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Coffee talk with Jay Mumford and Pablo Martin

Interview by Jamison Harvey

Name, Location, What You Do:

We are The Du-Rites from NYC!

Jay Mumford (aka J-Zone) -  Drummer (Queens)

Pablo Martin - Guitarist, Bassist (Harlem)

We both compose and play keys.

What's your relationship with coffee? How do you prepare it? What's your go to brand or coffee shop (pre or during Covid-19)? 

Jay: I live for my morning cup. Sometimes I'll have a second cup later on if I'm struggling. BLACK and hot. No sweetener or milk and absolutely no flavored coffee ever, that’s just caffeinated cologne. My favorite roast is Ethiopian Sidamo. I usually just get it by the pound from the fresh coffee section of the supermarket, then I have a grinder and French press. It's cheaper and better than any crap you'll get on the go. During the height of the pandemic I ordered online from Drum Coffee, a company owned by my friend and fellow drummer John Wicks and his wife. They’re great. 

Pablo: My relationship with coffee has changed over the past year. I used to be a black coffee person, two cups at least. It almost destroyed my stomach. Now I toned down to a cappuccino in the morning with no sugar. I need it to wake up.I must admit I'm not particularly gourmet about it; I live in Harlem, it’s either Dunkin' for $4.50 or I have to go to the gentrified joint “The Chipped Cup” where I can get the same quality for $6.50.

Tell us how you got into music and about your musical journey.  

Pablo: I think curiosity turned me into music. Comics as a kid, then Lovecraft Books and then music seems to be the logical thing to explore. I started playing in bands with my friends from high school. We loved art, drugs and girls, however art and drugs were way easier to get than girls. We were into punk rock and new wave, down in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We tried to copy the Talking Heads which is important to my story since I ended as lead guitarist in Tom Tom Club years later.

Jay: I began as a funk bass player in grade school, switched to a hip-hop producer/artist and DJ in high school and did that for a decade and a half. Burned out in 2008, quit music, wrote a memoir to get closure on my hip-hop career and then reinvented as a drummer in 2011-12. I kind of returned to where I was musically in grade school. Hasn’t been easy and there's a lot of sacrifice taking on a new trade later in life with adult responsibilities, but it's been rewarding and I keep plugging.

Who are your influences?

Pablo: From [Duke] Ellington to The Clash; The Stooges to Funkadelic.

Jay: Drumming-wise, many. "Funky" George Brown (Kool and the Gang), Bernard Purdie, Joe Dukes, Max Roach, Redd Holt, Elvin Jones, Mitch Mitchell, Zigaboo Modeliste, Steve Jordan and my mentor Leslie Ming from B.T. Express. I'm leaving a bunch out, too. Overall, the late great Ronald "Khalis" Bell from Kool and the Gang and Miles Davis for their attitudes and approaches to music. 

What have you been doing non music related during the pandemic?

Jay: Avoiding social media.

Pablo: Thinking.

What records or music have you been listening to?

Jay: Eddie Warner library records, some Jackie Mittoo, random ‘70s jazz. 

Pablo: I really dig the Sleaford Mods and revisiting LCD Sound System. Also studying recordings from the Disco era. 

Tell us about any upcoming releases.

Pablo: We just hit a major creative peak with [our most recent album] A Funky Bad Time, so we’re at the point where we are evolving again. That’s the hardest part. Round up the concept, then it goes quick, We're gonna go for strange. Other projects for this year besides The Du-Rites - I’m planning on finishing the second Lulu Lewis album titled Dyscopia and I’m working on a single with my friend Malcom Joseph (bass player for Grace Jones) under the name The Funklands.

Jay: What he said. We may experiment with the niche 10" EP format since the music is stuff we haven’t done and 10”/EP is a format we haven’t done. We hate being pigeonholed. Outside of the band I've been working frequently as a session drummer and I have my fifth volume of drum breaks coming out in March. It's called Concussion Percussion. I also have a 45 dropping with my other group, The Zone Identity.

We feel that coffee and creativity go hand in hand.  What are your thoughts on that?

Jay: It definitely makes me hyper-focused, plus I'll be ready to deal with people. I'm naturally a very solitary dude, so I need a jolt sometimes. 

Pablo: I used to not be able to work without a cup of iced coffee black. It helped me to keep focused. Caffeine, what can I tell you.

Parting words, anything you like.

Pablo: It’s going to be a hard year for the music and event industry, but we will make it again. Coffee will keep us alert.

Jay: Stay funky and stay out of Starbucks.