The Surprising Journey Of Jadu Heart

Jadu Heart interview with Northern Transmissions by Adam Fink
Jadu Heart photo by Eugene Angelo

You never know when you start something, where it will take you. Some of the best journeys start from a place you would never expect. You’ll never know when inspiration will strike and with a little follow through, a simple idea can evolve into a full blown career. Take Jadu Heart. The Bristol based psych pop electronic duo, made up of Alex Headford and Diva Jeffrey, started out their artistic journey as an assignment in university. With the pair’s sophomore album dropping soon, they look back on how they got to this place and where the future will take them.

“It was a uni project that was started,” explains soft spoken lead vocalist Jeffreys from the duos home in Bristol. “It’s funny to think about as we weren’t really doing anything and now we are doing this full time, it’s really sick.” Jeffreys and Headford were both students at The British and Irish Music Institute and were assigned a project to audibly depict a ‘cycle’. “We always wanted to do music and had this assignment brought to us and we were talking about it and came up with this idea to create this conceptual world,” says Headford. “It was about these two kids and what kind of music they would make and what they would wear. It all happened pretty naturally and quickly.” The story behind the work was about two kids named Dina and Faro who get cursed in a temple and each song on the band’s debut EP, Wanderflower, corresponded with a chapter in these characters life. To bring to life this story, the duo came up with the idea to wear theatrical masks and costumes while performing and even doing press for the album. “We had no idea what was to come of it,” Headford says with a laugh. What did come of it was the attention of Mura Masa, the Grammy nominated electronic producer and multi instrumentalist. Masa was so enthralled by Jadu Hearts sound that he tagged them as support for his album launch show in London and signed them to his record label, Anchor Point Records. While touring the EP, and their first album Melt Away, the band ended up performing in Bristol and decided on a whim that it would be a great place for them to relocate to. As it turns out the rational behind their move reflects very similarly their creative process.

“We are like total experimentation driven, explains Headford about their process. “We don’t really know the technical side of producing music and we do have people messaging us about how we created things and for a lot of it we can’t really say. We come up with ideas and then that’s how we do it. It’s all very response driven and that causes it to morph and change.” Jeffreys adds, “There’s not really a lot of intentional choices behind what we do. It’s all very impulsive,” she says with a chuckle.”It’s like us playing a show in Bristol. It felt great and we just really liked it and decided, pretty impulsively, that we should move here. Within a couple months we moved here, set up a studio and wrote a new album.” The songs that have been released so far on the new album showcase a newer side of the band. While they do live in the same fluid electronic pop style as their previous work, the tracks seem fresher and more adventurous.

“We listen to such different kinds of music that we don’t really know what will influence the songs we make,” explains Jeffrey. “I mean, one moment I’m listening to Oneohtrix Point Never and the next minute I’m listening to Justin Bieber. It’s just all over the place.” One thing that has definitely changed from the last album is that the pair has dropped the masks finally allowing the listener to see who the real Diva and Alex are. “The aesthetic part has been such an important thing for us. It was like 50/50 that to the music and the masks were quite an easy way to have this element of the songs come across. The more surreal elements,” explains Headford about the change. “With the new album we are removing the masks. We did this record very personally and very fast and this was kind of the way to present this, that it was from us. To come off the last album, which took a few years, to this one which was so quick. It’s really exciting for us, we are still buzzing.”

Unfortunately with the state of the world focusing on self distancing and the closure of music venues during the COVID-19 outbreak, Jadu Heart has had to cancel their sold out US tour dates. While it is disappointing, the pair seem optimistic about the future. “It’s weirdly exciting in it’s own way,” says Headford. “It seems like people are really, separately, banding together. There’s a lot of bad shit associated with this but maybe it can be a good turning point for the future, or maybe everyone will just stay home and get stoned,” he says with a laugh. “The world is so weird right now,” adds Jeffrey, then optimistically, “hopefully it’s a good time for people to stay home and create.” We are all dealing with some chaos right now but in speaking with Jadu Heart and hearing their story and how they have come to what they do emotionally, creatively and even impulsively, their brand of music and the outlook they share is definitely something that can go a long way towards us all feeling optimistic about what may come.

interview by Adam Fink