Interview with Jenova 7

Photo courtesy of Jenova 7 Last.fm bio

I sat down during lunch break from my “real job” to have a phone call with Michael Sirois, aka “Jenova 7” to discuss his music.  Jenova 7 is (among many other things) a trip-hop artist originally from Boston area, but recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue his career in film and music.  I came into contact with him on the social music website Turntable.fm in one of the chillout rooms.  I really enjoyed the trip-hop tracks he played and wondered just who this artist Jenova 7 was when the artist name came up.  When he told me they were his own, I just had to talk to him and find out more.

One of the questions I usually start off with is “What influences your music?” Sirois said he was heavily influenced by DJ Shadow and also liked Jimi Hendrix and DJ Cam.  I definitely heard the influence of DJ Shadow and DJ Cam as well as some Smoke City in his music.

Since he is a filmmaker and has a heavy interest in film, he said draws a lot of inspiration for his music from films.  He mentioned his favorite one is “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” because the soundtrack was very avant-garde or experimental for its time. He also (along with me) loves film noir and jazz.  He says film noir is great because it did/does a great job of showing violent themes without actually showing the violence on camera (mentioned the word diegesis specifically), making it more of a psychological intensity.

Later I asked what he was listening to right now.  He said he was so busy working on other things that he did not have much time to listen to anything else at the moment.  He did say that he had checked out DJ Shadow’s latest effort “The Less You Know, The Better.”

I asked him what he was currently working on and he first mentioned a full length album was in the works.  It is tentatively titled- “The Sounds of Sector 7” and is scheduled for release in a few months.  It should have “around eighteen tracks” and he actually started working on it before his latest EP “Dusted Jazz Volume 1” was released.  “Dusted Jazz…” is up as a free download on his Bandcamp site.  It is really a great chillout album in that he has some great downtempo beats.  He also uses some great jazz instrumentation.  Audiophiles will also enjoy it as he uses a lot of samples and integrates them well with the beats.  You can also pre-order the upcoming album on the same Bandcamp site here and with your order you can download five tracks immediately.  Finall

He also had just received an email the morning we talked about a record label interested in having him do an EP for them, so he was excited about that. Finally, he said he was working with a rapper he had met through Turntable.fm and they had been putting some music together as well.  So when I asked what he was listening to, he really wasn’t lying when he said he didn’t have much time to listen to other things.  He has a lot of irons in the fire!

It really amazes me how one website (Turntable.fm) could end up actually producing some great new acts just through social networking and the love of music.  I think there’s a good chance it stays around for a while, or at least until someone else comes up with a better format for DJ’ing to a virtual “crowd.”  I feel fortunate to have bumped into Michael on Turntable and look forward to exploring for more awesome new music and finding more people to connect with.

Keep chillin’

-Chris