Interview with Jeremiah Jae

jeremiahjaeJeremiah Jae recently signed with Warp Records and released his debut mini-EP series with them, Dirty Collections EP. Previous to that, Jae had been signed to Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder where he worked on a couple solo projects and with the likes of Azizi Gibson, in which he produced their collaborative effort Ignorant Prayers. Even prior to that, he was working his crew and affiliates, like Oliver the 2nd, on projects like RawHyde and Black Jungle Radio. If you’re just tuning into Jeremiah Jae, it may seem like a lot, but, it’s definitely not too late to hop on the producer-on-the-mic’s catalog and get to listening. From projects with his crew Black Jungle Squad (Oliver the 2nd, IsReal, Eugene Snow, and others) and affiliate crew Young Black Preachers, to working side-by-side with underground artists like Jonwayne, Jae has had a very productive 2013. We got a chance to ask him questions about his inspirations, Black Jungle Squad, working with Azizi Gibson, and more.

Where did the name Jeremiah Jae come from?

From 06′ to 08′ I was making beats and rapping under the name Jae R. I put up beats on myspace and dropped a couple mixtapes online, but I wanted to take what I was doing to another level, and also change my name. My real name is Jeremy, but my parents told me they were going to name me Jeremiah and changed their minds at the last minute. In the bible, Jeremiah was a messenger and received visions from God. I resonated with that and thought to put the Jeremiah in front of Jae.

What first got you into producing music and writing raps?

Just being inspired by the people around me growing up, and dope music, art, and films. I had a lot of family and friends making music and art around me my whole life. I spent a lot of time playing around and just having fun creating shit.

What’s your current setup as a producer?

Right now I’m using a computer, Sp-404, an old yamaha keyboard, and a record player. I’ve used live guitars, flutes, and other instruments as well in recordings. I’ve always had a pretty minimal setup but it works for me.

What is Black Jungle Squad and who’s apart of it?

Black Jungle Squad is a collective originated in Chicago, consisting of some of my family and friends I grew up with and have been making music with over the years. There’s my first cousin’s, Oliver the 2nd (Rapper/Producer) IsReal (Rapper), and Eugene Snow (Guitarist/Rapper) from California. And friend’s K – Embry (Rapper/Producer), Young Black Preachers member Tre aka Dirty Sinatra (Rapper/Producer), Beans Da Poet (Rapper/Producer), F.A.B.L.E (Rapper/Producer), Lew Barnez (Rapper/Producer), and original YBP member Projeck (Producer), who passed away in 2009, from Chicago. And Black Box Theory (Rapper/Singer/Producer) from Boston. There are other affiliates and artist that we collaborate with too. Its really about artists getting together and showcasing raw talent and creativity, and building a platform for our work. We got together under that umbrella through spending a lot of time making music at Tre and Projeck’s house, nicknamed the Smoke House on the south side, and meeting new artist as we spread out.

Who do you like to work with most out of this bunch and what was your personal favorite collaborative creation with these guys?

Everybody has their own individual style when it comes to making music and we each bring something different to the table. I don’t really have a personal favorite, but almost every session I’ve had with Tre of YBP has been really dope and mind expanding. I say the same about Oliver the 2nd and working on projects with him. I collaborated with K – Embry on one of his projects coming soon that sounds crazy as fuck. We all like to collaborate whenever when we can.

Can we expect to see a collaborative project from all of the members of Black Jungle Squad?

There definitely is a Black Jungle Squad album in the works. Everybody in the squad raps and so it’ll be a Wu-Tang type of album. It’s been a little slow to build that kind of project though, since we are all spread out at the moment. We still have a lot of unreleased music at the smokehouse we are gonna start putting out soon. Tracks will probably surface next year for a BJS project.

When we interviewed Azizi Gibson, he told us you gave him a CD full of beats which eventually became Ignorant Prayers. What was the process behind choosing and making these beats for him and should we still be expecting an Ignorant Prayers 2?

I met Azizi shortly after he got signed to Brainfeeder, and one of the first things I heard from him was a free style he recorded to one of my beats, which actually ended up on I.P. I hadn’t really been producing for other people that much but it was something i wanted to do more of. And Z told me he was in need of some beats for a mixtape at the time, so i gave him a CD with a bunch of older beats, I forgot how many but it was a lot! At first I thought he would pick a couple to rap over, but he started sending me full songs back really quickly. Almost used every beat on the cd. I made a couple new ones once we decided i’d produce it all. We still want to do I.P 2, we just have to get in the lab again and start building more. It will be worth the wait.

