Jonny Faith set to drop ‘On Lock’ EP on Heard & Felt
With music from Jonny Faith’s recent ‘Night Lights’ EP appearing in Grand Theft Auto and best of 2020 lists including Gilles Peterson’s, you might think Jonny would continue to mine his take of hip hop and broken beat.
Well, all in good time. Jonny Faith has been ready to enter the jungle for 20 years, and he’s not waiting any longer.
Now based in Melbourne, Jonny first got involved in music in Edinburgh as a DJ and turntablist in the 90s. He got hooked on jungle and drum & bass in those days from hearing DJ Hype spinning in Newcastle, seeing the Roni Size/Reprazent live show with two drummers and hanging out at cult Edinburgh club night Manga, where residents G-Mac and DJ Kid hosted the likes of Marky, Grooverider and J Majik.
Jonny was keen to start making his own sounds, signing up for an electronic music production course. But the course seemed to be more house-oriented. Sampling was not on the curriculum, and the students weren’t allowed to touch the Akai S900, the sampler used in many classic early jungle/D&B tunes. When Jonny did start releasing his own productions in the mid-00s, he was starting to explore the experimental hip hop beat scene at the same time Flying Lotus and Hudson Mohawke (another Scottish turntablist) were also getting started.
Jonny continued to widen his sonic palette, adding elements of dub, jazz, funk, electronica and broken beat, and picking up fans like Radio Nova Paris, KCRW, Vice and Clash Magazine along the way. But he’s never been more than one degree of separation from his jungle/D&B roots. He has continued to buy and play the music, done the odd D&B remix and snuck sonic elements and techniques into his tracks at various tempos. Over the years his releases have shared labels with the likes of Peshay, Om Unit, Drumagick, Reso, Kid Drama and Danny Scrilla.
Now, more than 20 years after those early experiences in Edinburgh, Jonny unveils his first jungle/D&B EP, ‘On Lock’. And it sounds like he’s been making this music the whole time. In a way, he has.
The single ‘Open My Eyes’ which is our premiere today, bursts out the gate! Chopping not only the breaks but also the soul for a tune that sounds like Amerie’s ‘1 Thing’ reimagined for the 174 BPM crew. We’ve heard hip hop maestro Just Blaze making house (and it rocks). Maybe if he made drum & bass it would sound a bit like this. Actually, the tune is the happy accident that led to the whole EP. As Jonny explains:
“I was trying to make a hip hop beat for a new live routine on my MPC, but the beats didn’t sound right. So I kept the soul chops but swapped out the head nod beat for some jungle rhythms and it brought the track to life. The rest of the EP flowed really quickly from there.”
Next up, Jonny tries a similar trick on his own boom bap tune ‘Stay in Your Lane’ from the ‘Night Lights’ EP. His new ‘Step Off Mix’ totally recontextualises US MC Lady K‘s slinky soulful rap and hooks with a tough and funky junglist groove. One for fans of the old Roni Size/Bahamadia collab. ‘Create’ then spaces things out just a touch, bringing atmospheric drumfunk that should find room in the crate next to Paradox, Fracture and Neptune. Vinyl bonus track ‘Nuthin’ But a Jungle Thang’ layers cascading amen breaks, timestretched vocals and a massive double bass-line over the wah guitars and synth whistling of a G-funk era classic. This one is absolute fire!!
With early support for Jonny Faith’s take on jungle/D&B coming from Hospital Records, Rupture (Rinse FM) and Fanu (Metalheadz), Jonny is ready to be welcomed (back) into the scene.
Check out our premiere of Jonny Faith ‘Open My Eyes’ below. The ‘On Lock’ EP drops on 9th April, you can pre-order/buy it here