John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis
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John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis

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Aug
27
John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis @ Decibel Festival

Seattle, Washington, USA

Seattle, Washington, USA

Aug
24
John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis @ La Dolce Vita

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Detroit, Michigan, USA

Aug
21
John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis @ Bar Smith

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Phoenix, Arizona, USA

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Music

Press


“Anyone that doesn't feel like dancing to this one shouldn't be on a dance floor.”
MARC MAC (4 HERO)

“A gem of a record”
CHARLIE DARK (ATTICA BLUES)

”Amazing stuff, really original and the depth sound is superb.”
ATJAZZ

”Love the album...its all dope”
SEIJI (BUGZ IN THE ATTIC)

“Ellis' freewheeling freestyle approach to music, especially live performances, has left many jaws on the ground, as he moves effortlessly from playing keyboards to singing to triggering beats and percussion while pumping out a sleek, stylish blend”
DETROIT FREE PRESS

”A boldly ambitious move for a sinfully talented musician.”
BPM MAGAZINE

"Detroit's broken beat Stevie Wonder"
LEMONADE

”Reminiscent of later Herbie Hancock, circa Thrust, there is something new around every corner”
VISION

“Absolutely breathtaking”
THEME

"It's very nice... lovin the vibe."
ROB DA BANK (BBC RADIO 1)

”Collaborating with the likes of John Arnold and Amp Fiddler, and counting Jazzanova and Gilles Peterson among his fans, Ayro [aka Jeremy Ellis] is the Detroit soul man of the moment.”
FLAVORPILL

Coolhunting.com video of John Arnold & Jeremy Ellis. Witness the freestyle mini-movie! Click here to read more and watch the video


STOP PRESS: Jeremy Ellis “The Lotus Blooms” is the #1 most added RPM album in it’s first week at radio!

Detroit-based Jeremy Ellis moved to Puerto Rico to create an album marrying traditional Bomba and Plena rhythms with Detroit-schooled dance music. After three months, the keyboard maestro and golden-toned vocalist discovered that the living in Puerto Rico ain’t so easy. On his way home he lost two computers, all of his recordings, half of his recording advance, and his passport (and possibly part of his mind). Fortunately, Ellis returned in one piece with the musical knowledge and resolve to create “The Lotus Blooms,” an album of insatiable future funk grounded in Detroit and peppered with a Puerto-Rican persuasion.

From his retake on the traditional Puerto Rican song “Cortano A Elena” to the broken beat driven song “These Passing Days” the Puerto Rican influences vary in strength. Heavy Latin vibes can be found in “Bombakiss” and the montuno of the opening track “Take Your Time” (check also the harder remixed version which can be found as bonus cut #17). There is also plenty of room for more Detroit-styled outings. His near 10 minute epic “Callelunakarma” jumps from hip hop to broken to house to future jazz fusion and back to hip hop again while the track which gave birth to the album title “Lotusblooms” blurs the line between boogie-tune, house and broken beat.

“At one point I felt like I was being arrogant to try and learn everything about Puerto Rican music in just 2-3 months. But once I was back in Detroit the sound just naturally occurred, the influences and everything I’d learned came back to me,” explains Ellis. “The most striking event was the San Sebastian Street festival. I’ll never forget feeling the energy of thousands of people dancing together and seeing bomba groups making music as a direct interchange between dancer and musician,” he adds.

This is only the second album for Jeremy Ellis (his first for Ubiquity) and yet he has already appeared on albums, remixes, and tracks by Jazzanova, Roy Davis Jr, Carl Craig, John Beltran, John Arnold, Recloose and many more. His tracks have appeared on compilations by Gilles Peterson, Dixon and Alex Attias. Dropping down somewhere between Bugz In The Attic and Kerrier District, Jazzanova and Metro Area, Ellis balances jazz licks with Detroit bounce, future beats and classic soul.

