I sat down a few weeks ago with Jamie Carls, Joey Fitzpatrick, and Kerry Baines of JJM, Jamie, Joey, and the Movement. These three talented young men, passionate about their band and their music, shared with me how and when they began their musical journeys, what inspires them, how the songwriting and production process of their musical creations work, and where they are headed in the future.
The first thing that I did when I started this interview was to listen to some of the selections from their new recording, “The Lift”. The song,” Golden”, is about a beautiful girl who exudes sunlight from her hair, her face, her fingers and her feet, hence the title, inspired by a real person. We started talking about the music video. They already have the female actor picked out to portray this Golden girl. The song is great. I’m sure that the video will do it justice. As far as the writing, Joey gets credit for the melody and chord progression, Jamie the bridge and chorus, and Kerry the lyrics for the rap. (He is The Movement). I really liked “Be Alright”, an upbeat, feel -good song for people who had a rough week.
Kerry and Jamie both attended Hume Fogg High School. Joey has always been home schooled. They met when participating in a program, Jam Band. It is free and sponsored by Metro Parks. After the bands are put together, concerts are held at Loobe Library at the Metro Center. Their first band together, “Bravado”, Spanish for false courage, was together for two years.
Over the two years that Jamie, Joey, and Kerry have performed and created together, they have completed two full-length recordings, all originals. I asked them about the inspiration for their songs. Not to my surprise, most of them are about the opposite sex and being jilted by them. To quote, Kerry stated that the inspiration for the last song on their first recording “I’ll Be There”, destroyed him. In fact all 16 of the first recording’s selections were about a love gone wrong.
Growing up in a family where his Dad played piano and his Grandpa played guitar, Jamie started taking piano lessons when he was four years old. While participating in Jam Band when he was in eighth grade, he turned his attention toward playing bass and guitar. However, from the age of 15 until now, he has refocused on the keyboard, and it has become his primary instrument for songwriting and performing. Jamie loves R and B and pop music. Some of his idols include Justin Timberlake, Usher, Bianca, and Jared Leto of the 30 Seconds to Mars band. The inspiration for many of JJM’s selections comes from Drake, a concert-rapper, “King of Rap”, the biggest rap artist of all time, selling over 25 million copies. Jamie’s keyboard stylings, his occasional guitar rifting, and his vocals are an integral part of JJM’s sound. When asked about his thoughts on JJM and where it’s headed, he stated: “This band is my passion, my Dream Job, my lifelong career. Of the songs on the soon-to-be released album, these selections are his favorite: Golden, Super Hero, and Wicked.
Kerry started playing drums when he was six or seven. When he was in 6th grade, he became part of the percussion section in the band. Kerry played drums throughout school till his senior year. Because his parents had high expectations of his GPA, Kerry was grounded many times for receiving B’s on some of his assignments and tests. It was during these times of isolation, that he stood in front of mirror and learned robotics dance and various break dancing moves. The film, “You Got Served”, written and directed by Chris Stokes, gave Kerry ideas and inspiration for his distinct dancing style, enhancing the performance of the lyrics that he so skillfully and articulately sets to a rap beat. As to be expected, Kelly’s favorite musical genres are Rap and R and B. This was kind of a shocker to me, though. He likes acoustic music; Indie stuff like Yeasayer, an American psychedelic pop band from Brooklyn New York, Tune-Yards, the music project of New Englander Merrill Garbus, “Tallest Man on Earth” who is Kristian Matsson, a 29-year-old songwriter from Dalamar, Sweden, and “Bon Iver”, an American folk band founded in 2007 by Indie folk singer-songwriter Justin Vernon. . He likes the musical performance style of “Childish Gambino”, rap geniuses who used to be lawyers and bankers, using the medium of Rap to tell their stories from childhood to now. He is inspired by the character of Batman , that his parents died to save Him. As stated earlier, Kerry’s parents want him to pursue his education, not music. He feels that sometimes, just like Batman, he is a rebel who does things just because others don’t want him to. Kelly now attends Centre College in Danville, KY, a small liberal arts college where he will major in biology or metaphysics. When I asked Kerry about how he feels about JJM, he stated that he liked the direction that the band is taking and that it too is his passion.
At 7 or 8 years of age, Joey’s Dad bought a cheap piano and secured a teacher because he wanted his children to learn music. When he was 11 years old, Joey became interested in acoustic guitar, and as he grew older, became more interested. On his 14th birthday, Joey got an electric guitar with amplifier. Being homeschooled, Joey was able to devote many hours to his craft. His creative contributions are a “gift” to the band. In fact, 12 of the guitar tracks on the new album are his creations. His performance tracks give JJM the distinct cool sound that sets them apart. When I asked Joey who was his inspiration, he said that it was his mom that was the driving force who pushed him and totally believed in him. Joey is also an NBA fan and stated that Jabel McGee, who plays for Denver Nuggets, also inspires him. Despite the fact that McGee always seems to make stupid mistakes and is many times completely ridiculed, he makes as many great moves as those that are questionable and, watching him play, Joey can see that he’s not afraid to take chances. This is very important in the songwriting process.
When asked about their songwriting ventures, Jamie, Joey, and Kelly shared with me that there is first a moment of Inspiration, which is the foundation of the song. When fully developed, the music written becomes part of an imaginative show and/ or music video. Synthesized keyboard, drums and guitar tracks are then recorded and then Kelly writes the rap to go with it. Strings and various instruments are notated and added to the live performance.
And it is in this live performance that JJM does just that: comes alive. First of all a live drummer, Weston Jordan, is added to the mix; changing the whole feel from recording where an electronic drum track is used. Drum Machines are great for radio play and clubs, but shows need to be special. That is why when you attend one of JJM’s concerts, Jamie, Joey, and Kerry will not be the only ones on stage. Many other musicians and singers will be added to the mix. There is also a feeling of liquidity as the songs connect and flow, drawing the audience in to this musical experience.
Jamie, Joey and the Movement, JJM, will be debuting their new album, The Rise on September 22nd at 7 p.m. at Sozo’s, the Youth House of Belmont Church, 68 Music Square, Nashville. This Album release at Sozo’s will also feature Flying Colours, Lazar, Lazar, and Stripes. There is usually just a five dollar charge at the door, and believe me, it is a concert you do not want to miss. This band touts positive music and honest lyrics, and their target audience is everyone.
Check out Jamie, Joey and the Movement on Facebook. You can hear selections from their new recording, The Rise, and the Link for Jam Band: www.nashville.gov/parks/docs/music.