Zigzagging through genres: an interview with Jockstrap

Jockstrap is one of the most unpredictable music projects we had at MOMO Festival in 2022. Put on any of their songs and you’re going to zigzag through lo-fi bossa nova beats, orchestral sounds, glam rock guitar solos and trap drum machines. They exalt contrast with their playful experimentation and every track becomes a surreal room in their electro-pop fortress. We wanted to explore the realm of their influences, so we asked the duo about the evolution of their music taste.

Georgia Ellery (violinist, lyricist and singer of the duo) initiates the conversations talking about different phases of music she discovered, from researching alternative electronic music to going back to classic 70s albums. By the time she started Guildhall conservatory and met Taylor Skye (producer of the duo), she was switching from jazz to dance music, which is what he used to listen to and they became besties through that.

Taylor, who was studying Electronic Music in the same conservatory, refers especially to his peers as major influences. “The thing that changes when you go to music school is that you start listening to other people a lot, so you start being influenced by people you’re around, not necessarily by their style, but their energy. It’s really inspiring”. And that kind of energy spreads infectiously, generating an exciting and progressive environment. He mentions their friends Lewis Evans [from Black Country, New Road] and Ethan P. Flynn who were doing experimental performances, but also Guildhall alumni, like Mica Levi.

This vibrant atmosphere led them to merge different styles, including their own personal peculiarities: it’s the case of Georgia’s pop-ballad songwriting and Taylor’s dubsteppy production in the EP Wicked City“Those elements clashing together…it started things”, says Georgia, and the friends’ synergy is an important component of their creation. One of the two comes up with an initial input (a beat or a song structure) and they start exchanging demos and ideas. Sometimes one of the two would take over some bits during the composition process and that inevitably crafts new sections, bringing the songs to unexplored directions. This is why you can hear vocals gliding on celestial piano chords, extremely processed and unrecognisable or drown in sharp synths.

Jockstrap’s strength is attention to details and their sophisticated arrangement are a consequence of their team work. “I think we both like to be meticulous about things and we both have our parts that we want to do in our space, just being able to experiment”.
The song City Hell really reflects their process: the lyrics present a feeling of emotional and physical instability, complemented by sounds that constantly sway in pitch and dynamics.

Jockstrap were going to kick off their spring tour at MOMO Festival 2022 and we expected a bit of everything to happen in front of the stage: sing-alongs, club vibes, mosh pits. When asked what they expect from the new audience they were going to meet, they simply reply mostly people our age, used to and fond of a variety of music genres. I guess the answer is very explicit in the video of their latest single 50/50, filmed during one of their sweat-soaked shows in London.
With its towering beat – constructed by Taylor in bed whilst recovering from tonsillitis – 50/50 hints at the increasingly unpredictable new gears Jockstrap are able to move through at any given moment.

Interview: Bianca Raicu, Luca Dattisi
Photos: Luca Strano