Speaking of Azizi, how was it like being apart of Flying Lotus’ family at Brainfeeder? What’s the difference between being with Brainfeeder and being signed with Warp Records?

Its been a blessing to be apart of that, and develop creative relationships with different artist. I was a fan of that label before I got signed, and there’s so many dope artist on that I’ve been inspired by. Although they differ in how they function, both labels have classic catalogs provided by great artist that push boundaries in different genres. I’m happy to be apart of both platforms.

Bad Jokes was a step up on both production and rapping compared to Raw Money Raps, in my opinion. How do you feel these two projects relate and differ?

The idea for making Raw Money Raps actually came from listening to Ariel Pink‘s Haunted Graffiti album “Hollywood Cemetery”. I really fell in love with that weird lofi sound, and thought about making a rap album that was intentionally off beat and trippy to listen to. I wanted it to sound like a hip hop album dipped in acid, and really bug people out. Its called Raw Money Raps, but its more of a commentary on rap and how I felt at the time. For Bad Jokes I wanted to focus more on the raps, as well as the production. I try to progress and get better with each project I do. I think you can hear me growing and trying new things in all the mixtapes I’ve put out after RMR. I consider ‘Black Jungle Radio’ and ‘Rawhyde’ to be just as important as official label releases, because of the work and time I put into everything. And if you haven’t heard those two projects, your in a deep sleep, haha. I want to be like Stanley Kubrick and get better with each project, but keep the honesty and experimentation in tack. Im really just having fun.

You just dropped the Dirty Collections EP series, which consisted of three volumes. What’s the background to this project and what’s the concept behind the cartoonish artwork?

Sometimes I’ll name a project something before I even start working on it. I didn’t know what I wanted the dirty collections to be but I knew I wanted it to be a bunch of unreleased music and stuff that didn’t make the album. Its really meant to be a collectors item. Something for the fans to hold and see some original art. There may be more volumes that come out because I still have a lot of unreleased shit I wanna something with. The art I created for came from my love of cartoons like The Simpson’s and Looney Tunes. It’s like a psychedelic version of that. There is really no meaning behind the art but I just wanted people to be able to look at it and try to figure out what it meant, let your imagination tell the story.

Oliver the 2nd just dropped The Kill Off EP and you produced and mixed the nine-track project. What was the creative process of this project from his and your standpoint?

I love working with Oliver. We are family and share the love of similar music together. After we worked together on ‘Rawhyde’, another collaborations of ours, he decided he wanted to do an EP soon after. He already had the concept in mind and wanted me to help shape it together. We were both inspired by trap music at the time and wanted to make something that had that kind of energy, and something that would work really well live yet also something you could chill out and listen to. He really inspired me with his lyrics, and he also makes crazy beats, but wanted to just focus on the vocals this time around. The next Oliver the 2nd project will probably be self produced, and for good reasons.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your work besides from music? And do you plan on working on anything outside of music like film or art?

I’ve been making art all my life. Drawings paintings graphic design and even some film work to in high school. I’ve always considered myself as just an artist. Im not a musician, not a rapper or a producer but an artist. That’s the way I see it and definitely will be crossing over into other mediums. I get bored easily from doing one thing and I’ve always like to multitask. I’ve been working on a book of original artwork I want to release sometime next year, and possibly get some art shows together and display some larger scale pieces. I’m really inspired by what Teebs, from Brainfeeder, has been doing with his art. It’s inspiring to see him make great music and also make great art at the same time. There will still be a lot of new music to come, always, but there will be some art work soon enough.

What does 2014 hold for Jeremiah Jae?

I just want to try to out do myself and keep pushing the envelope. Reach out to artist I’ve always wanted to work with. There will definitely be new Black Jungle Squad music, new Jeremiah Jae mixtapes, a debut album from Black Daffi and Lord Raja. A new JJ album. And a Black Jungle Squad album with all of us rapping on it. I’d just say stay tuned. I still feel like it’s just the beginning for me and the squad.

Follow Jeremiah Jae on Twitter to stay up to date with him and his upcoming projects. Check out some of his latest work here and here and here.