Ellis’ one-man show capabilities are not limited to the studio - on-stage he has developed a unique, energetic, and infectious solo show that is the opposite of the one-man laptop bore. Energetically working every piece of machinery on stage, he seamlessly creates a live show by engineering tracks from scratch, mixing them into new songs, and remixing his and other peoples tunes. He has coined the term freestyle or freestyle electronic to describe this improvised clash of playing, programming, and singing.

“It was a natural evolution for me as I’m not a DJ and I wanted to make the next big step to make really live electronic music. Its difficult to cram so much music in and to sound fluid like a DJ set would, but that’s what the challenge of freestyle is about,” explains Ellis. “Previously I would create rough ideas in the week or two before the gig and explore them live on the night. From the Omoa Records Christmas Party that I had to perform at in 2002 onwards, I’ve done it all freestyle - I’ve improved and tweeked the set so that I can flow freely from track to track and really make it live. To do this I’ve moved drum sounds into easier places to play off the MPC, and then I’ve organized keyboard sounds so I can access stuff off of my Waldorf microQ,” he explains. “I’ve realized that the process needs to be as fluid and intuitive as - Ubiquity Records


"When I make music, I feel like it's coming from my soul. It's a gift. I'm pretty much the doorway for a greater purpose, so the more music I write, it's just something else speaking through me, and the more knowledge I learned, the more eloquent my voice was, the more I could express that gift," John Arnold, Detroit 2002.

Detroit resident John Arnold is currently working on a full-length album for Ubiquity, channeling his eclectic musical influences in a forward thinking electronic style and collaborating with peers from the motor city. Multi-talented Mr. Arnold is equally happy playing guitar with his acoustic jazz combo Blackman & Arnold or, as a club DJ, spinning jazz, broken, techno and house, or in the studio making beats. His interest in music started early on. He took piano classes before his tenth birthday but eventually grew bored as he discovered rock 'n' roll and, like most young kids, fantasized about being in a band.

After a brief stint with a drum kit Arnold took up the guitar in his teens and this became his primary instrument. "I loved everything, but I think at first, like a lot of young kids, I was really into rock 'n' roll music," he recalls. When his parents gave him his first album, a copy of Stevie Wonder's 1970s opus "Songs In The Key Of Life," Arnold was introduced to world of soul music. "As I got older, I had started discovering different music - I really started to like jazz, funk music and world music." Arnold may have majored in jazz studies at Michigan's Wayne State University but, as a hip-hop head (and aspiring breakdancer), he'd long been curious about electronic production - ever since hearing Herbie Hancock's "Rockit" as a pre-teen. "I think that's when I first started to get a real interest in the electronic sound, and I've always tried to make a connection with what I do now and my childhood. I remember even when I was doing heavy metal and rock I was using drum machines to make tracks. It wasn't necessarily for the dance club, but it was experimental music that involved drum machines."

The precocious instrumentalist was laying down his own compositions as early as 13. "I think I peaked at 16 or 17," he jokes. "Sometimes I break out the old tapes that I used to do when I was a kid and it's tremendous!" In 1996 Arnold formed the band Jazzhead and began to acquaint himself with Detroit's electronic fraternity. "My whole vision with the group was to really try and emulate what DJs were doing, but do it live. We'd bring in a lot of the great DJs in town who'd play with us before - Alton Miller came, DJ Bone... All the Detroit guys would come through and play and it'd be a great experience, 'cause we'd have this jazz band and then we'd have the DJs as well, so it was a really well-rounded educational thing about music, but people dug it 'cause it was dance music as well."

In this way Arnold met future supporters - Carl Craig, who invited him to perform his first-ever live electronic gig at the inaugural Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF), and Derrick May, who picked up his Sparkle EP for Transmat Records' sister label, Fragile. In 2002 Arnold released a second Transmat EP titled "Four Minutes?" and a new 12" single on Ubiquity records called "We're Not." Meanwhile, Arnold has lent his talents to others - jamming on John Beltran's "Aztec Girl," which was licensed by British drum 'n' bass innovator LTJ Bukem for Good Looking's Earth 4 compilation, and on records by the Detroit Escalator Co and Recloose. Arnold is also a member of the "world music" five-piece Blackman & Arnold. "It's a lot of different world music sounds. It's all acoustic. We do Brazilian music, Afro-Cuban music and Latin music, and all in a jazz setting, and so it's highly improvisational, but it's really cool."

