These young jazz up-starts from Canada are bringing elements of hip-hop to the genre. How's it working out for them?
Based: Toronto, Canada
Listen to: 2012's BBNG2 Record
For Fans Of: Flying Lotus, Captain Murphy
Directly below a selection of their most recent tracks, Toronto group BADBADNOTGOOD (capitals are necessary, as per) state quite clearly: "No one above the age of 21 was involved in the making of this album." The three-piece - pianist Matt Tavares, bassist Chester Stone Hansen, and drummer Alex Sowinski - are a group of guys who have grown up, learnt their trade, without help - as far as we know – from anybody whatsoever. A jazz style infects their sound, like it's a constant gaze over their experimental craft, but there aren't any rules here. The three-piece often sound more like a hip-hop group than a jazz trio, picking apart convention like it's a sorry excuse to pigeonhole bands. Which it is. But to see a group so young doing this with such aplomb is a really big deal. It's as if they were born to be different.
They've collaborated with the focal point of hip-hop collective Odd Future, Tyler, The Creator in a track that's racked up nearly a million views on Youtube. They play house parties, bringing their punchy, bold sound to the shaking walls of youngsters everywhere. They represent youth in its purest form. It's the kind of music that gets kids excited, as well as making the average jaw drop if you're simply sitting at home hoping to listen to something peaceful and unflinching. Trust us when we say you'll be hearing about BADBADNOTGOOD for years to come, be it via headline festival slots or just in the mutterings about culture, when it "used to be exciting." People might bemoan that creativity's hit its stunted level. They're just not looking in the right places.
It's easy to dismiss these guys simply on the basis that a lot of what they perform is covers from other musicians. But when you've got the techno floor-filler of James Blake's 'CMYK' being reinterpreted into a fluorescent, interpretative jazz track, you have to take notice. Blake's 'Limit To Your Love' (which itself is a cover of singer Feist's original), is stripped of vocals. The bassline acts as a voice, placing itself in the midst of skittering, high-motion percussion.
These guys are smart too. In a recent video for their 'UVM' track, the members sit on a sofa, appearing to nonchalantly munch into a bowl of cereal. What you don't initially notice is that for every guy that arrives into the scene, a new instrument enters the fray of the song itself. Ok, it's not the musical equivalent of calculus, but it's pretty exciting, right? Of their two records to date, 'BBNG' and 'BBNG2', you've the sense that you're only getting an initial glimpse of a project that's going to keep going onwards and upwards, taking off into completely uncharted territory. All under 21, it's not difficult to envisage these guys taking on the world.