Interview: Jimmy Century
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
What got me into music initially was being an only child and spending all my time singing and acting out rock concerts in my room. If I hadn’t gotten into music I’d probably be doing voice over full time instead of once in a while like I do now. What got Victor into music was replacing his cousin’s bass player out of necessity when the previous bassist went to jail. And if he hadn’t gotten into music, he’d be doing film/documentary production.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When not playing music, Victor and I both like to do comedy videos with various character duos we’ve created. That encourages our creativity since we started creating those alter egos to promote our songs - it pushes us to improvise and think fast on our feet. Plus we love to travel to exotic places and film in those locations, walking around new eclectic towns in character the entire day and interacting with the locals - making them laugh and smile.
How long has music been your career?
Music has been our career for over 20 years now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Las Vegas now and are originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Being from the Bay Area rooted our music in a love of cool grooves, noir film feel, funky style, art and the avant garde and moving to Vegas expanded our love of incorporating more kitsch and comedy into our music and delivery.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Some of the best shows we played early on in our career were with Gaga during Pride festivals. And more recently our Fatale Originale production shows in Las Vegas have been our favorite shows because we put together our favorite local talent and develop a Quentin Tarantino type atmosphere with the layout. The worst shows we’ve played are anytime there’s been a poisonously bad PA haha.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The Copa Room behind the Bootlegger in Las Vegas was home to our Fatale Originale show and is still one of our favorite venues. A few of our favorite venues from early on were the DNA in SF and The Palms in Las Vegas. A few venues we’d love to play that we haven’t yet are Area 15, Downtown Event Center in Las Vegas.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If we could play any show with any lineup it would be Prince and Bowie, but if they were too busy doing angelic good deeds then it could be The Floozies, The Time, St Vincent. Also, Bruno Mars and his whole 70s vibe now, we would love to be a part of that. We love the retro mixed with the new and a lineup of bands from the past with modern bands putting a spin on that sound would be so cool. We also fit with 80s bands because of the quirky, loose, fun nature of it all. We love all audiences, so any ticket is always exciting to us.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Some advice we would give to someone starting out would be to start a YouTube channel and think up new twists on how to monetize your social media. Don’t chase gatekeepers. There IS a gate, but it’s your gate and you already have the key.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
If we went back in time and could give ourselves some advice it would be the same advice we’d give to anyone else…start a YouTube channel, monetize, don’t chase gatekeepers and again remember there IS a gate, but it’s your gate and you have the key.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Hot Sahara is the song that means the most, it was really the song that started everything on the upswing for FOJC with a cool sync placement in The L Word when our act first debuted. It kept us going moneywise many times when we were down and out. It’s our survival song :).
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My favorite songs to perform are Hot Sahara, Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go vs Love TKO, Best of My Generation, All My Friends Are Ice Queens, and our cover of Under the Milky Way. Hot Sahara still gets requested a lot along with Wake Me Up and Best of My Generation. Our cover of Purple Rain is Vic’s favorite to play, along with Ghosts of Paradise acoustic version and Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go vs Love TKO.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
Our inspiration for writing lots of times comes from briefs that we get for specific film syncs - when we’re given a description or a genre we need to write in, it’s a great challenge. Process-wise the first thing I start with is a song title and then I keep writing the words until it’s a theme I care about. Then I can take the words into the studio and put them to Victor’s music, finding the melody. Or Victor will come up with several pieces of music in his studio and I’ll sit there with him and just listen. That music will eventually sound like “something” and I’ll sit there and write lyrics before a melody is created. When I first started writing music, I used to write melody first and just say nonsensical things - it was a lot harder that way to backtrack and find words phonetically that sounded like what I was saying lol.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
The messages we like to get across in our music are….hmmmm…..Sex, drugs, rock n roll. I mean we don’t do drugs anymore and we’re not really rock n roll, but that’s the sentiment. Live with nothing to lose, don’t take things so seriously, and remember who you are.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
We have discussions now more than disagreements. If one of us doesn’t like a song we have a ton of new song ideas we can move toward instead. Don’t wanna waste time with a song that one of us doesn’t like since there are only 2 of us. And if we start disagreeing, then it escalates and we lose a day or two when we could have worked it out and kept writing. Neither one of us are particularly good at de-escalating so it’s best to keep it from happening in the first place.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our plans for the future are producing our Fatale Originale re-launch here in Las Vegas and beginning to take it on the road soon. Also…touring, both as a duo doing smaller noir-style trip hop or looper gigs on up to big productions like Fatale. A new album is coming that’s more fuktronica-based and we have a musical in our heads that needs to take shape. As far as something we’d like to spotlight, Netflix just let us know that they’re featuring our song “Va Va Voom to the Moon” in their Top 10 show "Emily in Paris." That was a great New Year’s surprise. Fans of Jimmy Century have had great luck with syncs but it’s been about a year now, so it’s great to get back into the sync universe again.
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