Within electronic music circles formally trained artists often struggle to reconcile their academic backgrounds and the unconventional DIY ethos of club culture, yet Arnold's education has expanded, not limited, his imagination. "When I make music, I feel like it's coming from my soul. It's a gift. I'm pretty much the doorway for a greater purpose, so the more music I write, it's just something else speaking through me, and the more knowledge I learned, the more eloquent my voice was, the more I could express that gift."

This outlook forms the basis of Arnold's progressive manifesto. "I'm very interested in making tracks that can easily be played in the dance club and that people can dance to, but I want to use that as a tool to express different ideas that people might not necessarily be trying in terms of different harmonic ideas and time signatures and rhythmic ideas - like maybe using 7/4 as opposed to four-on-the-floor all the time or doing 15/4 or just doing different ideas, so almost educating people to another level of music, but doing that in a way so it's still a party and everybody is dancing." - Ubiquity Records


Sounds From The City
Dwele + John Arnold + Big Tone

Detroit: the original home of Motown, the birthplace of techno and the point of conception for many other legendary movements in music. Our long musical history bred from a hardcore working class environment and a poverty-stricken economy has pumped out some of the most amazing music in recording history. With each generation comes a new breed of Detroit musicians who take this tradition to a whole new level. Recently, Real Detroit Weekly sat down with three of today’s most talented urban artists representing various realms of Detroit music: John Arnold, Big Tone and Dwele. Our discussion focused on how the different facets of urban music are represented in Detroit and how they all come together.

As a guitarist, producer and DJ, John Arnold represents the eclectic sounds of Detroit’s electronic music scene. With the release of 2003’s Neighborhood Science and his new album Style And Pattern, Arnold comes with a funky yet soulful broken beat sound highly influenced by his surroundings. As Arnold explains about his perception of the electronic music scene in Detroit:

“Growing up in Detroit, you are exposed to so many different people and I think it’s all really connected. We all do things in a similar way and have the similar perspective because we’ve been brought up here on soul and Detroit hip-hop and all the hot shit that came from Detroit. And all these guys are still around and these are my mentors. I can actually hang with these motherfuckers still. I can hang with Derrick May. I can hang with Larry Fratangelo. And that’s amazing. I don’t know any place that has that where all these amazing motherfuckers are right here for you, and we are all coming from the same tradition.”

Growing up on the west side of Detroit, Big Tone is a pure MC incorporating that gritty street-soul sound into our hip-hop scene. As a member of the group Wasted Youth, along with the new release of his solo album The Drought on ABB Records, Big Tone’s experiences and upbringing in Detroit are evident in his music. “It’s kind of wild that so many different cultures are attached to Detroit in terms of the people and where they come from,” Big Tone says of the scene’s influences. “I think a lot of that plays into a melting pot for the culture. In terms of what I came up listening to, [it] was everything from East Coast to West Coast. I’ll listen to anything from E-40 to Boogie Down Productions and pick up those influences. A lot of the stuff we do is derived from funk, jazz, East Coast hip-hop and the whole G-Funk era and it’s made for a weird twist. Creatively, we have cats taking so much that it makes its own sound.”

As a throwback to past generations of Detroit music, Dwele is that smooth R&B vocalist bringing soul music back to its roots. From his early demo recordings like Rize up to his new album Some Kinda…, Dwele was educated from a young age by everyone around him about all the different forms of soul music. “I think soul music right now is an offshoot of soul music of the past,” he says. “I think our fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, all of them grew up playing music, playing instruments and singing as well because back in the day that is what Detroit was known for. If you came up in Detroit, you had some part of that. And because of that, we grow up on soul music. Our parents kept soul music in our homes, so it’s burned into our soul.”

