“Jaw Gems conjure the aesthetic of Flying Lotus….creating rich, neo-soul tapestries…[Their] keyboard lines roll butter-thick harmonies [and] wrapped snugly around them are shimmering synthesizers, classic Moog timbres, and trebly, swishing rhythms and high hats.” – EARMILK
Jaw Gems, an electronic outfit from Portland, Maine, is a collective of young, experimental producers bringing beat-music – traditionally programmed and played on samplers – to a live band setting. The mesmerizing result is a harmonic convergence.
Combine legendary beat-makers like J Dilla and Flying Lotus with indie rock and electronic icons like Deerhunter and Washed Out, then add Radiohead’s dreamy ambience and you begin to approach the sound of Jaw Gems. Electronic musician, Daedelus, says “Jaw Gems have done the magic trick of delivering a thoroughly listenable instrumental album that you can also sing along to.”
“Dilla is the common thread for how we all met and began playing together,” says keyboardist Hassan Muhammad. “Not many people in Portland knew about him seven years ago, so through various friends we were all pointed out to each other and we were blessed with the opportunity to hold a weekly residency at a bar, playing all the stuff we liked and getting increasingly weird.”
Since their start in 2009, the band has been exploring sonic and rhythmic ideas that emphasize interlaced melodies and heavy grooves. First outfitted solely with dueling vintage synthesizers, a drummer, and an electric bassist, Jaw Gems have now incorporated a Roland sp404 and the Juno 106 analog synth, going on to employ the beat- repeating, sample-warping technologies of the present to help create their wall of sound. Armed with new gear, Jaw Gems were able to evolve their beats, trigger intricate samples, and alter sounds in an increasingly advanced way. “You can do so much with these devices, and we all have our own ways of using them,” says bassist Andrew Scherzer.
“In August of 2016, Jaw Gems delivered their second album, HEATWEAVER, via STS9’s 1320 Records. The 14-tracks create a thickly layered transcendental auditory world – a meticulously crafted collection grounded in a modern electronic aesthetic. HEATWEAVER melds neck-breaking, hip-hop synthesizers and nostalgic atmospheres, while simultaneously touching on elements of psychedelic funk, neo-soul, and punk rock.” Jaw Gems likes to keep their recording process relaxed to allow for creative diversity.
Setting up shop in a makeshift home studio, the band hunkers down and lets their songs come to life. Put four beatmakers in a room together for a week, and the outpouring of ideas could be endless. “As we develop as individual musicians each of our sounds morph and evolve in different ways, so when we come together to record we all bring something new to build upon,” says drummer DJ Moore. “Our creative process is never the same,” says keyboardist and sampler Tyler Quist. “On HEATWEAVER, we let some of our beats stay in a more bedroom beat format, and others we revamped to sound a lot more live.” In this case, Jaw Gems was left with a solid compilation attesting to their evolution as tenacious genre-bending producers.
Now, after catching the attention of acclaimed Alpha Pup Records, Jaw Gems will re-release HEATWEAVER on the label this September, with additional remixes of every track. This re-release will feature flips from T3 (Slum Village), Daedelus, Brady Watt (Talib Kweli/DJ Premier), THE GRID (Jon Cleary Band), Break Science, Russ Liquid Test, and more. Expect Jaw Gems’ next full-length album on Alpha Pup Records in the coming months, as well.
In addition to national tours, and landing their dream record deal, other recent Jaw Gems’ highlights include shared stages with icons such as My Morning Jacket, Flying Lotus at L.A’s legendary Low End Theory (his first appearance at the famed L.A. beat scene event in years), STS9, Lettuce, and many more.
Visit JAWGEMS.COM to join their mailing list and stay in the loop about upcoming tour dates.