JESTER JACOBS & FORMZ (COMEDIAN & UK RAPPER / PRODUCER BEATMAKER)
KILLA KELA: It’s such a pleasure to have you guys here. Both of you have a lot of hats that you put on. Jester, obviously we’ve got the comedy and the music but, there’s the production and all the different crews you all are in, it’s impressive. You guys can’t just hold it down on one straight project and you’re both fully creative force of doing all sorts of stuff. Talk to me about the latest record Grimefulness.
FORMZ: Yeah, it took me and Jester a few years to make. Jester Is a really funny guy and comedy rap is a real funny area but, it can be not good music within a year if you
don’t tread a very fine line of what the jokes are or how you approach the joke. We made like 50 tracks and we took it down to 10 really important ideas and then Jester sort of started weaving this thing about mental health through it in a really interesting way.
JESTER JACOBS: Yeah you know, it’s not really a funny album, it’s fun. Some of the themes are funny, some of the lines are funny but it’s actually a really very serious theme, it’s a pretty dark album but it’s got a nice happier ending.
FORMZ: We also made another side ep called state of the art which is out on shadow player record. We got lots of stuff out there for people to check out.
KILLA KELA: Let’s talk about mental health because I think we’ve all been at that point or the juncture in our life where we’ve had some struggles. Is that the main theme of the album?
FORMZ: The title track of the album, Grimefulness, Jester came up with the concept of making a really angry sounding Grime tune about self-help and relaxation but in a really
aggressive way. That tone is integrated in the song but everything that comes out of Jester’s mouth is really about how to help yourself.
I don’t really make too many grime tunes but I made this one and Jester was like now can you make a 30 second ambient part for the ending and I said okay cool so I just had to make this weird ambient bright ending . But, when we were doing the video we thought it was like a really good idea to put up just the charity names at the end of the video in this calm bit.
JESTER JACOBS: Yeah, everything in there is researched and stuff that helped me. And we are doing some stuff with CALM, so we can reach as many people as possible.
KILLA KELA: Jester, how would you say this album compares to other one?
JESTER JACOBS: I would say this is a sequel to mental disorder. I made that in 2008 and in the grips of a lot of undiagnosed mental health issues like drug abuse, depression anxiety. No one was talking about mental health like they do now, especially not rap music. I was very honest and open. There was a song on there about ecstasy pills and really dealing with the aftermath of it all. It’s funny that this album goes full circle. I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable and understand myself a lot more. I’m in tune with my abilities with songwriting and what I’m trying to do. The first album was like a fluke and this one is, you know, it took a long time but I really feel like they’re a good companion piece.
KILLA KELA: How was it making the album? What was the process like?
JESTER JACOBS: We really tried to take our time and enjoy the journey. I really feel like it’s a privilege to make music, and so that’s why it took a minute to really get this album done.
FORMZ: Jester’s songs are like stories, so he came with the songs already written on paper. He would come to me with these songs and said that he wrote to a dre beat or something like that. He’s the only person i’ve ever done that for, where i’ve i’ve actually backward engineered the song because to me it’s usually like i bring my part to it, you connect with it and we make the song but, because of the way Jester wrote it was like i can’t really work like that. I adapted to what he wrote, his flows and tempos and then just made a beat around that.
KILLA KELA: Formz, what do you for look for in MC?
FORMZ: Firstly your voice has got to really connect with me, just the sound of your voice, because most of times when I hear songs I don’t even listen to the lyrics the first three times i’m just listening to how it interacts sonically with the track and then i’ll start listening to what they’re saying.
KILLA KELA: Jester, it sounds like you have a very unique way of writing.
JESTER JACOBS: yeah I mean I don’t know if it’s a good way to write but it works for me. I’m not always writing to an instrumental, I wrote a song over Who Knew by eminem just rapping it over it. It’s kind of like I’m trying to compete with who I’m listening to in a way.
KILLA KELA: What’s your thoughts on being an artist and musician nowadays? It definitely isn’t the easiest of jobs, especially in today’s climate.
JESTER JACOBS: I think first and foremost, you have to try and enjoy it. Try and do what you can to not leave a negative imprint as any one of us moves forward.
FORMZ: I think as artists, and even as a viewer we have a responsibility to be spreading positivity, you need to be spreading something that will help move something forward. Take a negative situation or topic and put a positive spin on it, like what you do here with the podcast now like what Jester does with comedy . I try to do the same with music and artists I work with.
KILLA KELA: What’s the future? What’s coming up next?
JESTER JACOBS: I’m sitting on my next album, it will be coming out soon. At the moment where I still love it so much and I don’t wanna let go of it because once it’s out and it’s like a slave to the algorithm and you see the view count, it can be depressing. But there’s this little beautiful moment when it’s yours before anyone else hears it. That’s where I am with it right now. I’ve got a couple singles. It’s been ready for quite a while.
It’s so different to this record, it has no features. I wrote it in the lockdown when I had no job and I didn’t have anything else going on. I had so much fun writing it. I was treating it like what if I only could make one more thing ever again what would it want to be what would i want it to be. I wrote it so quickly a lot of the stuff was done in one take it just sounds raw. It’s coming out very soon.
FORMZ: Irun a label called Shadow Play records so that’s that’s basically got a few releases coming out got the Mongo and Sniff album to come out soon just waiting to get some videos done for that, there’ll be a forms instrumental project at some point soon and I’m just running the label. Basically it’s a priority right now.
What do you think Jester, should we do another album?
JESTER JACOBS: I’d love to, fingers crossed for another pandemic and I can really knuckle down with that.
JESTER JACOBS and FORMZ podcast episode out now!
Today on the Killa Kela Podcast we have honour of chatting with the producer/rapper duo behind the new LP “GRIMEFULNESS.” If you don’t know about Jester Jacobs and Formz you need to get to know. From Jester Jacobs comedic ability to Formz real-world jobs, we are going full real talk with this one. Deep diving into the production, the album-making journey, the musical content, and any future plans, this is a podcast not to be missed. Ladies & Gentlemen, this is the Jester Jacobs and Formz podcast. ENJOY!