With but a song to their name, Jay Wol Johnson and the Humble Bees have our attention. Found a Woman is a Frankenstein amalgam of genre-bending noise, something chaotic, unique and a hell of a lot of fun.
We wanted to know more about how this cacophony came to be, so we reached out to the band. From Jay Wol Johnson himself, we’ve gleaned the story of Found a Woman, and scored a sneak peak of four unreleased tracks as icing on the cake.
Take it away, Johnson.
What’s still in store for fans of Jay Wol Johnson and the Humble Bees? We get the scoop from their intrepid frontman.
Found a Woman
Truly the first completely collaborative effort by the band. A mixture of funk, jazz and more than a little bit of love. Found a Woman was born out of a two chord riff I stumbled upon.
At the time I was just in awe of the change that can be made to one who finds another; one plus one equals one. In other words, I had moved in with my now fiancé and was happy as Larry and Blake, and our tight-as-hell drummer was in the throes of a romantic haze after being swept off his feet by a backpacking beauty. Hence the call and response chorus between Blake and I. Love… buddy do yourself a favour and find it.
After a while we moved on from two chords to many more and Tom chimed in with a solo piece that blew us away. What made my day was his ability to relate it to a motif hidden in the chorus.
Sarah! Oh my, she saved us. Admittedly, the original bass line that we started with was from a previous member who had to make the hard decision to pursue other loves. But Sarah took that bass, picked up the line and said, “this is now MINE!!”
Or something along those lines. Basically, my little sister Sarah came along and added sass, groove and a feel that we would never ever be the same without.
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Now here’s the rest of the set list (most of it at least):
HERO (hold me)
The oldest and probably most loved song on the set list. Originally written when I was sixteen, HERO (hold me) has evolved over time in meaning, feel and structure. This was the first song that I brought to the band, and to give them an understanding of what I envisioned I decided to (very poorly) record each piece; drums, keys, bass, guitar, and I think it also had a bit of saxophone and accordion on there.
It was designed as a stepping stone for the band but it has steadily become our go-to piece as it allows us all to ease into the set or shake off the cobwebs when we jam. It’s a showpiece song reminiscent of Otis Redding. We use a 6/8 time signature to a simple yet effective I-vi-ii-V chord progression for the chorus which then moves to the relative minor key for almost too many solos. At the end we have a bit of honky-tonk, chaotic fun.
HERO (hold me) has a special place in my heart because it reveals a need for nurture that I believe is familiar to everyone, regardless of how strong they may be. It humbles me.
Stop. is one of our newest songs ready for the big wide world to hear. It’s a rough-as-guts track that stomps on your ears. Starting out with a solid and heavy beat and me belting angry happiness over the top, the song uses strong, short, sharp hits across the board to present itself.
It started out with a sketchy picture I drew in a notepad very early in the morning whilst hanging with an old friend. From there, words grew and a bunch of Tom Waits was adored. The result is the representation of frustration, strength and defiance against the common day of work, stress and study.
The release comes with Sarah’s bass line. Oh man, soooooo smooth. It centres the song in so many ways, but also drives my frustration towards the world as I know it in a way only a sister can manage. Coming in on the off beat and leaving it on the beat, it’s an original Sarah bass line lines that busts your head up for days.
Man, I don’t know what it is that Tom does to the keys here but all I can say that he has officially destroyed what I thought I knew about bringing chords into songs. Playing sax along to it is not only fun, but an exercise too.
What drives this song is the damn beat. It’s heavy, it’s solid; it’ll break ya bones if you try anything with it. Bloody attitude is what this song has mate.
As frustration is to Stop., suave is to Strut. Sarah eases y’all into it with a descending bass and then there you are; trapped in the silky smoothness of Strut.
Newly written and definitely a more blues/jazz influenced song of ours, Strut shows the difference between classically or jazz trained pianists and Tom. He has been called a beast on more than one occasion by music loving fans.
The chorus has got to be one of my favourite moments in our set. It’s not fancy or anything, rather it’s just a release; a call out to all the things you wonder about people. The chorus preaches how actions are louder than words but also asks you not to worry about it, mate.
Yep. Exemplary self-indulgence. My pseudonym’s surname is a song. A meandering song that takes you on the journey of a shit-faced younger version of myself with the 20/20 vision in retrospect. The one thing I will say is that it’s not glorious.
A combination of some older songs that I wrote and brought to the band that surprisingly turned out not to be a mish-mash. The song features quite a few turns in regards to feel and point of view and takes its time to build to a dark and dirty end. Listen out for Blake’s time to smash the drums here as he does not often get to. Man it is something to behold.
A bit of a different one mate.
Found a Woman is to be launched this Friday night at the Bar 459, Perth. So come down and listen, dance and be humbled by the amazing acts that we have.