Javelin's Dazed Mixtape

Brooklyn born and bred duo Javelin mix it up for Dazed Digital and talk freely about new album, crap lyrics and playing live

Music Incoming
Photos by Tim Soter
Duos - think High Places, Blondes, Walls and Tanlines - may be everywhere right now, but none have made the shift from the desk to the spotlight as technically brilliant as Javelin, cousins Tom van Buskirk and George Langford. Formed in 2004, they took their love of record collecting and old skool mixtapes to the next level by blending twisted hip hop, oldies, rhythm and blues and running it through a unique boom box soundsystem. Creating constantly surprising songs that are  difficult to attach to any genre or city - despite being from Brooklyn -  they release debut album 'No Mas' on with David Byrne's world music label Luaka Bop this month. Dazed spoke to Tom about how they feel about bridging the gap between band and dj, playing to a kitchen crowd and how the most interesting thing they could do on stage would be to sweat, or bleed.

Dazed Digital: How are you guys doing today?
Tom van Buskirk: Awesome!

DD: Has the 'No Mas' release been awesome, too?
Tom van Buskirk: It's been something like watching your children go out into the world (your songs) and in the process you find out what each one is capable of. This one might be remixed with a Young Money track, this one might be lauded by a dude's blog who is on a sitcom, this one might make someone cry. You find this out once you release things out of your bedroom and into the world.

DD: Do you get fed up of people saying it's a 'sound of the summer'? Was it ever your intention to make a summery album?
Tom van Buskirk: I think that line of description is overused in general, but maybe it does describe what bands are doing, intentionally or not. We do admittedly sometimes make summer jams, but often in the wintertime. We used to make music during the Bush era that didn't make sense until Obama was elected president.  It's just the nature of climates (political and equatorial)

DD: You seem to jump between genres of music. Do you really feel no affiliation to one particular style and sound? Does it change day by day?
Tom van Buskirk: Our friend Johnny who is in this amazing band (currently on hiatus) called the Killer Whales said we were R & B.  I think this might be a good description of most of our forays into genre.

DD: You're avid record collectors, yes? Do you enjoy DJing, too?  What kind of things do you play?
Tom van Buskirk: We like to DJ, mostly in kitchen situations. Low key. I personally like to play old school party stuff (Nu-Shooz, New Edition) and oldies (The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, etc.).

DD: Do those kind of things find their way into your own music? What do you love about sampling?
Tom van Buskirk: We love that there is ubiquitous beautiful material everywhere, and if you make use of it it will take you to aesthetic places you haven't been before.

DD: Is there anything you really hate? Do you think some bands or artists use it as an excuse to be lazy....
Tom van Buskirk: Easy targets are: lyricists who overuse the word "I" "beautiful" or who pronounce vowels like pirates (this, actually, encompasses a lot of music)... the sound of radio over-compressed guitar is definitely ruining commercial music... I can't hate on anyone who I think is being genuine.

DD: Do you prefer it to playing live? We've heard it took you four years to get a set together. Why so long?
Tom van Buskirk: We like playing live. It was a challenge at first but now we kill it, and it kills us.

DD: And now? Do you feel like a 'band'? Would you ever take on other musicians to complete the live setup?
Tom van Buskirk: We never feel like a "band" and hope we never will.  But it is onefantasy to take on live musicians-- my mind immediately goes to the "Expanded" Talking Heads, but first you have to figure out how to be just the regular sized Heads. We'll see what we do.

DD: What's the most exciting thing electronic musicians can do on stage? Do you feel limited by the amount of technology you use?
Tom van Buskirk: Sweat? Bleed? Occasionally I would like to throw technology into a river. But mainly, we love it.

DD: If you could achieve one thing with Javelin in the next year, what would it be?
Tom van Buskirk: Produce a track with ESG (we are playing with them in August).  We are also going to release a bunch of mixtape style materials through our website, dollarbinsofthefuture.com. They are going to rule!

Personal Magic Tracklist:

Tricky Dick- Train Robbers
Dance With You Girl- Jem Targal
Video Life- Chris Spedding
La Sirenita- Unknown
Nuestros Tiempos- El Tim Del Rock (feat. los coros del Grupo Audio)
Can't Love That Woman- Kenneth Higney
Triangulo Dos Biquinis- Erasmo Carlos
Vibrations- 5ºFahrenheit
Smoke and Ride- DJ Screw
We Ah Wi- Javelin
Darly- Tiyiselani Vomaseve

Live gigs:

Fri 21-May-10 Stag & Dagger @ Camp London UK
Sat 22-May-10 Stag & Dagger @ Art School Glasgow UK
Mon 24-May-10 Now Wave @ Deaf Institute Manchester UK
Tue 25-May-10 Bardens Boudoir London UK
Wed 26-May-10 Lets Dance Fetsival Madrid ES
Thu 27-May-10 Paradiso Amsterdam NL
Fri 28-May-10 Paradise Antwerp BE
Sat 29-May-10 La Flèche d’Or Paris FR
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