Photo Credit: Brandon Munoz
India-born, Brooklyn-based experimental beatmaker/singer/songwriter and 'The Jazz Diaries' (TJD) founder Jitwam got on a call with OTJF to talk latest release, "Sun After Rain," and the impressive 'Chalo' project he's put together with writer Dhruva Balram. Currently in Sydney to spend time with his family, Jitwam takes us through some of his musical influences, crate-digging exploits, and what he's been up to for the better part of 2020 in Australia.
You were born in India, then raised in Sydney & New Zealand. You did a bit of traveling in between, and now you're making beats in Brooklyn. Can you tell us about some of your noteworthy musical Influences?
My mom used to listen to a lot of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. Back then, I didn't know the names of any of the songs. To me, it was just Indian music. Growing up, I listened to everything from the Spice Girls to TuPac & Biggie, a lot of psychedelic rock. I find that my music is a cultural melting pot. That's really what India is to me as well. All of the Bollywood music that I love is a mish-mash of Spanish guitar, Qawwali rhythms, Psychedelic rock breaks with orchestras. So, I want to continue that legacy of using different sounds and making fusion music.
Do you still have family in Assam?
Yeah, my whole family is there. My mom and dad are in Sydney, but all my cousins are in Tripura, Meghalaya, Assam, and Manipur. I try and make a trip every year.
I'm assuming you shot the music video for Busstop on one of your yearly trips to India.
We shot the video in 2018, and the record came out in 2019.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you and your friends got together and started 'The Jazz Diaries'?
It was me, K.C Vanwright, from Sydney & Nigel Emphiso from London. We started the label in 2014 while I was still in Sydney. Same story as everyone else. I was doing music, and no one wanted to put my record out, so I said, "Fuck it, I’ll put my own record out," and that's how TJD started.