The Dutch musician Jimmi Jo Hueting, aka Jo Goes Hunting, is pushing the limits of musical composition to the farthest with his adventurous style and knack for compositional strangeness. ‘Indeed, I love to experiment, but I always keep it in the boundaries of the song. For now, that’s the rule with JGH. Take ‘Drowned in The Crowd’ for instance. Here I wanted to take simple pop harmonies and push them to my imaginary limit. It became a DJ Rashad inspired odd meter footwork track which sounds like pop music with some DJ Tiesto influences,’ Jimmi says about his music. Front Row is his latest LP and a collection of interesting brainchildren balancing on the tightrope between chaos and order.
When you listen to the heavy electronic layers it might seem strange at first that the artist has his roots in traditional jazz music. But then again, it makes a whole lot of sense – improvisation and freedom are big parts of any good jazz track. ‘I see jazz as a musical mind set,’ the musician explains. ‘Because I learned my musical skills that way, improvising, groove, interacting with other band members, checking out loads of different music and combining those things will always be part of my music making life.’
‘Greats like Monk, Mingus, Coltrane and Max Roach were such innovators, who had huge developments in their musical carriers. This is a very inspiring thing for me, and one of my main goals as a musician is to always keep on developing myself.’
Especially the single Computa with its staccato style electronically enhanced vocals, shows JGH’s urge to explore the unknown. Between rapped verses and distorted electronic beats, the artist creates the perfect digitalized cacophony. As if you were stuck in the matrix with countless numbers running past you, the track is similarly immersive and versatile. It shifts from second to second and evolves so fast that you cannot even grasp the many musical layers running past you. The song describes the love hate relationship we have to modern technology. We hate how dependent we are on our computers, yet we adore the possibilities it gives us. ‘I feel like I am stuck in their trap,’ Jimmi confides in me – a feeling most of us are probably familiar with. ‘I loose myself often for hours on the Internet, which can make me feel pretty lonely sometimes. This is where ‘Computa’ is all about; having all info you can imagine so close to you, but also just sitting alone in your room behind a screen.’
From Computa’s brazen Hip Hop nature the album goes through many other genres and emotions in a matter of minutes. Lake of Pavement puts a more minimalistic twist onto things. Stripped back, it is almost entirely carried by a throbbing bassline and a crunchy drumbeat. As something between obscure Trap and retro-tinged pop, it speeds by on the laconic vocals of the singer. The spacey arrangements leave room to breath for the hazy guitar riffs and knows exactly where to leave gaps and where to fill them with unique sounds. If modern dance, with its twists, bends and unexpected turns were to become music – it would probably be Jo Goes Hunting. Amidst the wars fought out on stage or on tape and movements, which seem so primal a cohesive choreography emerges.
Finding Natural Direction
The different characters within the album ‘are mostly based on personal thoughts and situations,’ the singer encountered and infused with his imaginative spirit. Jimmi is the songwriting mastermind behind the project and works out most of the arrangements solo but relies on his band when it comes to playing live. The musicians have been playing together for four years already and complete on each other intuitively. On stage, the solo project ‘becomes a group thing’.
‘I don’t have a fixed system to write songs,’ Jimmi tells me about his creative process. ‘In general I am not really a structured person. Mostly it starts from a gut feeling, an inspirational rush that comes out, combined with a certain energy I want to construe.’ This heavily intuitive style of working reflects onto the music, which in all of its shifts of temperature seems to be led by instinct of the artist. It gives a small insight into the bright and colorful mind of the creative. ‘When I’m in the writing process, often naturally, a direction of where it should appears and I’m just trying to get as close as possible to that idea.’ The lyrics usually come up during the writing process Jo Goes Hunting goes on. These snippets of ideas often take some time to find their proper context, but when they do – they match like the missing puzzle piece. Sometimes the search of the missing pieces takes only a couple of hours sometimes a few months. But by not rushing it Jimmi manages to find the right one for each song.
‘What I don’t do is put too many goals before hand like: now I want to make a song with a catchy chorus. I kind of let it go to a natural direction.’
From Classical Composer to Hip Hop Producer
The trap many musicians seem to fall into, is hurrying the process along. Adding too many layers that do not really match the vibe can make or break a song. By not pushing the unripe fruit of thought, Jo Goes Hunting creates well-rounded songs that in all their cacophony follow a concept. ‘For me, a track is finished when the musical energy comes across, when the journey of the song has a clear start and end.’ To not get worked up in his compositions, Jimmi likes to consult fellow musicians and friends before finalizing the piece. A fresh pair of eyes is often the best way to not run in circles, to not get caught up within your own mind. Friends, from classical composers to hip hop producers, help Jimmi collect many different opinions, usually ‘combined with a couple of beers’. No wonder all these facets of his musical character sneak their way into the final piece.
With all of these divers ideas and influences merged to one, Jo Goes Hunting is no easy listening experience – and it is not meant to be one. So take your time, give the record several spins to grasp what is going on in these unique and utterly contemporary songs to join Jimmi on his ‚experimental, groove-based, journey of making pop music’.
Jo Goes Hunting will perform as part of the new event series We Need More Indie, presented by NBHAP, on March 18 (Hamburg) and March 19 (Berlin). Find all information and how to get tickets right here.
This article was made possible via the concept of ‘Smart Compensation‘ which allows to invest more time on specific editorial topics. Find out more about it in NBHAP’s Mediakit.