Re:Play LA is our concert series with local indie acts covering classic albums. The final installment — tonight, Aug. 17 at the Hard Rock Café on Hollywood Boulevard — will feature genre-unclassifiable duo J*DaVeY. But unlike the other artists in the series, J*DaVeY weren't immediately sure what they wanted to cover. They considered the Stooges' self-titled debut, the Beatles' Revolver and Talking Heads' Brian Eno-produced classic Remain in Light. Seeing that they've already covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” they toyed with the idea of performing Nirvana's Nevermind.
Makes sense that the group's members — singer-songwriter Jack Davey and producer Brook D'Leau (by the way, Jack's the woman and Brook's the man) — would have a hard time picking a style, considering they can play so many of them. They're L.A.'s freshest, funkiest fusionists, and they've been coloring outside the lines and defying being “genre-cized” since forming in 1999. They can play hip-hop, new wave, rock, pop, electro, R&B and … that's about all we have space for here.
They finally settled on the 1980 Police record Zenyattà Mondatta. “In our iTunes collections, we both have their entire catalog — not one song is missing,” Davey says. “That album is probably my favorite, particularly 'When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around.'”
The choice becomes more clear when it's compared to J*DaVeY, particularly the title, which is intentionally vague; J*DaVeY avoid assigning specific meaning to their music. “I believe that leaving things open to interpretation makes [our music] more interactive with the audience,” D'Leau says.
The record's energy also matches that of Davey and D'Leau. “Zenyattà Mondatta seems like it was more of a jam session. It's a lot more free-flowing [than a typical studio album],” D'Leau says. As they told us when we interviewed them for LA Weekly's 2011 People issue, they don't rehearse their shows to death, in order to give fans a different experience every time. In that same spirit, the pair decided on Zenyattà at the last minute.
D'Leau says he's a bit nervous about the show. The record is important to him: His parents played it when he was growing up, and he introduced Davey to it when they first began working together in high school. But we're sure any fear will dissolve once the duo start in on their slithering remix of “Don't Stand So Close to Me.” Or maybe they'll play that song straight. The beauty of J*DaVeY is that nobody, not even they, will know until that very moment.
J*DaVeY perform as part of L.A. Weekly's Re:Play L.A. series, Wed., Aug. 17, 9 p.m., at the Hard Rock Café, 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Hlywd. Free.