As a young kid, I was surrounded by a lot of great music.
Just by all of the bands that I’ve interviewed from AUSTRALIA like MINK, BABY ANIMALS and THE SCREAMING JETS, you guys seem to be a real hard rock continent. Was the idea to incorporate a dance backbeat into the music your idea, his or a consensus?
JJ: I’d say it was a mix of both. We’re very big fans of evolving in music. We’re not the kind of band that stays with one thing. We like a lot of different music. He’s got his pop music that the likes and I’ve got my pop music that I like. I’ve got my INXS influence and he’s got that SAM SPARRO kind of thing. When we can agree on something, it evolves into a sound and that is how we get that backbeat going.
Talk about DAN. What does he bring to the table that makes this work?