RFS Profiles: Jojo Mayer and Nerve


The new frontier of music has often had its detractors, naysayers who refuse to see the value in what modern technology can provide to quality music. “They’re not playing instruments!” they exclaim in dismissal. The reality is that people creating talentless, contrived music has existed since well beyond the introduction of the computer. It’s also pretty likely that these curmudgeonly individuals have never listened to JoJo Mayer and Nerve.

Swiss-born Mayer is a quintessential prodigy. His parents fed him drum sticks as soon as he could get a grip. At the age of two, Mayer was sitting in with his father’s band. By 18, he was making a name for himself internationally, backing up the likes of the legendary performers such as Monty Alexander, Dizzy Gillepsie, and Nina Simone.

As his style matured, Mayer continued to play with more artists and independently innovate how the drums could be performed by a human. He began reverse engineering the  made by computers and would perform them acoustically.

Soon he would create Nerve with John Davis, who specializes in the bass and low-end manipulation. Davis’ experience as an engineer allows him to emulate synthetic bass lines live with his bass guitar and pedal board.

Since Nerve’s inception, Jacob Bergson and Aaron Nevezie have joined to perform on the synth and do real-time audio deconstruction, respectively.

Close your eyes and listen to a Nerve song. If you’re casually listening, you might think that it’s another in a long line of quality, if computerized, electronic/house/drum & bass/ jungle songs. But when you open your eyes, the entire band could be playing the tune live, with more conventional instruments. There’s certain novelty to what Nerve is capable of doing musically, but there’s also an amazing advantage to it as well, at least when compared to what most producers are creating.

Nerve has the ability to perform a song and twist it on its head at a whim. It’s an impressive fusion of electronica and freestyle jazz sessions.

Over the course 15 years, Nerve has now completed several EPs and a handful of full-length albums. These are for the most part rather brilliant, if occasionally redundant. For those who want a real appreciate for what these very talented musicians are capable of, you’ll have to track down a rare and special live performance.

Good luck if you do.

For More Information: Jojo Mayer


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