AM444 will have a very special gig this Sunday April 1st. As a matter of fact, AM444 is having an special time since they released last year their first EP Eye Wonder.
Few weeks ago AM444 started their 2012 tour in China (soon expanding out of China), and now it’s the turn of their gig in Shanghai. This gig is special for many reasons, first of all, we’ve been waiting for a show of AM444 for a year (that’s too long), then it will be a gig to celebrate the first birthday of Eye Wonder (one of the best albums released in China during 2011), and the gig will be in JZ Club (which means the encounter of many good things on a same spot).
AM444 is the duo of ChaCha and Jay Soul, they are the producers of Eye Wonder, one of the best albums released in China on 2011. Eye Wonder made them one of the freshest additions to music in China last year. The released of the album at The Shelter last year was a success that confirmed their soundness. ChaCha and Jay Soul, have been showing their talent independently in different great shows along the last year (and to be fair, since many years ago), mostly at The Shelter, their den. ChaCha had a terrific end of 2011 when she went to Spain to be part of the infamous Red Bull Music Academy, the experience, as she told us before (for an unpublished interview that disappeared in a lost gadget), expanded her creative landscape in many ways. She is now playing with synths and doing new music, solo. AM444 is also cooking more beats and sounds. They are coming to Shanghai now after playing a set of shows around some few cities of China. They are turned on.
When music moves away of its comfort zone, new waves join its sound, and the listening experience grows.
JZ is the heart of jazz in Shanghai, the place where all the jazz cats meet to play around bebop, fusion, and swing. JZ is the center of operations for the biggest music festival of Shanghai, the stage where the best jazz musicians that have been in Shanghai have played and still play every night, the bar where the beatnik soul of Shanghai forgets Miles is dead (with the classy assistance of the sickest Long Island Teas in Asia), JZ is basically the coast where all the cats beach on when the gigs around town are over, and it’s time for the last drunk jam of the night.
Add all these ingredients to a glass. Mix it. Now drink it while you warm up for Sunday and read the interview we just did to ChaCha… Cheers!
Layabozi: How did AM444 started?
ChaCha: We know each other for over three years, but until end of 2010 we finally had the time to do something together. Jay sent me over fifty beats the first time, I started picking the ones I liked to record, when we had a couple of demos we knew we could do something really cool, and then we decided to make a proper EP. Thats how AM444 started.
LYBZ: What means AM444?
CC: AM444 means early morning 4:44. A lot of times when I’ve finished recording, I look at the watch, and the time is 4:44 am, so we named ourselves AM444.
LYBZ: What are the elements used in the music of AM444?
CC: Jay and me come from different music backgrounds, so AM444 mix both our styles in it. Jay’s soul, funky hip-hop, dub beats. And mine’s trip hop, dreamy singing style.
LYBZ: Why did you guys wait a year after the release of your first album to play live more often?
CC: 2011 was a mad year for both of us, Jay just had his little boy during last summer, and I got married twenty days after our first album released. Also we are both working on something else after our first EP, we always wanted to do a tour with the first release but we couldn’t. We’ve been waiting long time for this tour. Happily, it’s finally happening.
LYBZ: Have you produced new music during this year?
CC: Yes, even we were both busy with some family issues, but we never stopped doing music. We are making AM444’s new album now, and we will do few of the new tracks during the tour, so if you come to our gig you will hear the new stuff we’ve done.
LYBZ: What is or are your favorite songs of AM444 and why?
CC: All the tracks are our babies, there are all our favorite, each song is telling different stories, with different angles, lyrics and melodies, so they are different.
LYBZ: How important is AM444 for you personally?
CC: AM444 is my first proper project to run, and I can totally just be myself. Jay is an amazing musician, I’m so proud that I have had the chance to work with him, mix our music and culture background together, make something very fresh. I take AM444 very seriously, I hope we can run it as long as we can.
LYBZ: How is the creative process between you two?
CC: Usually Jay sends me beats then I pick the one I like to start to record vocal on it, then Jay re arranges and mixes it down, but now for the new album we are going to work more together, maybe even start with my vocal or something else. We are going to have more fun with the new album.
LYBZ: How affected to AM444 your experience in Spain with the Red Bull Academy?
CC: I’m more open after RBMA I think, from music style to singing style. I started to think music in different way now, so that means it will be more freedom and less rules
LYBZ: You just played a couple of dates out of Shanghai, right? How were those gigs?
CC: Yes we played in Chongqing, Chengdu, and Beijing the last few weeks. The gigs were great, I loved Chongqing the best, people are lovely,the show was great, and I made lots friends.
LYBZ: Do you listen to jazz often?
CC: I love jazz of course, but still more into heavy bass deep dark electronic music, I don’t know a lot about jazz, can’t even pick a name that I know….
LYBZ: Is AM444 somehow related to jazz?
CC: There are some jazz elements in our music but I won’t say we make jazz tune or what. Music is music, I don’t really care if is pop or jazz or hip-hop, I like the music produced with heart and soul, our music is something we like and we are listening, it changes all the time, one day we might make AM444 jazz album , who knows [laughs].
LYBZ: What’s your vision of jazz in Shanghai?
CC: Everyone I know says they love jazz, I have no idea what they think of jazz is, but I know Shanghai has some really really good jazz musicians.
LYBZ: .. and what about JZ Club?
CC: The best jazz music club for sure, and every musician on that stage are all good, I’m so proud that we have a chance to play at JZ Club
LYBZ: Are you preparing specially for JZ Club?
CC: JZ gig will be big and fun, all of our friends will come to see us, and 1st April is the one year annyvesary of our first EP Eye Wonder since it was released, this live means a lot for me. Also to get on JZ club’s stage is one of my dreams, because on that stage I will play to people who really love music, and who know a lot about music, I want to make a good live set and drive those people mad [laughs].
LYBZ: What are the plans for AM444 this year?
CC: AM444 will tour a lot this year, and we are also planing a European tour for this summer. We are trying to finish the new album before this summer, and this time you will hear something even more fresh and special!
Photo of AM444 by Kim Laughton.