Thomas Van Buskirk and George Langford are Javelin. The music they make is unique– they recreate themselves what sounds like a sample. So when you hear something you recognize, like the Salt n Pepa blip in “Oh! Centra” below, it’s likely the band made that. It’s their own recreation.
Hailing originally from Providence, Javelin now call BK their home. Thomas and George are cousins, and I think you can feel the familial vibes in the music.
Javelin has put out some music on Thrill Jockey and have a self-released demo album, but on April 20th (4/20!) the band’s debut on Luaka Bop, No Mas, drops. Pick it up!
The duo took some time to answer questions from MME. (They said they really liked them, by the way).
Why the name “Javelin”? What does the weapon mean to you.
The name was bestowed by George’s sister. It’s kind of like a nickname that you are given and then have to spray paint all over your neighborhood. Javelin the weapon: fast, long-range, and largely outdated. Javelin the event: theatrical, hilarious, vaguely
dangerous. Combine all those words together and that’s pretty much our band.
What do you think about these guys? http://www.javelin-band.com/Home2.html
Get them eat them.
What do you like about each other?
Since we are cousins and both Virgos, we are basically cut from the same cloth. So maybe we like the same things about each other.
You live in Brooklyn now, right? Why did you leave Providence?
Something horrible happened. But you can’t keep running forever. We
got as far as Brookyn.
I have a friend who lives in Olneyville and has been deep into that scene for more than 10 years. Were you into that too? What’s better or worse or different about Brooklyn from Providence? It seems MANY bands move from one place to the other.
Smaller toxic pond = larger mutant fish. We definitely absorbed a lot from the people there– Tom grew up in Providence, went to high school, then college. At the same time we never really fit in with what was going on. The best thing we learned there was risk taking, and crawling into your own wormhole. There are too many bands in
Brooklyn. No Stuffies neither.
How do you make your music and write your songs? Together in a studio?
Bof. One of us usually gets going on an idea and then we expand.
Would you say your desire is to make people dance? If no, then why do you make this music?
In a live setting, yes. Across the board we aim for positivity. You can wash dishes or take showers very easily to our recordings. Another thing is definitely humor. We basically want to make people feel good.
Tell me about your use of samples. You use them creatively, in that you only feature a small bit, is that right? What’s the point of that? It sounds like a lot of work. Are you trying to be more authentic?
Sampling is just another tool in creating an aesthetic. Whatever the material calls for tends to grow out of it– like a starter culture or something. Sometimes it stands alone, sometimes it’s a part of a larger collage. Then there is the element of sampling oneself as
being the basis of recording in a slightly more fragmented, non-linear way. Our new record contains very few samples– as opposed to our CD-R demo Jamz n Jemz. Some of the songs from J+J are on the new record, but most have been transformed, remade, or are completely new. We get a little bit of satisfaction when someone asks “Where did you
get that sample?” and we get to say, “We played it… all of it.”
You contributed a song to The Report. How did that come about?
Our other cousin Sam introduced us to McGregor. He filmed us when we played in the basement of Damon Dash’s Blokroc label– which was some crazy shit. It’s going to feature an interview by our cousin where he reminisces about recording childhood tapes together.
What are some of your favorite bands. Right now, and historically.
Killer Whales from Chicago, (right now, although they are always claiming they are history), Lucky Dragons from L.A., The Ex, Smokey Robinson, De La Soul, the classics
Are you turned on more by food or by nature. Cars? Clothes?
Natural foods. Clothes with cars on them.
What are your hobbies. What does a Friday night look like?
Hot toddies and mixed Canasta.
Why boom boxes? You seem to like to use newfangled instruments too. Is it a throwback? Or just a cool look?
We grew up with boomboxes, recording music to them, recording mixtapes off the radio, playing them on batteries everywhere– we also like the sound they make. We run our drums through them live and mic them like guitar amps… FM radio is a sonic factor as well as shitty speakers. If you want to take it to the theoretical realm, boomboxes can
represent peoples’ ownership and self-identity with music in a public place. (See Radio Rahim)
You have a song called C-Town. Was it inspired by the grocery store? Those are unique to Brooklyn i think. What about the C-Town do you like? The bright lights?
They have them in Harlem too. Some of song titles are arbitrary.
Javelin: Oh! Centra