With the long history that Detroit represents in regards to hip-hop, soul and electronic music, the city has increasingly become a breeding ground for our artists. The music touches the hearts and souls of people all across the world. In New York, LA, Toronto, London, Germany and Japan, Detroit artists are treated with the utmost respect and appreciation.

When asked why Detroit music is felt so much worldwide, Arnold says: “Detroit, to me, is a tough motherfucker and it comes out in the music. I don’t know any other place in the world where it’s so real. Where if you are not keeping it real, people will let you know. It’s hard living here. And to actually take the step to do music is tough because you might need to work 60 hours a week, and then what time do you have after that? So I think when people hear the music, it’s the top-notch shit. You feel the soul and the struggle of the city in the music.”

While internationally, many of our artists can continue to make a living off touring, it’s here in Detroit that they hone their skills. It’s a crazy melting pot of all sorts of different influences. To get the full effect of Detroit music, one would need to experience all the different scenes. Go to places like Northern Lights Lounge on a Tuesday night where DJ House Shoes spins hip-hop along with old school pop, funk, jazz and soul. Go to Corktown Tavern each month for Dorkwave’s Les Infants Terribles dance parties. Go to Oslo, where you can hear anything from old school soul music from DJ Dez to techno from the likes - Real Detroit Weekly


Ubiquity dropped one space to second in this year’s Worldwide Awards but they certainly put up a fight to try and keep their top spot.

In addition to the Platinum Pied Pipers’ Triple P (ironically coming third in the Album Of The Year section), they released John Arnold’s ‘new’ sound.

I’d like to know where Style & Pattern did come in album of the year category as it included one stonker of a percussion-based house tune with Paul Randolph belting out the chorus. Perhaps including ‘Rise Up’ on a 12” and on the HVW8 Compilation stole some of it’s thunder but Mark de Clive-Lowe described it as, “a very strong tune” and if Mark de Clive-Lowe is playing it, you know it’s good. But don’t skip over the opening title track on which Ninja Tune’s Ty appears with some characteristically upbeat quirky lyrical rap; not many in hip hop can get away with including a line about a cheese sandwich.

Funk groover ‘Geminade’ is featured on his ‘myspace’ site (see links below) and ‘Suppadupe’ is a modern take on The Brothers Johnson / Headhunters sound with a touch of ‘Starksy & Hutch’ theme.

Pathe Jassi is from Senegal and appears on the part-broken-bollywood-ragga of ‘Jangal’ whilst ‘Cabin Fever’ is more firmly in the Bugz In The Attic studio Efx box of tricks. Arnold has appeared all over the world including the broken Mecca at Co-op. In fact, ‘La Cocina’ was ‘created’ at Co-Op and has a very Latin-jazz feel to it (apparently finished late at an impromptu studio session after a gig in Puerto Rico!) Similarly, ‘Show Your Love’ is a little broken but is augmented with acoustic Spanish guitar.

Helping John develop as a live artist has been label-mate and Detroit neighbour, Jeremy Ellis (aka Ayro), who has been described as “Detroit’s broken beat Stevie Wonder”. Ellis appeared on Carl Craig’s seminal album, The Detroit Experiment and features on ‘Show Your Love’ and the jazz-funky ‘Separately Together’.

In addition to DJing, Arnold has been in Amp Fiddler’s band (as has vocalist Paul Randolph) and he’s also played with Detroit ‘Vibes From The Tribe’ legends Phil Ranelin (Build An Ark) and Wendell Harrison. Harrison and Randolph guest on the street funking, ‘1234’.

I’ve been carrying around this CD for a couple of months now and it’s getting a beat up look about it. Time to get the vinyl version but check it includes the bonus remixes of ‘Inside’ by Henrik ‘Chicago’ Schwartz’s and another Ninja Tune guest, the irrepressible Mr. Scruff on the disco-Afrobeat-funk groove.

Impro was all the rage back in August on Worldwide as John and Jeremy were in session showcasing the album (Schwartz was on the Peterson show the week after with an improvised ‘laptop’ mix). Back to John and Jeremy, they have developed a live “non-stop electronic show to bridge the gap between DJ and producer.” By performing and creating tracks ‘freestyle’ live, Style and Pattern has been test-run on the dance floor in front of some of the most knowledgeable crowds for the past two years. The wait was worth it and Arnold and his collaborators have produced a strong multi-dimensional album that’s of the highest Ubiquity standard.

