When producer Brook D'Leau was a kid, he had a red Tyco Hot Keyz keytar. So as the lights in West Hollywood's Key Club rise on his striking frontwoman, Miss Jack Davey, plucking out a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on a red electric guitar, it feels like a fulfilled prophecy.
D'Leau and singer-songwriter Davey are J*DaVeY, L.A.'s most funkdified and fashionable fusionists. They create music to make futuristic love to: Bass lines throb with Prince-worthy pulsations while Davey pants lyrics that would not be out of place in one of the Purple One's orgasmathons. But anticipate nothing, and expect anything — just as easily, D'Leau might dissolve a thick new wave synth into a hand-clapping drum machine as Davey sings a sweet ode primed for a Molly Ringwald dance.
This blend is increasingly prevalent in a certain artistic subset. J*DaVeY aren't exclusively hip-hop, but they're not just rock & roll, R&B, electronica, soul, punk or funk, either. Check “all of the above.” Their distinct sound is definitely heard a lot more often now, which must be flattering, right?
D'Leau: “Or annoying.”
Davey: “Yeah, it could be annoying, but now it's, like, 'What's next?' ”
D'Leau: “So people are still trying to catch up — if anybody's even trying to chase.”
Davey: “It seems like everybody else has gotten so much weirder, and we've reeled it in a little bit. Which is weird for us!”
They bob and weave in conversation, a seamless choreography. Their interaction onstage is the same. At one point, Davey, shaking a tambourine, stands facing D'Leau on the drums. As if someone snipped the cord of eye contact between them, she flings the tambourine to the side precisely as he clamps the cymbals silent.
The two met (of course) in 1999, so they've had more than a decade to perfect this dance. “We know it's about what we've created,” D'Leau says. “It's like our kid. If mommy and daddy are divorced—”
“Take care of that fuckin' baby,” Davey finishes.
Davey: “People don't think L.A. has culture, period.”
D'Leau: “But we've connected with so many people who think like us — in the music scene, the art scene — so even though the perception of Los Angeles is Hollywood … “
Davey: “Fake boobs.”
D'Leau: “There's so much more that's not exposed, so it's a good challenge to find the antithesis of all that.”
Davey: “Whatever they're doing, let's do the opposite of that, and see how that works out.”
Part of “that” is not rehearsing their shows to death in order to give their fans (who call themselves the “J*DaVeY NaVeY”) a different experience every time, even if they make live mistakes. “Like how Jimi Hendrix went onstage and would drop acid: No one knew what to expect, not even his band,” Davey says. “We're kinda the same way. Without the acid.”