Jokers Of The Scene Talk


File under: TECHNO / SYNTH / NOISE  

Jokers Of The Scene's current album End Scene really pricked up our ears over at R$N towers. Composed in the confines of a Toronto studio, the expansive sound of this album – co-released with recent Label Love-ees on R$N Throne of Blood and New Kanada – is based on decades of VHS-addled film music, new wave jams, weirdo library records, acid house bangers, selected ambient works, and warehouse jackers. And it's super aces.

Crafted for modern listening from the "analogue echoes of cybernetic dreams", End Scene reflects a cohesive vision for the Jokers of the Scene's intensely eclectic sensibility. This is headphone music made to move bodies, at once familiar and confounding fresh.

We've got a premiere of their new video… which you can watch below, so we thought it about time we had a sit down with Linus Booth and Chris Macintyre to find all about what these Jokers of the Scene had to say. They've even promised us a R$N Mix later in the year. Fancy! 

To those living under a rock who are you, where are you from, where are you now?

L. We're Jokers of the Scene. Not Jockers of the Scene. Not Jokers of a Scene, Not Jokes of the Scene. And Sometimes people would rather call us JOTS. We're currently based in Toronto but started this journey in Ottawa. 
C. We make a variety of electronic music and DJ together. 

Tell us about Jokers of the Scene, over 10 years strong, your sound has evolved pretty significantly over time. 

L. The Jokers project was a great way to kick off a mid life crisis. 10 years later we've subsequently toned things down and ramped things up. If you've been paying attention you'll hear the progression. I don't comprehend how an artist can't evolve over the course of one's lifetime. If there's any one constant to our output is doing what makes sense for us at that given moment. 
C. And to think there's so much musical ground we have yet to explore.

We're quite obsessed with your End Scene album over at R$N towers. I noticed it’s come out on Throne of Kanada which I’m assuming is another James Friedman offshoot of Throne of Blood combined with New Kanada. Was this created especially for you?

L. When we were sending out the demos for the album both TOB and NK showed the greatest interest. Rather than choosing we proposed to both camps to collaborate on the release. They went for it and time will tell where it leads.
C. It's definitely an experiment for all parties involved.  So far it's seemed to have worked out far beyond our expectations. 

Does this mean you’ve jumped ship from Fool’s Gold then or you still lovers?

L. We've made great friendships through those guys/years and we're here because of FG so never say never. We found our path and they found theirs. In the end it didn't make sense for us to release our debut album with them.
C. As much as we evolve and work in various capacities, I don't think we've ever really jumped ship from anything; we just explore new territory. We're happy to be in a "free agent" type of situation, but our alliances remain intact as we move forward.

This album’s a very complete whole, was it a conscious decision to create something which sounded as such?

L. We're big fans of the album format and a musical journey. End Scene started off as soundtrack project that in turn didn't see the light of day so it already had that basis going for it. In the end we were inspired by those original sessions and expanded on them. We're very happy with the way it turned out and the story that it tells.
C. Over the years people have repeatedly asked us as to when we were going to finally do a full length album, and it never really made sense to us amidst putting out club records.  This was the perfect conduit to do a cohesive body of work that didn't have any limits to what we could do musically.  In the end, it somehow made sense.

You’re gifting us a premiere of your new video. Tell us a bit about that. Has it been made by Sean Dack again?

L. Yeah, the fourth piece to the End Scene puzzle has been Sean Dack. Again, another person we've been friends with and inspired by so we approached him with the daunting task of creating videos for each of the album tracks. It was a huge priority to make this a visual album and he delivered above and beyond.
C. Sean's basically part of the band on this project.  In addition to the videos, his design for the album art is also perfectly in tune with our musical direction on End Scene.

What do you think of labels attached to music? Your name has been banded around with the likes of Daniel Avery, Matt Walsh and many others as being part of a ‘scene’ in a recent publication which I won’t name. Do you feel part of any scene per se or are these just boxes created by lazy journalism to put you in?

L. It ties back to our name. We've never felt comfortable within any one scene. We're always looking forward and backwards at the same time. We've been associated with many "scenes" and have good friendships in all but for better or worse will never plant both feet anywhere. It's a great angle for the press to discuss but becomes pretty tiresome when that's the focus.
C. We're influenced and inspired by so many different things around us, but we strive to create something unique.  The result has aligned us with many different "scenes" or styles per se, but never too closely to any of them.  We seem to fit in everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.

Revolting Joks, Killing Jokes, anymore post-punk/industrial band song titles coming our way?

L. RevJo was born on an Optimo dancefloor watching all these bros dancing to Johnnie playing a RevCo tune. Joking Victim was the pinnacle. And I think Killing Jokes was meant to kill the trend.
C. Sometimes we go on tangents. 
L. I'm up for suggestions though… any ideas?

NME cite your remix of Salem in their top 20 ever, whatever that means but congratulations all the same. Whatever happened to Witch House?!  

L. Turn on the radio? I hear it all over pop records…
C.  I don't think most people realize the influence Salem's had on popular music.

What was the first electronic record you ever heard? How did it make you feel?

L. I'm guessing something like Escape from NY or Blade Runner. Was definitely via sci-fi movies on VHS as a kid.
But I'm gonna go with Ambient Works Vol I as the record that made me put down the guitar for awhile. 

C.  I'm not sure what I heard first, but I have early memories of my dad listening to Jon Anderson & Vangelis "The Friends Of Mr Cairo" and having those synthesized melodies in my head all day as a kid.  And, like Linus, creepy sci-fi stuff had a big impact on me growing up.  The early 80's electronic funk that guys like George Clinton and Prince were making also had me obsessed at a very young age.

What was the music of your teenage rebellion?

L. Venom and Michael Hedges.
C. Public Enemy and My Bloody Valentine.

If your sound was a visual thing, what would it look like?

L. Sean Dack pretty much nailed it for the moment.
C. Yeah, couldn't agree more.

First and last record bought?

L. I stole a Slayer cassette based on the cover alone. About to order this Sons of Magdalene album. 

C. My first was the Ghostbusters LP in '84.  .

Recently bought Cheetahs – "The Swan"

Are you a kick drum, hi hat or a snare? And why?

L. Hi hat. Sometimes I'm open, sometimes I'm closed.
C.  Snare. chain up.  Snappy.

What are you obsessed with at the moment?

L. Saharan desert blues and Japanese electro pop from the eighties.
C. Kirin J. Callinan and circuit-bent BOSS guitar stomp boxes.

What's your answer to everything?

L. Yup.
C. Fair enough.

Coffee or Tea?

L. Black Coffee
C. Nespresso

Cats or dogs?

L. White dogs.
C. Both.  Preferably short-haired, as I'm slightly allergic.

Upcoming in the world of Jokers of the Scene? 

L. Developing a live show and more touring hopefully both as a live and dj act.
C.  The wheels never stop turning in the studio, either.  Music will continue to flow.

Anything else we should have discussed but haven’t?

L. Yup.
C. Fair enough.
L. Come to think of it… I want to declare that Commandment #11 of Bill Drummond's 10 Commandments of Making Art is a lifesaver. Our get out of jail free card.

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