John is also a busy remixer and I’ll be getting to grips with his dub version of Mojo Projects’, ‘In My Life’ soon but if you’re at a New Year’s Party this year without ‘Rise Up’, get it on the decks when you get home. Party anthem.

Reviewed: John Arnold - Style and Pattern Ubiquity (URCD/LP180)
CD / 2LP - Release Date: October 11, 2005
Tracklisting
1. Style and Pattern (Nuff Version) feat. Ty
2. Geminade
3. Rise Up feat. Paul Randolph
4. La Cocina
5. Suppadupe
6. Jangal feat. Pathe Jassi
7. Cabin Fever
8. Show Your Love feat. Jeremy Ellis
9. Separately Together
10. 1234 feat. Paul Randolph
11. Inside feat. Malik Alston (Mr. Scruff remix)
12. Inside feat. Malik Alston (Henrik Schwarz Remix)

Links:
Ubquity Records www.ubiquityrecords.com
John Arnold on myspace
Platinum Pied Pipers - ‘Triple P’ @ www.therecordroom.co.uk VY LPx2 / £9.75 : The Platinum Pied Pipers are a two-man dynamic musical duo with an essential new twist on modern hip hop and soul. Producers Waajeed (a founding member of Slum Village) and musical sidekick Saadiq have their fresh-faced approach to music on their debut album, “Triple P”
Gilles Peterson : Tracklisting 21/08/05 : Jeremy Ellis & John Arnold In Session
16) Jeremy Ellis - Freestyle 1 “Drop it like it’s Popcorn” (Live in Session)
17) John Arnold - ‘La Cocina’ (Ubiquity)
18) Jeremy Ellis - ‘Cortaron a Elena’ (Ubiquity)
19) John Arnold - ‘Jangal’ (Ubiquity)
20) Jeremy Ellis - Freestyle 2 ‘Dilla Report’ (Live in Session)
22) John Arnold feat. Ty - ‘Style and Pattern’ (Nuff Version) (Ubiquity)
23) Jeremy Ellis - Freestyle 3 “A Brown Supreme” (Live in Session)
24) John Arnold - ‘Geminade’ (Ubiquity)
25) Jeremy Ellis - Freestyle 4 ‘Drums and Horn Hits- Fingerstyle’ (Live in Session)
Gilles Peterson : Tracklisting 03/06/04 : John Arnold - ‘Inside’ ( - Gerry Hectic


Discography

John Arnold Style And Pattern CD, Promo Ubiquity Records 2005
John Arnold Style And Pattern 2xLP Ubiquity Records 2005
John Arnold Style And Pattern CD, Album Ubiquity Records 2005
John Arnold Style And Pattern 12" Ubiquity Records 2005
Jeremy Ellis The Lotus Blooms 2xLP Ubiquity Records 2005
Jeremy Ellis The Lotus Blooms CD, Album Ubiquity Records 2005
Jeremy Ellis Lotus / Bomba Kiss 12" Ubiquity Records 2004
John Arnold Anaconda 12" Ubiquity Records 2003
John Arnold Get Yourself Together 12" Ubiquity Records 2003
John Arnold Neighborhood Science 2xLP Ubiquity Records 2003
John Arnold Neighborhood Science CD Ubiquity Records 2003
John Arnold 4 Minutes? 12" Transmat Records 2002
John Arnold 4 Minutes? 12" W/Lbl Transmat Records 2002
John Arnold We're Not 12" Ubiquity Record 2002
John Arnold Universal Mind 12" Fragile Records 2000
John Arnold Universal Mind 12" W/Lbl Fragile Records 2000

Photos

Bio

Jeremy ‘Ayro’ Ellis

Living in Detroit meant it was almost inevitable that Jeremy Ellis would discover soul music. With soul music constantly on the radio and a desire to be musically creative, Jeremy Ellis, aka Ayro, is a classically trained musician who has become one of Detroit’s freshest makers of electronic soul music. Known for his live act with John Arnold, Jeremy stands out as an energetic multi-talented musician and performer who has been dubbed as ‘Detroit’s broken beat Stevie Wonder’ – part of a mind-blowing live freestyle act not to be missed! Future Soul Records welcomes Jeremy Ellis to the label! First up from him and John Arnold is the infectious ‘Nightlife’ track. The track allows Jeremy and John to unite and utilize their musical skills – with impressive results!

