Album Review+Interview: J:Dead - A Complicated Genocide


Perhaps one of the most interestingly diverse albums I have listened to recently. The main thing that stands out from the rest is a blending of modern vocals over retro sound, and then retro vocals over modern sound in several places. It is a fresh and energising listen. Many highs and few lows, like a damn good night out - wrapped up in an album.

A Complicated Genocide, the first album from J:dead (Jay Taylor)is an exploration through modern Synth/Electro-Pop with influences taken from the 80's to the here and now. Expect a combination of emotion led vocals, dark synth vibes and stand-out melodies to keep you moving. The album tells the tale of our own struggles of becoming who we wish to be, and the challenges we face along the way.

After the success of the first single 'Feeding on me' with an outstanding video, we are happy to provide you to an 11 original track album with a further 4 bonus tracks on the physical release from the likes of: Grendel, Tactical Sekt, ES23 and Auger.


A Complicated Genocide releases 29th Jan 2021 via Infacted Recordings

Interview


Q. A controversial title for the album, what's the theme behind it and the album in its entirety?


I never thought of the album title as controversial, more so a visual depiction on something which is intangible to the eyes of others. What I mean by that, the title track, and the album title; is that you never truly know what is going on in someone’s head.

The album and this period of writing the album for me has been a real discovery. Musically as well as personally. The theme behind the majority of the tracks on the album is about how we deal with our own challenges and the emotions that surround them. I feel like I have worked on parts of myself recently that I was never even aware of before, and what is complicated about that is eradicating patterns that you don’t like. That’s not a slant at myself but more of a self-awareness reaction.

I found this theme, even though my exact situations and realisations will be different to others, quite inclusive. We all have challenges, we all have to get over them, and we all have to deal with our emotions (positively or negatively) as a counter to this.

Q. It’s a nice mixing of style throughout this album, what sub-genre would you categorise yourself as and why?


Ahhhh I always struggle with this question, mainly because I don’t want to sound like the polar stereotype of..

“Its this” or “I don’t fit into one”.

My music taste is vast and it all has an influence in my music. Synthpop, metal, industrial, dance, techno, prog; blab la bla. In a world of social media promotion I have had to settle on the closest match which I think is Synthpop, as a lot of the core elements of the album is 80’s inspired. However for those who will listen to the album I hope they can enjoy something which isn’t just the box I’m being pushed to slot it into.


Q. Which track are you most proud of and which has the most personal meaning to you?


There are clearly some 'stand-out' tracks on the album of which I am proud of as I think they will really catch the ear of what I expect a J:dead fan to like, but as this is my first album release – I am more proud of the fact that I actually got there in the end. All of the songs have elements of personal factors, and some of them are literal personal situations. However I am a big believer in the fact that people connect to songs in the way that it reaches out to them. So my literal situations, even though they have provide context to the tracks, shouldn’t mean that people should listen to them with my situation at heart. But, to give one example – 'A thousand adventures' is a song about my children and my realisations as a father.


Q. We have had two music videos already for this album, is a third on the way? Also can you tell us a bit more detail of the story the viewer is seeing in the video for Haunt and Feeding on me?


Yes there is another single planned for release after the album which I very much hope will have a video. However… UK lockdown restrictions are making this very difficult to achieve what I am looking for. So I am feeling unsure about what the end result will be (if anything) at the moment.


Again the two released video fit very much into the theme of the album. HAUNT is a video which shows something coming back to haunt you (but in this case it’s visualised with an object with a marker that moves to my arm – which is actually a tattoo of mine with a important personal meaning – hence why this is on the cover artwork for the album).

Feeding on me is a story about jealousy and how this emotion can 'feed' on you and alter your perception or decision on things. This is visualised in the video via a 'stalker' type role fantasising over a girl from a distance. Again this is something that a lot of people can relate to (very unfortunately).

Q. Has creating this album impacted on your role in other bands in any ways, or has it even helped broaden ideas? (Tactical Sekt, Harmjoy, and Tyske Ludder - Drums. Mutagenocide Vocals)


No, only for the betterment I hope. I will still continue to play in the bands that I do now and have no intention to change that, as these friends and bands are important to me, even as a solo artist. Without them I wouldn’t and couldn’t have created the J:dead album/project. I hope it will bring further opportunities for live shows, especially at festivals which are over multiple days. I don’t write for any of the other bands I play in, so there are no crossed wires or conflict in this area.


Q. Any Merchandise coming out soon?


Yes! I hope to have the artwork completed in the next few weeks and the design is set around the album cover. This has obviously been on the back burner as most artists would sell volumes of merch at physical shows, so I have used parts of my earlier budget elsewhere to start.


