Interview with Cajita

From the Funky Mofo archives.

As we’ve just been informed Funky Mofo is part of the “Bristol DIY indie scene”, it seemed logical to introduce our readers to a local DIY delicacies. Enjoy!

Funky Mofo: Your website describes you as an ‘Indo-Irish-English Welshman’… sounds like some complex roots you’ve got there! Could we have a quick insight into your history?

Jay Chakravorty: Hmmm… yeah it does, doesn’t it? I think people were trying to find something interesting to write about me when I first started, and that’s what they came up with. Then it just kind of stuck. When the website gets updated (which will be soon!) I think I’ll lose that phrase… However, since you ask (and very nicely at that), I’ll tell you…my mum’s English-Irish and my dad is Bangladeshi-Indian, but I was born and brought up in Wales. I’d love to be able to say that it’s an interesting and heady mix of cultures that affords me rare insight, but in all honestly it’s not, and it doesn’t.

FM: How long do you think it will be before you’ll become an Indo-Irish-English-‘Bristolian’-Welshman?

JC: Well, I’ve been living in Bristol for a good few years now, and love it here, so… Yeah, fuck it, chuck ‘Bristolian’ in there as well! The Cajita part of it all is definitely a Bristol thing. I can’t imagine it would have happened anywhere else anyway.

FM: You’ve only recently hit the music scene and already you’re causing quite a stir. How have you found the media reactions so far? What are your thoughts about the forthcoming UK tour?

JC: The media reaction is weird. Equal parts lovely, affirming, positive flattery and laughably over-enthusiastic nonsense. It’s obviously really nice to have nice things said about you, but I find the criticism always reads better. That’s a terrible thing to say isn’t it? I take it back. I love it.
As far as the tour goes, I’m really looking forward to it. Just very, very excited. I get to do nothing for a few weeks except play music at people. I can’t think of much else I’d rather do.

FM: Björk, Nick Drake and Radiohead are listed as some of your influences. What is it about these artists that inspires you?

JC: The very simple, very dull answer is that all those artists are really, really good. Björk and Radiohead just make my idea of great music. They try new stuff and almost always end up creating something strange and beautiful. They are both big songwriting reference points for me. And I simply don’t see how anyone can dislike Nick Drake.

FM: You don’t seem to have a set band? Why?

JC: I’d say I do have a set band… Ever since the first gig, I’ve had Ade (guitar and vocals) helping out. I don’t like backing tracks, so it’s always been quite important to have as much of the songs played live as possible. Jim (trumpet, guitar) and Ben (laptop, keyboard and bass) came on board a bit later, and since then we’ve been able to do a completely live set. We’ve formed quite a neat little collective, actually. So much so that I don’t really consider them MY band. I always have a good idea of what I want them to play when I write a song, but they invariably improve on it. I still do solo gigs sometimes or maybe with one or two of the others, but the ones I enjoy most are always the full four-piece ones.

FM: Will you be releasing an album?

JC: Yep, there’ll be an album or mini album out soon on the FactFans label. It’ll be available on the tour, from the Cajita website and maybe some other places too. It’s a good collection of songs, and I’m willing to swap a copy of it for cash.

FM: This is a hot topic at the moment and we’re asking everyone about it: what is your opinion about the current download situation?

JC: Erm… Got to be honest, I don’t really know what ‘the current download situation’ is. Personally, I just want as many people as possible to hear my music. I’m at the stage where I don’t really care how they hear it!

FM: What are your plans for the near future?

JC: Tour, get the album out to as many people as possible, write more, tour more, do another album, tour some more, maybe do a festival or two, then lie down in a quiet, darkened room and whimper gently to myself.

Jo Whitby

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