Producer and multi-instrumentalist Joe F Newman released his debut album as J-Felix, ‘101 Reasons’, on Tru Thoughts in June 2015. Receiving high praise from NME as well as heavy radio support from Don Letts and Huey Morgan, to name a few, the LP houses a collection of vibrant instrumental cuts of the ‘80s funk and disco variety, interwoven with smooth vocals from himself and a handful of collaborators.Read more
Newman cut his teeth in an eclectic range of bands and musical projects – not to mention absorbing a mind-boggling array of influences, from The Clash to De La Soul to Snarky Puppy – before deciding the time had come to zoom in on his own sound. He was right to take the plunge; stepping out under his solo moniker, J-Felix, with just a few demos to his name, he found his woozy, heart-on-sleeve, P-funk laced songs being quickly snapped up by Tru Thoughts.
Now based in Brighton, but originally from Bristol, Newman’s approach to music was originally inspired by those he saw taking the DIY route back home where he grew up on a diet of d ‘n’ b, hip hop and dubwise music. After discovering the original sources of so many of the samples found in early d ‘n’ b, trip hop and US hip hop, he fell in love with all things funk, jazz and soul, later developing a particular taste for the P-funk and boogie sounds which now come through heavily in his music.
Eager to create his own sonic stamp, J-Felix decided to steer away from samples in his own work, instead often layering up recordings of his own vocal and instrumental performances. Self-taught on a range of instruments including drums, guitar, bass, keys and synths, he has a pretty impressive selection of sounds to choose from at his fingertips.
Previewing the ‘101 Reasons’ album in January 2015, J-Felix’s first release was an EP of the same name, bringing three uplifting tracks with a heavy ‘80s funk lilt and a dubby rhythmic driving force. Since then his star has steadily risen, his music being picked up by tastemakers including Julie Adenuga (Beats1), Huey Morgan, Don Letts and Ronnie Herel, and the title track gaining heavy rotations on Radio Nova (France). “Keep On (We Ain’t Here For Long)” is the latest single package, offering fresh remixes from El Train and Si Tew and a collaboration with Kinny, one of the original vocal divas of Tru Thoughts. Flexing his own remix muscles, he has also provided a killer rework for fellow rising star Werkha’s new single “The Invincible feat. Alex Rita”, gaining support from the likes of Nemone on BBC 6Music.
His wide-ranging appreciation of music makes J-Felix a killer DJ, too; you may have been lucky enough to have seen him play at Glastonbury, support Hot 8 Brass Band in Brighton, or share a stage with George Clinton (Parliament- Funkadelic) or Roy Ayers over the course of this year with his full live band. If not, he has many more shows in store – both as a DJ and a live act – to be announced.