By Karen Maye
A name like Pimps of Joytime seems to automatically conjure up images of a booty-shaking, soul sweating, good time. And that is exactly how frontman Brian J likes it.
Founded in Brooklyn in 2006, Pimp of Joytime formed out of J’s desire to meld all of his musical influences into one great big party which has been grooving strong ever since. In 2008, the Pimps dropped their debut album High Steppin’, followed by their 2011 sophomore release Janxta Funk! The band has released the stand-alone single “Booty Text,” a tribute to the quest for that late night encounter, and they have been hard at work on their third LP, Jukestone Paradise.
“I’m really proud of it,” said the charismatic Brian J during a recent interview with The Marquee. “Hopefully it will be released in March. It’s done, we just finished the artwork, mastering, everything is finally coming together.” (Following this interview, it was reported that the album was slated for an April 7 release).
It stands to reason that since “Booty Text” was released as a vinyl 45, that Jukestone Paradise will be available in vinyl as well. There is definitely a bit of Pimp nostalgia when talking about the vinyl format, and while J didn’t specifically confirm or deny that the new record will be on vinyl, he did admit what a big role the medium has played in his own life.
“Very early on, my dad had a huge vinyl collection” J said. “He had a bunch of 45s from the ’50s and he would lend them to me, a small stack at a time. Chuck Berry, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis. You really listen when you have just twenty 45’s.”
But as a producer himself, J understands the need for other formats, even though vinyl seems to reign supreme in his opinion. “You use MP3’s because you have to. There’s 10 katrillion albums on MP3,” he said. “It’s more special to own things on vinyl. The things I like the most, I want on vinyl.”
The summer of 2014 saw Pimps of Joytime entrenched in the festival circuit as their reputation of an extraordinary party-band continued to expand. What started as a group “playing basement parties down the street” has grown into a headlining act playing over 100 shows a year. As may be expected, the band has been through a lot of “growing pains” over the years. “It’s taken a lot of years to put the band that I have together now, and keep it together,” J said. While some lineup fluctuations happened in the past, the current Pimp lineup, which has swelled from its original trio is J on lead vocals and guitar, vocalists/percussionists Mayteana Morales and Cole Williams, bassist and sampler David Bailis, and drummer John Staten.
J openly explained that while the band has seen some great successes they still, like every band of their size, struggle with maintaining their relationships, money, and making sure that the road isn’t filled with speed bumps along the way. “Bigger bands, they have staff and things run like a well-oiled machine. We have a small staff, but as much as we try to, things don’t always run like a well-oiled machine” he said.
But despite all of the challenges, or maybe because of them, J said that the ongoing experience of the Pimps has really helped to shape him artistically, as well as in ways he would have never expected. “It’s made me more focused” he said. “It’s shaped me more as a person; dealing with all the different people, touring as much as we do, it’s really helped me obtain skills I never really had before. It was something unexpected that I really appreciate — how to be a real leader, and a band leader. There is a lot of balancing going on. But if I were to go on to manage a tech team or something, I’d be way more prepared” he said.
While Pimps of Joytime may have given J skills he didn’t even think of before, it’s also given him the foundation to explore countless styles and genres. With a range of influences drawing from funk, blues, soul and rock, all tied together with a dance groove, J and his cohorts are constantly inventing, writing and crafting new music. But he was quick to point out that even with many years of experience under his belt, the creative process is still a bit of a mystery to him, and that having songs simply reveal themselves to him still doesn’t happen as much as he’d like.
“It’s a pretty random occurrence, actually,” he said. “Sometimes I wake up with something in my head, but there’s no exact science — actually it’s the exact opposite of science.”
PIMPS OF JOYTIME
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