Producer and multi-instrumentalist Joe F Newman aka J-Felix’s wide-ranging appreciation of music makes J-Felix a talented instrumentalist as well as a killer DJ, ; you may have been lucky enough to have seen him play at Glastonbury, Soundwave, or support Gilles Peterson in Brighton. Having just released his second album “Whole Again Hooligan”, which features El Train, Sol Goodman, Emeson and Afua as collaborators, and has been supported by the likes of Nemone (BBC 6Music), Jamz Supernova (BBC 1Xtra), Phil Taggart (BBC Radio 1), and FIP, with a spellbinding session for Erica McKoy on Worldwide FM.
You grew up in Bristol but are now based in Brighton, how do you feel the two cities have influenced your musical sound and direction?
Bristol was full of music growing up there. I was just about conscious enough to take note when my parents were playing Massive Attack, Roni Size reprazent and Portishead records. Drum and Bass was huge in Bristol when I was younger, before I could legally go to clubs, but I remember sneaking in to see Roni Size DJ with my big brother. Reggae and Dub was always around in Bristol. I have early memories of hearing these sounds at the now extinct Ashton Court Festival before I knew what it was, I will never forget the bass! A lot of us were in bands or rapped and made beats growing up at school and college as well. Things seemed pretty accepting by the time I got to college, it was OK to play the guitar and be into Hip-Hop!
Brighton has quite a different vibe really, There’s a lot of disco and house DJs down here as well as some excellent Jazz musicians. Playing with some of the jazzers I’ve met down here including Will Gardener and Jack Kendon, to name a few, has really broadened my musical knowledge and skill. It’s obviously the home of Tru-Thoughts as well, so a hub for Rob Luis’ brilliant and eclectic club night and where I met TM Juke and Alice Russell. Both towns have had a big influence in different ways.
You cut your teeth into an eclectic range of bands and musical projects, how do you juggle all of these at once? Or do you find they all compliment each other?
It can be a juggling act. This year has been pretty hectic already, I started by learning the new Alice Russell set for her show at the Roundhouse before getting my band ready for these release shows. I am just taking a break from learning joel Culpepper’s set as I’m playing for him in France at the end of the month! That said, they all compliment each other and ultimately give me a wider palette and skill set.
What was your inspiration behind the new album?
So much inspiration in the world. struggle, success, self expression and the strange times around us encouraged me to hide away and make some positive vibrations. Musically, the inspiration is vast, Dub, Roy Hargrove, broken beat stuff, hip-hop, George Clinton, Prince, plus working with Swindle and Alice.
Could you tell us a little bit about where you recorded the album?
I recorded it at my little studio in Brighton at a place called the Coachwerks, it’s a converted warehouse full of all sorts of studios, pottery, fashion, music, there’s even someone that does 3d printing. Very nice little spot. I’ve been working on it on and off for around 2 years, but really got moving with it after my first run of shows with Swindle, before festival season got busy again and before my daughter was born. I knew I had so much to come, so I got busy finishing the record!
What can fans expect from your performances at Colours Hoxton and Patterns this weekend?
Expect a 9 piece band of very fine musicians with a nice vibe on stage, we also have some vocal guests who were on the album, including Andrew Ashong, Emeson, Afua and Sol Goodman, we’re all there!
Who are the artists you’re playing on repeat at the moment?
Lucky Daye, Children of Zeus.
What can we expect to see from you this coming year?
More live shows, busy summer season ahead. More DJ sets and watch out this summer for another release of something special!