Tag: Brainfeeder

New Audio: Wajatta (Reggie Watts and John Tejada) Team Up with March Adstrum on a Euphoric House Banger

Deriving their name as an amalgamation of its members’ last names, Wajatta (pronounced wa-HA-ta) is an electronic music duo that features acclaimed comedian/musician Reggie Watts and electronic music artist, producer and DJ John Tejada.

Watts first burst into the scene as the co-host of IFC’s groundbreaking variety series Comedy Bang! Bang! As a solo performer, he has honed a unique style that blurs the lines between music and comedy that’s heavily reliant on improvisation — most notably, the multi-layered music tracks built on the fly with looped beatboxed rhythms and soulful vocals. The acclaimed comedian and musician has done a TED Talk, multiple comedy specials for both Comedy Central and Netflix, and recorded Reggie Watts Live at Third Man Records at the invitation of Jack White.

Famously, Watts was the bandleader for CBS’s The Late Late Show With James Corden.

Tejada has been at the forefront of the West Coast techno scene since 1994, prolifically releasing a series of acclaimed albums, singles and EPs through labels like Kompakt, Poker Flat, Cocoon, PlugResearch, and his own label, Palette Recordings.

Tejada also is one-half of electronic duo Optometry with March Adstrum. The pair released their debut EP After-Image earlier this year.

With the release of 2018’s Casual High Technology and 2020’s Don’t Let Get You Down, which was released through Flying Lotus‘ Briainfeeder, the duo established a sound that they describe broadly as “electronic dance music with its roots in Detroit techno, Chicago house, ’70s funk and New York hip-hop.” 

2021’s Do You Even Care Anymore EP encompassed an evolution of the duo’s sound and approach. “It has developed into something a bit deeper,” Tejada said in press notes. ““While our process and Reggie’s vocal improvisation work is still the same when we record, there’s just something new that we settled into this time. The music and the lyrics got a bit deeper.”

The duo’s newest EP Waiting For The Get Down is slated for Thursday release through their longtime label home Brainfeeder. The EP’s latest single “Again And Again” feat. March Adstrum is a sultry and euphoric house-inspired banger built around a pulsating and punchy 4/4 beat, glistening and arpeggiated synths and Watts’ soulful delivery inviting the listener to a much-needed good time, to celebrate existence, get lost in a hypnotic groove and dance.

“‘Again And Again’ came out of me bringing a sketch of it to one of our live shows and just playing it in the set to see how Reggie would respond,” Tejada explains. “This is a fairly normal way of starting tracks, just to be in the moment and to try something that Reggie has never heard before. That moment created a great vibe and was perhaps the highlight of the whole show, so we quickly got it recorded and dialed in the rest.”

Jose James is a Minneapolis, MN-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who has spent his career bouncing around genres and styles at will: he spent a decade reshaping jazz with the genre-blurring verve of a crate-digging beat guru — and while receiving accolades for his early work, became a solo R&B star. Interestingly, after spending the past couple of years recording and touring with Bill Withers‘ legendary songbook for the Lean on Me project, the critically applauded singer/songwriter guitarist and producer returns to his own original work with the forthcoming release of the highly-anticipated No Beginning No End 2, the follow up — and sequel — to his critically applauded 2013 effort, No Beginning No End, an effort that featured a crowd-pleasing eclecticism.

Of course several things have changed since the release of No Beginning No End. The highly-anticipated follow up and sequel is James’ first release on his own Rainbow Blonde Records, an independent record label, multi-disciplinary collective and open-spirited community founded by Talia Billig, Brian Bender and James on a few simple principles:

  • it’s run by artists for artists,
  • it’s a one-stop shop with a superstar in-house crew,
  • music is culture — not product
  • none of it works if you’re not having fun doing it

Deeply inspired by Janelle Monae‘s Wondaland Arts Society,Flying LotusBrainfeeder and Solange’s Saint Heron, Rainbow Blonde is space designed to allow artists to be creative without feeling inundated or pressured by the confines of big business. As for the album’s material, it features an eclectic and impressive cast of collaborators including Laura Mvula, Aloe Blacc, Ledisi, Lizz Wright, Erik Truffaz, Hindi Zahra and more paired with a backing band which featured Brett Williams, Kris Bowers, and Takeshi Ohbayashi playing keys; Marcus Machado, Alan Hampton and album co-producer Brian Bender playing guitar; Ben williams on bass; Quetzal‘s Alberto Lopez. Reportedly, the end result is some of the warmest and most defined material James has written and released — that also manages to draw on the Afro-Latin tinged sounds of 70s soul.

Late last year, I wrote about No Beginning No End 2‘s first single, the strutting “Turn Me Up.” Featuring a guest spot from Aloe Blacc, the track was centered round a warm, classic soul-inspired arrangement twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line, copious amount of congo, twinkling and arpeggiated keys, funky bursts of guitar and an infectious hook. Interestingly, while balancing ambitious songwriting and deliberate attention to craft while nodding at Simply Bill-era Bill Withers, Heatwave, Stevie Wonder and others. “You Know What It Do,” No Beginning No End 2‘s second and latest single is a mischievous and joyful strut, centered around strummed acoustic guitar, a sinuous bass line and an infectious hook. And much like its predecessor, the song finds James and his backing band balancing craft with a free-flowing, jam-like vibe.

James will be embarking on a tour to build up buzz and then support No Beginning No End 2 and the tour includes a March 25, 2020 stop at Bowery Ballroom. Check out the tour dates below.

Tour Dates
2/12: Tokyo, JP @ Billboard Live
2/14: Osaka, JP @ Billboard Live
3/21: Denver, CO @ Dazzle Jazz
3/22: Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room
3/25: New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
3/27: Washington, DC @ The Hamilton Live
5/7: Evanston, IL @ SPACE
5/8-9: Minneapolis, MN @ Dakota