Unkle Jam - Interview

“Expect freaks, vomit and vulgarness at an Unklejam gig”, warns band member Tyson ‘Tendai’ Speede.

Unklejam’s neon electro-soul mash-up includes Tyson, Mr. Bobby Joel Stearns and Adonistar.

Tyson – who asks to be called Moca Choco Latte for the interview – gives a naughty teaser about their live shows. “It’s just out of order,” he says, “There’s everything and anything – expect lights and very fast movement. It’s out of this world.”

It’s all about freedom of expression for the band members who are heavily influenced by P-Funk - a genre made popular by George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic in the 1970s. Even their band name – Unklejam – comes from Funkadelic 1979 album ‘Uncle Jam Wants You.’

George Clinton’s wayward habit of creating his own funked-up universe appeal to the trio, who also cite David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Prince, Clash, Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and Gary Numan as influences.

“Our sound is the electro soul of Cooke and Mayfield with the electro trance of Numan,” explains Tyson who started doing this music by accident: “I got record equipment and started playing around. But I couldn’t make an r’n’b beat – it was too complicated. So I started doing four to the fall beats for soulful songs.”

Tyson met Bobby at a club night and they started doing music together. They met their final member Adonistar on his first night ever in London. An extra loud rehearsal in a Shepherds Bush studio led to a record deal for the group – “We didn’t want a deal,” says Tyson “In our house we always just thought we were superstars – like you do.” However, a passer-by heard their rehearsal and begged them from a demo. They got a deal with Virgin a couple of months later.

Their debut offering Luv Ya, is a helium-high, funk-infused symphony that would have their ultimate band member James Brown getting down in heaven. “It’s a supernova,” says Tyson who uses a cosmic system overload to encapsulate the band in one word.

Last updated: 20/06/2018 06:58:51

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