Q. Which bands are you listening to most at the moment and who would you have loved to support an album release tour if things were still ‘normal’?


At the moment I am listening to so much, and part of the reason for this is that you listen so much to 'yourself' when writing an album, I find it hard to find time to listen to other things.

If I look at my spotify my top artists over the past few weeks have been Dead when I found her, Scandriod, Nine Inch Nails, and Depeche Mode. Nothing too 'new and exciting' but these artists are very much some of my daily go to’s.


There are loads of great acts that I would like to share a stage with and I cannot wait for the world to start turning again for this to happen… One band that comes to mind is Auger. Kyle and I had a great time working together on the Ft. track of 'A Complicated Genocide' which features on the physical release. I would love to do this song live with these guys and hope we can make it happen when shows start happening again.


Q. What life lessons has being in industrial taught you over the years, and what would you change?


I can’t say that this is specific to being in industrial but getting to meet some great and talented people that I can now call friends has been important to me and specially this project. Be nice to people and take an interest in who they are and what they do. You are never too big, small, important or an unknown to show people some respect. You can do amazing things with the right people around you, and that for me has enabled me to release something which I am really proud of.

In regards to change… well, I am a believer in the fact that if I want something to change and its in my control then I should have already done it, but you can't change the past – only learn from it.


Q. Anything you’d like to say to your fans?


Just that I am extremely grateful for all the support that I have been shown with this project and upcoming album. I am writing again for a second release and I really hope to see everyone safe and well at a show in the future.

Thank you for your time Jay

Review

This will be a short review as I have already written two articles on singles from this release which can be found below.


Feeding on me: https://www.elektrovox.com/post/single-release-j-dead-feeding-on-me

Jay has brought Vintage Human League emotional story telling in to modern day synthwave production.

Haunt: https://www.elektrovox.com/post/j-dead-presents-haunt-interview-review

There is indeed the personal turmoil and almost supernatural element to the tone it creates. It is one hell of an impressive opening to introduce J:dead with.

Feeding on me is one of my favourite tracks from this album and hopefully that comes across in the above article. The Tactical Sekt remix adds a trance edge to it and the Grendel remix somehow makes the track feel markedly more retro.


Which brings me straight to the title track which is by far the best track on the album, 'A complicated Genocide'. It has hallmarks of multiple industrial bands we love from Assemblage 23,to Colony 5, Rotersand, and even Mesh.

There is something distinctive In Jay's style of singing that sent me frantically trying to remember who exactly it sounds like but I think what matters is that this very air of familiarity makes the track so instantly lovable.

What is also impressive and fresh is the metal growls thrown in that compliment the verses in a manner not ever really heard in 'Synthpop'.(Sorry Jay!) It's thoroughly enjoyable to sing along to and the samples, synths, and beats are dangerously infectious.

I hadn't realised I was banging my heard, bobbing along, and phantom singing wildly (with headphones) until I caught a glimpse of my partner giving me an odd sideways look!

ES23 have done a great job of making it even more dance floor worthy than it already was with their wacky twists. It feels like a joy ride through an old school B movie. It's a real roller-coaster of joy for the soul.

Auger, where do I start with the incredible Auger? A band that I went from knowing nothing about before Elektro Vox, to wanting to listen to almost every chance I get.

Kyle lends his vocal talent to this feature and the added guitar layers so much depth and emotion to the track that is doesn't sound like a remix at all but a brand new hit waiting to smash the market. The chorus is enriching beyond words, this is one of those songs you listen to again and again as a heartbroken teenager or adult fed up with life lessons. It is genius and my favourite song of the year. It sure gives the latest Bring me the Horizon sound a damn good run for their money!

The remixes are only available with the physical copy and this one feature alone is definitley worth the extra cost.

'Ethereal' and 'Rewind' have that wonderful 80's nightclub feel to them and several of the other songs have great beats to dance to after a couple of long intros before the beat drops such as in 'Fade in / Fade out.'


Tracklist

(Remixes on physical copy only)

Conclusion


This is an album that grows on you for sure. There are a few songs that instantly gratify your choice to listen to them, whilst others take a few listens to truly appreciate. For a debut album this is certainly one of the best I have heard. The story concepts of each song are far more important than with most artist's work and that adds a mature depth that brings the best of 80's and modern era electronics in to a comfortable cohesion. There are some great dance tracks as well as remixes to make your jaw drop. J:Dead has offered us up a remarkable display of talent and skill to choose from with this profound album.

Scores


Technicality: 7.5/10

Dance factor: 8/10

Energy: 8/10

Vocals: 7.5/10

Re-playability: 8/10

Overall score: 7.8 / 10

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