wanderlust aspen: 5 minutes with headliners Jurassic 5
posted: July 3, 2014
It’s been eight years since we heard new sounds from the hip-hop collective Jurassic 5, but the boys, who have been making music together since 1993, certainly know how to come back with a bang. Their new single “The Way We Do It” not only prominently samples one of the most famous White Stripes tracks (“Doorbell”), but the late, great producer Heavy D is behind the beat. Add to that some rad tour dates that include Coachella, Glastonbury and Wanderlust Aspen-Snowmass. We grabbed five minutes with Soup to ask him how it feels to be back and what we can expect from the band at Wanderlust.
Kate MacLennan: This isn’t the first time J5 has played Wanderlust. Does the group have a specific connection to yoga?
Soup: Yoga’s something that I probably would do eventually, but I don’t know what’s the immediate connection. I guess people see our Zen-like aura and then they automatically think, ‘Oh, those are yoga dawgs.’ [laughs]
Kate: Does playing Wanderlust differ from other shows you play?
Soup: You know what? What we do is not different because it’s our job. It all depends on the crowd and how they relate to us when we come up and do what we do. For us we always come with the mission of giving 110 per cent, so if the crowd feeds off of it, it makes it even better. To me no show has holds any precedent over other shows, it’s just people and how they connect with you.
Kate: How does it feel to be into a two-decade long experiment with your sound?
Soup: It’s great! This journey started in someone’s home, this started in our bedrooms doing what we thought was creative. So to be able to have people who still enjoy that, that’s a blessing. I never thought we would travel the world…. When we started we just wanted to do a song that sounded good. We didn’t know it would lead to all this, so it’s a great thing.
Kate: How is the track “The Way We Do It” similar to or how does it differ from the sound and lyrics your fans know and love you for?
Soup: It was done at a time when we were actually rollin’, doing our thing. It’s a classic J5 sound, and you know, the people that know us they’ll appreciate that now. As far as the younger generation, it may not be their cup of tea, but you know, we gotta stay true to who we are. You’re supposed to tweak it a little bit so it can stay relevant, but this song is just something that the late, great Heavy D was able to produce. It’s from Jack White, so we were like look, hey, let’s put this out because we didn’t have opportunity to do it when we first did it, so, now we have that opportunity.
Kate: What was it like working with Heavy D? He’s such a legend.
Soup: Great. Great! No, I’m serious. It was great. I remember when we were in the studio and he had music and we were doing songs and they really wasn’t connectin’. I remember they really wasn’t connectin’. I remember him sayin’ something to the effect that… he called, and he was like “I think I finally got it. I think I got something that you guys will really be able to use to showcase your talents.” And he came with that beat. And when we heard it we were like, “Oh, man, this is incredible.” Heavy was a really, really good guy. Really easy to talk to, didn’t give you any weird vibe, we didn’t feel uncomfortable around him, he made everybody feel at home.
Kate: Have you wanted to release this track for a long time?
Soup: We didn’t talk about it. When we first did it we just really liked it and we really wanted to be able to give it out to the people, but it just didn’t happen like that. Then when we had the opportunity to do it we were like, this is great. And we didn’t really care what people thought because it meant a lot to us, you know. We wanted to do it for the memory of Heavy D as well as for us. So we didn’t really care what the consensus was going to be on it, we just wanted to put it out because it’s a great song regardless. How old you may think it sounds or how new, it’s just a great song.
Kate: It’s funny to hear you say “we didn’t care what people thought” because I feel like that’s something you don’t really have to worry about. As a group you have incredible charisma. Where does that come from?
Soup: It’s just how we grew up. It’s funny, it’s rare that you can find six totally different people, six totally different backgrounds, maybe some similarities here and there, but to be able to connect and get together and have the same agenda when it came to doing the music and being creative. You don’t find that a lot. So we were able to do that and that comes from the way we were raised. We were raised to respect people, treat people how you want to be treated, and I know it’s cliché sounding, but it’s pretty much that cut-and-dry. Plus my father wouldn’t allow it. I would have been slapped in the mouth. See I came form an era where you could still catch a beating and nobody called the child protective services. [laughs]
Kate: You’re off to Glastonbury next, yes?
Soup: Yep, that’s not a first, not at all. We’ve done it before and we’re eager to go back and do what we do. I mean, it’s a blessing. People may not feel we’re relevant, but it has to be something for us to be able to do Coachella and Glastonbury and places that, I guess, the relevant people are being invited to—and here we are, too. I mean, we must’ve done something right.
Kate: At lululemon we ask everybody: what’s your favourite way to sweat?
Soup: Let me tell you this: in this group I’m the king of sweating. I wake up and sweat. So I’m going to say the best way to sweat sweat is when I’m on stage. That’s the safest answer. [laughs]
Kate: Thanks for your time, Soup. Any last words?
Soup: It’s been a 20-year career making music. That’s something we didn’t think we’d be able to do; we didn’t look at it like that. We just wanted to go out and make music and make a song that we thought was cool. So we appreciate it and thank everybody that supports us.
There are still lots of stops left on the Wanderlust 2014 circuit. Go, expecting the unexpected.
Kate is a writer, editor and fast-talker (literally), who thinks that life is profoundly better when she’s outside—especially when there’s a board beneath her feet. Join her on the ride on Twitter and Instagram.