What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
Definitial: Like in Goodfellas, “as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an emcee”
Madjim: Like in Pointbreak : « All my goals have been there goals and I haven’t been living my own life. », Keanu Reeves. Halfway through my “regular” kinda life (Salesman, then Technical Recruiter in IT), I woke up at 38YO, divorced, broke and unemployed. Somebody just pressed “reset” I guess? I then realized I could either panic, redo the same, or enjoy the moment and see it as a opportunity to change the game ! That’s when I decided to chase an old teenage dream and start making music again. But focusing all my energy on it this time
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Madjim: Recently, I decided to start producing beats for others (I used to sing/rap until then). In parallel, I follow those cool guys @cymatics.fm on Instagram, they produce quality producer packs ! Got some cool samples from one of their latest pack (Dream), started to shake and bake them all together, sounded way so old school. But I was missing an emcee and I didn’t wanted to rap anymore. So naturally, first name to come to my mind was Def ! I quickly made a backbone, add some choppy vocals to the chorus (that’s my signature), sent it to him. It was 13 years after our last collab’, but “Def Says” was done in a week-end.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
Definitial: Musically: Bob Dylan, Chuck D, Violent Femmes, Tribe Called Quest, Roots Manuva, Task Force, Squeeze, MF Doom
Non Music: Stewart Lee, George Carlin, Wes Anderson, Cold War Steve, Athletico Mince, Akira Toriama,
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
Definitial: The elements of traditional hiphop are all there, like a band has guitar, bass and drums we have the same elements of traditional hiphop, lyrics, beats and phat basslines but what is unique to us is the perspective. We are coming back to hiphop having weathered the storms of life – so rather than promoting individualism and exuberance our take tends to be positivity in the face of adversity and healthy cynicism but wrapped up in music that grabs your emotions and lyrics that hold up a mirror to the listener.
Madjim: I see music as a puzzle. I learn guitar at 30YO, thanks to justinguitar.com ! I know a little music theory and I can strum a few classics. Good enough to write a couple of 4- chords-songs, but that’s it. Luckily, nowadays, with splice, output, soundbetter, etc. we got access to so many other brilliant artists/musicians and loads of samples ! I see an infinity of combination. I search for melodies, for vocals to chop and pitch, anything can be my starting point ! Once I found that main emotional element, I start building the track around it. But choppy vocals. That’s my thing right now. I drop them in most of my songs. It gives a modern touch to our old school vibe.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Def: These change all the time, but as of right now:
Albums- J5 (Jurassic 5), The Specials (the specials), Ghetto Pop Life (Dangermouse & Jemini)
Movies- Stand By Me, Airplane, The Raid
Books- Catch 22, The Caine Mutiny, Batman: The Long Halloween.
Madjim: Albums – Better Together (Jack Johnson), L’école du Micro d’Argent (IAM), and any album of Ed Sheeran, just to annoy Def with it.
Movie : Point Break, La Tour Montparnasse Infernale, The Goonies.
Books : I ain’t got classic that I read all the times. But I am a reader, I like best sellers (like Da Vinci Code for example), business and spiritual books too. So if you have anything good to recommend ?
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
Def: Studio – live is great but creativity happens in the booth.
Madjim: Studio too, I see myself as a “creator”. The stage where nothing exist, blank page, and you have to create something out of it is the best part for me ! But I like live too ! Sharing and receiving…
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
Madjim: Def & I know each other since 2005, we met on Myspace. Using “Myspace” to promote our music in 2020 should be enough to make it funny, right ?
Back then we were making music every weekend ! Gigs, studio sessions etc. We decided we should give our “band” a name, we thought “Pair of Joker” was a good choice ! I remember sitting down in our living room, in Richmond, on a Sunday evening, with Def’s at the turntables. We were like “yes man ! Let’s do a f****** track per week”, and the other one will boast “braaaap bro, let’s do this! ”, “Pair of Joker it is !”, “We’re so good” and “blah blah blah”…
I’m not too sure what happened next and who’s to blame ? Blame me ? blame you ? blame us ? Blame life… women … kids … work … mortgage … issues …
But it’s only in 2020, at almost 40YO that the pair of us re-connected musically and recorded our first official single : “Not Quite Right”, followed by “Def Says” under the name of “Madjim feat. Definitial”.
I guess it’s never too late to become who you should have been ?
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
Madjim: Right now we are promoting “Def Says”, so naturally I am tempted to say this one. It’s fresh & jazzy, it’s proper old school, but those choppy vocals makes it modern at the same time. We were very happy with the result, especially when you know the story behind !
But we have already recorded 10 other tracks since “Def Says”. So surely, time you release that interview we will be on another mood.
Miracle is our next release, and it’s like Def Says “B-side”. Same elements there, but still resulting as something different. Deep & thoughtful.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Def: Release lots of high quality music.
Madjim: As mentioned, we have recorded 10 songs since “Def Says”. At the moment, we are talking about releasing two little EP’s, to start with. We also wants to create cool video content. Not so easy – not even talking about corona virus and quarantine – but for now I am back in South of France and Def lives in London. But we gonna find some solutions, starting with an animated / lyrics video for next single “Blah”
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Are you more “Crunchy” or “Smooth” when it comes to peanut butter ?
Booth are good ! It only and always depends on the mood !
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Madjim:
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/madjimmusic/
Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/madjimmusic