Artist: JJ Soul Band

 

Song Title: That Kinda Man

 

Album Title: Bright Lights (2008)

 

Genre: Blues(con)fusion, Funk, Samba

 

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JJ Soul Band

Pop/jazz/funk/blues and whatnot performed by an Icelandic band fronted by UK vocalist/songwriter/lyricist JJ Soul.
When living in Iceland for a brief period (‘93-‘97), JJ met songwriter Ingvi Thor Kormaksson and soon they began writing music together.

In 1994 they made their first CD, ‘Hungry for News’, with JJ Soul Band and in 1997, ‘City Life’. On both CDs the music is many-sided; Blues, R&B, Fusion, Rock, Pop and Latin, sometimes all in one (blues-confusion?). – JJ Soul Band mainly served as a vehicle for the songwriting team. The third CD was ‘Reach for the Sky’ (2002) and finally there was “Bright Lights” in 2008.

 

 

Latin Faculty

LATIN FACULTY – LATÍNUDEILDIN (2012) –

Reverbnation
One album. Nine vocalists perform on the album. The musicians include Jóhann Ásmundsson (of Mezzoforte) on bass who also engineered and mixed the album, Einar Scheving on drums, Vignir Thor Stefáns on kbs., Edvard Lárusson (of JJ Soul Band) on guitar, Birkir Freyr Matthíasson on trumpet and Stefán S. Stefánsson on saxophones who also produced the music.

 

THE COMPOSER:
Ingvi Thor Kormaksson is a native Icelander and has occupied himself with songwriting for the past 30 years or so and has to this day 12 albums to his credit. Altogether; he has had more than 150 of his compositions recorded by various Icelandic artists. He writes mainly in the AC (adult contemporary) genre, but jazzy chord progressions and bossanova rhythms are often featured in his music. Folk music traditions and blues can also be heard.

Collaborating with JJ Soul from Oxford, Ingvi has written music for JJ Soul Band’s 4 albums (see JJ Soul Band on Facebook, Reverbnation and MySpace).

LYRICIST JJ Soul is from Oxford, UK; artist, art teacher, singer, songwriter, lyricist, author of books.

 

 

Share your life story with us.

Ingvi: Icelandic. Used to play keyboards in dance and rock bands. Turned to songwriting around 1990.

 

JJ: Played in blues, jazz and rock bands in UK as a drummer. Was more and more asked to do the vocals, and when he moved to Iceland in 1992, became the vocalist/lyricist for JJ Soul Band, a group that stopped performing in 2005, but had only occasionally performed live because JJ had moved back to Oxford in 1997.

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Share your press release and reviews with us.

 

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“When I started playing the tracks I was very impressed by how smooth they sounded.” – Gulf Coast Music Review

 

 

“These guys from Iceland and that one guy from the UK really know how to put out a first class album that is both fun and sophisticated at the same time.”

Andrea Guy – ReviewYou

 

 

“With a stellar band and instrumentalists at hand, the boys from Iceland execute nicely.” – Ross Christopher – Awaken Music

 

 

“Excellent musicianship, fine arrangements, impeachable mixing …” – Dagbjartur Gunnar Ludviksson – Monitor

 

 

“… seldom heard more talented musicians gathered on one album… ” – Harold van Dorth – Bobtje’s Blues

 

 

“Good entertainment. JJ’s vocals are nice and warm. Blues and jazz flavoured music with a swing. Well written music and lyrics. This one will appeal to all those who like thoughtful and sophisticated music.” – Arni Matthiasson – Morgunbladid

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Narrate your experience while recording in the studio or while touring. 

Usually a lot of fun in the studio. Sometimes there were tight arrangements, and sometimes the sessions were more or less improvised.

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Discuss your songwriting.

Ingvi: Since my teenage years I’ve admired the music of Brazil; Jobim, Bonfá, Lins and many more composers, and all the wonderful vocalists. Bossanova and samba rhythms have been featured on my albums, even in the more blues or folk oriented ones. Finally I decided to write music for an album that would showcase Latin music only (Latin Faculty). There are two or three salsa songs on that album, but mostly the music nods towards Brazil and could also be categorized as AC or smooth-jazz.” (Ingvi). – As for JJ Soul Band’s 4 releases, they are blues oriented but leaning a bit towards jazz, fusion and funk.

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Elaborate on your future projects.

Occasional single songs, and perhaps a smooth-jazz album in 2018, with saxophone player and arranger Stefan S. Stefansson (who produced the Latin Faculty album, and has also appeared on JJ Soul Band’s albums) –

Reverbnation

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Tell us what you are doing to increase your fan base.

Not much these days.

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Tell us that point in time you wanted to give up on your music career.  

I studied library science and have always worked as a librarian along with being a musician/songwriter. I have often thought: to hell with it… (The music, I mean).

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Go into detail on how you make your instrumentation or melody.

I have often written music to existing poetry or lyrics, so the atmosphere and build-up of the text has much to do with where I go with the music. When writing I am mostly entertaining myself, and I do whatever I like. I am not writing pop music, although I have written straight (and strict) pop songs, so there are no rules. I like to include some surprises, and I sometimes use quite complex chord structures. I also compose Instrumentals / Smooth-Jazz.

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Tell us your complete understanding of music licensing.  

When dealing with publishers, all agreements I sign are non-exclusive, which means I keep on being the owner of all masters. The publishers and other music providers have my consent to license the music to other companies…or I do it myself without the help of others.

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Tell us your favourite genre of music.

The music of Brazil (all of it), Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock, The British Invasion: Animals, Kinks, Beatles, etc.

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Tell us the theme of most of your songs.

They vary.

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Elaborate on this song.

The subject Of “That Kinda Man” is a philanderer, the kind of guy that consistently has to make excuses for his bad behaviour, sometimes on his knees. It’s a medium fast, bluesy funk number.

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Discuss digital distribution and streaming.

It’s a new and different world, but not so bad for the independent songwriter.

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Tell us numerous ways that artists can boost their revenue.

I’m not good at this. I don’t bother much with social media nowadays. I have 70 songs with one publisher (non-exclusive), and a few with other publishers; tracks with lyrics in English or instrumental tracks. The other hundred or so songs I’ve recorded have Icelandic lyrics, and therefore only cater to the Icelandic public via record stores (obsolete?) or Icelandic National Radio.

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Tell us your opinion on self-training and enrolling in an educational institution to study music. 

I studied drumming as a young boy, and then as teenager started some piano lessons. At sixteen I studied jazz harmonics with Arni Scheving, the best jazz vibe-player of Iceland, and that got me going so I could play in bands as a keyboardist. In my late twenties I studied harmonics for one year at the Reykjavik Jazz Conservatory. That’s all, the rest was acquired by listening and playing.

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Go on at length on what it takes to write a hit song.

I am not into writing hit songs, although I did check out pop-songwriting at a time and have written a few songs that in the pop-category and some entered the Icelandic Eurovision finals. But the verse, chorus-verse, bridge-chorus or A-A-B-A approach to writing hits/songs has changed and I have no inclination to write modern pop stuff. I’ve recently worked a bit with DJ Intr0beats (House – Soundcloud, the sessions will probably be out on a British label later this year.

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.

JJ Soul Band refers to UK vocalist/lyricist/composer, John J. Soul.

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State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.

“Bright Lights” refers to track #7 on the album.

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