Jeremy has the ability to mix up an array of eclectic music styles whether he is DJing, producing, programming or playing keys. After a successful debut with ‘ElectronicLoveFunk’, Jeremy went on to remix artists including Jazzanova and Modern Groove Assembly, and added vocals to club anthems by Roy Davis Jr. and John Beltran. He produced his highly praised ‘Lotus Blooms’ album in 2005 after an inspirational trip to Puerto Rico. The sound of West London has also been highly influential to him. Interestingly, he had not heard the West London broken beat sound but discovered it whilst experimenting: “I decided to cut up the beat a little bit and everyone said ‘this sounds like that West London shit’. I hadn’t heard it, it just independently happened. While I am massively influenced by the West London sound, I believe we are all getting our main inspiration from soul, jazz, and latin music of the past."

As well as places, Jeremy draws inspiration from everyday events and gigs: “My biggest inspiration is experience. [An event] is an experience and for the next week, I’ll make tracks inspired by the energy.” He is grateful for today’s technology which allows him to connect with other artists around the world. “We can hop on i-Chat and drop our new track to a friend in Tokyo or in London and they can give feedback immediately. Or you can send a track and have someone add to it…The possibilities are massive.”

Whilst he is full of praise for the future when it comes to technology, the future of the mainstream music industry is something he has concerns about. “To have a big hit record, the record label spends $1 million in the first six weeks and if that artist doesn’t sell [enough] copies they’re cancelled. 40 years ago the first album may not sell that well but [the label] would keep spending money on you and build you as an artist. But right now they’d drop you. In a lot of ways, that’s why we chose not to go major label route.” A major label’s loss is certainly Future Soul Record’s gain! Listen out for more goodness from Jeremy Ellis on this label!

John Arnold

Fellow Detroit resident, John Arnold, met Jeremy when he was invited to go and listen to him perform in a funk band… “I met Jeremy when I was 17 and my buddy said to me ‘listen to this funk band’ and this red [haired] Irish kid was playing the funkiest music and I was like ‘my God!’ Musically, we’re on the same level and we push each other...”

After studying music theory, multi-instrumentalist John went on to perform as part of acoustic jazz set-up, Blackman & Arnold, and has also performed as part of Amp Fiddler’s band and was invited to perform live at the Detroit Electronic Music Festival in 2000 by one of Detroit’s best known producers, Carl Craig. John believes that the struggle to survive and the long winter months in Detroit are one of the reasons so much musical talent has emerged from the city. “There’s so much of a struggle there; you have to be creative or you’ll die. Everybody’s broke and they need the excitement of music.” John has released singles and remixes on labels including Transmat and has produced two albums for Ubiquity Records. Plus, of course, he is well known for his unique live performances alongside Jeremy…

Having worked together for a number of years, John and Jeremy feel they complement each other musically because they each play different instruments – John plays the guitar and Jeremy plays keyboards – and they are both musically trained, and jazz trained and continue to practice together regularly.

Surprisingly, until now, John and Jeremy had played on each other’s music but had never combined their talents… For Future Soul Records, John and Jeremy have replayed Barney Blair Perry’s ‘Nightlife’ track note for note. The original tune was a huge club hit for The Blackbyrds member when it was released in the late 70’s. John explains how this choice of track about: “Mike Greenleaf brought us together and wanted us to make an album together. He chose the track Nightlife, he thought it would be the perfect track for us and it really was because of the keys, the vocals, the guitar – we did everything together on it and it