Salmon Jack
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Salmon Jack

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF

London, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Hip Hop Acoustic

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAZwxL6wjm4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EX6kg4OFiM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTCDkEKpP_A

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt6dCy6Qcs0

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Bio

One stormy night back in ye olde 2009, some friends were sitting in a pub, joking about cliched expressions. By the end of the weekend, they’d written a song called “Plenty More Fish in the Sea”, about a fish-monger trying to cheer up his heart-broken mate by discussing the relative merits of getting intimate with different types of fish.

“I’d love to love a lobster, screaming like she’s steaming” gets the offended reply, “Woah! Now that’s a violation! Nobody in the nation would tap a crustacean!”

A boat-load of fish-puns later, and a new comedy-rap band was formed: Salmon Jack.

The following week was University College London’s annual film festival, so the band decided to enter with a video for the song. Less than 48 hours after starting to film the video in Billingsgate Fish Market and the London Aquarium, the finished video had won three awards, including “Best Film”, and “Best Song” for that debut single. Delirious from lack of sleep, the band were coaxed into an impromptu live performance of the track.

Salmon Jack’s front-men, whose names (coincidentally?) are Sam and Jack, were spurred on by the incredible response to the song, both at the festival and on YouTube. They immediately set to work on the follow-up.

Sat in Jack’s kitchen listening to their favourite Jurassic 5 song “Concrete Schoolyard”, they both started laughing when one rapper delivers the line “I’m all about the beat and the lyrics”. Surely, they wondered, if you were “all about the lyrics”, you wouldn’t write a lyric like “I’m all about the lyrics”?

They realised how many rappers just rap about how good they are at rapping. “One For The Back-Catalogue” was born. Taking the Jay-Z approach to boasting, the song plays like a musical CV, an ode to their fictitious previous work alternating between bigging themselves up (“Michael Jackson heard our rhymes and he went white”) and recounting accolades won (“9 Grammys! Twice platinum!”), before acknowledging that they haven’t had an original thought since their first album.

“Made a mil, moved to L.A., and now I chill / Haven’t shot a man in years, I wake up, and have a chill / Have a sleep, have a swim, eat some dill, have a chill / When it’s time to write a lyric, we boast, then have a chill!”

Two more songs completed the debut EP. “Cats vs. Dogs”, an epic rap battle about which is a better pet, went viral on YouTube, scoring 20,000 hits upon its video release. The song takes the form of a spoof news broadcast debating the issue, with members of the public interviewed on the street giving talking-head sound-bites with rhythm and rhyme. It was praised by established hip-hop critic Bill Nighy, after band-member Salvatore turned a chance encounter with the actor in a cafe into an iPhone-assisted screening. By all reports, Nighy forgot he had headphones on and laughed much too loudly throughout.

The final music video also went viral. “A Beat With A Bite” tells the story of a dentist who is shocked to discover his rap-star patient has perfect teeth, despite a terrible diet. His secret? “Spitting rhymes” twice daily beats bacteria back.

“When I’m spitting spit is hitting the inside of my enamel / It enables all the syllables to detoxify my jowel”

In September the band played their first live gig, at The Boogaloo in North London. Re-arranging the songs into sunny folk-reggae numbers, they performed them as a live soundtrack in sync with the videos, which were projected onto a screen behind them. A review called them “the best opening act ever”, and by their next gig, at The Good Ship in Kilburn, they’d moved to the middle of the line-up, playing to a packed-out crowd. By their fourth gig, they were headlining the night at Soho-venue The Spice of Life.

Salmon Jack are made up of Sam Baron, Jack Miller, Chuk Ikeh, Salvatore St. Croix, Moses Kim and Raphael von Blumenthal. They have big plans for 2011: a national tour, and the release of their first album. For now, their debut EP and all four music videos are available online for free (just google “Salmon Jack”).