Feeling the ‘Janxta Funk’ spirit with The Pimps of Joytime

Pimps-of-JoytimePhotos by Mike Frash // Written by Molly Kish //

Showbams interviewed Pimps of Joytime bandleader Brian J on December 30th after the group’s performance in San Francisco at The Fillmore.

Showbams: Currently you’re on tour promoting Janxta funk, both the album and the ideology, which you describe as part gangsta and part janky. Can you elaborate a little more on that?

Brian: Yeah, you know it’s kind of a vibe thing. You’ve got the gansta’ part which is the style and the janky, in that it’s a little rugged. That’s the way we roll you know, not everything is perfect. Sometimes the door comes off the hinge or you gotta make it to the gig and you get a flat tire. The operation’s a little bit janky, but you just gotta spin it and make it positive. We call it Janxta.


Showbams: Your influences draw a lot from the live music and DJ scene of your hometown Brooklyn, New York where you guys emerged from initially. Who were some of the artists that inspired your sound and live performance?

Brian: Certainly a bunch of the DJ’s out there like Nicodemus, DJ Concern, Monk One, Chico Man. There are so many great bands. We just collaborated with Alex from Rubblebucket on a song that should be on the new record — they’re doing a lot of good stuff. Also, everyone in the Pimps has other really great projects, like Mayteana has Stereo Fights, Cole has That’s My Cole, David Balis has Baja and the Dry Eye Crew and Eric plays with Ander’s Osborne. You know, so everybody’s doing their thing.


Showbams: On the new album, you also are featuring working with both the Neville Brothers and Roy Ayers. Having spent some time in New Orleans Brian, was this something you always wanted to do?

New Orleans music has a big influence on me, and just the energy of that city I have a connection with. For me it’s a spiritual home, although Brooklyn is where I’m from, spiritually I just love New Orleans. The artists are just so talented and soulful. Getting to work with Ceril, after we collaborated on a song on my first record High Steppin, he called me to produce his record Brand New Blues, which was really cool.

When we were working on that I had him sing on a couple Pimps things and I just threw it in the session. Kind of the same thing happened with Art Neville. He was recording on Ceril’s album and I was like “Hey could you record on mine?” He was like, “I tell you what, you come over and if you can fix my computer I’ll do it.” So we did a little trade, I came over and helped him set up his computer and I got to hang out all day. We ate po’ boys and he was telling me stories about The Meters. It was cool. It was a special day.


Showbams: The New Orleans culture is really prevalent in the Pimps stage presence, and the band is known to bring a big sound and infectious funk to your live performances. How have the crowds responded to the new album’s material while on tour?

Brian: It’s been steadily growing. You know we do a good show, then everybody at that show tells a few people and the next time we come around, there’s larger crowds. The good ol’ fashion word of mouth type thing, pretty much how we’ve been doing it.

Showbams: Has there been any particular show or venue that was more difficult to play than others?

Brian: Yeah, we’ve done some challenging gigs. Like a couple times when going through Colorado in the winter, having to play outside. Promoters don’t understand that when you play music you can’t wear a heavy jacket and big ol’ gloves, they don’t quite get that so … They’re like, “What’s a matter, everybody else is outside?” A couple of those were kind of tough, and you know you just gotta take the good with the bad.


Showbams: You guys have a very rigorous tour schedule. How do you respond to constant travelling and performing?

Brian: Well, we have an expression, that if something is really difficult, we call it “character building.” So, if somebody’s like, “How was the show?” We’re all, “It was character building.” (laughs)

Showbams: Conversely, what’s your ideal show or best outcome when walking off stage?

Brian: It’s a combination of me loving the sound that myself and the band’s making and the crowd’s really receiving it, when we get that energy flow going. I love when people have a great time and they love the show, but the best is when I love it, too. There are different levels on different nights, but sometimes the spirit really hits, and everybody’s in the vibe. That’s just a magical thing!


Showbams: After the show, you guys are headed to play the Black and White Ball for New Year’s Eve in Nevada. And on that trip, do you have any resolutions or plans for 2013?

Brian: I’m always, and I think I can say this for everybody in the band, we’re spiritual people and always trying to work on ourselves to become better people on multiple levels, and I’m going to continue to do that. But, I think I need to get a little more in shape, so I started playing tennis and have been working out a little bit. It’s pretty common, and probably the most broken resolution ever.

We also got a new record in the works that I think is going to be the best, most cohesive record to date. It has really good songs, singing and great playing. I recorded it in a different way and did the rhythm section live, which I’ve never done before. It’s going to be our best record, so I’m going to put it out there in the world and be like, “Here, here you go!” and see what happens.



  1. Molly Kish says:

    pics turned out great Frash, this was definitely a fun one!

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