PHOTO CREDIT: Alexander Michaelis
Jack Tyson Charles
ONE of those records that get into the ears and fills the mind…
with visions, possibilities and emotions – that is what one can say when experiencing a single hit of Restoration. It is the latest E.P. from Jack Tyson Charles and a creation I was keen to learn more about. He talks to me about Restoration and what the reception has been to it; why a recent gig with George Clinton and Parliament was so special and how influential London is to his work ethic and creativity.
Being Craig Charles’ son, I had to ask how inspiring and important his dad’s music and passion was. Jack Tyson Charles pays tribute to a hugely vital role model and what it has been like playing alongside him. Looking ahead, I ask whether there will be any more recordings this year and (ask) the three albums that mean the most to him.
Restoration is your E.P. – released at the latter-end of last year. Have you been surprised by the positive reaction it received? Looking back, did you achieve and say everything in the E.P. you were hoping to?
I wasn’t really surprised by the positive reaction. The one the thing that is apparent when you independently release a record is how much feedback I have to self-generate. It was a really momentous occasion releasing the E.P. and then selling out the launch at The Jazz Café on a Tuesday night!
I was extremely warmed by the reaction I got and the subsequent interest. I’m slightly disappointed it didn’t reach the amount of people I would have liked.
But, also, realistic about how much responsibility rested with me and my team considering the independent way in which we got it out there.
I think the people who know my music and the journey I had been on to get it there would really appreciate the end result. That and everybody else lucky enough to have it bless their ear-drums – if you know what I mean!?
Wouldn’t You Know is my favourite track from the E.P. What can you reveal about that song and its origins?
It comes from being in a place where I really had to start evaluating my state of mind and – starting to make sense and articulate – almost storyboard the place that I was in. It was a vivid way of using the metaphors (I used) to paint a really informative picture of being at the mercy of other powers.
I feel it’s a song where I really managed to link the words with my reality – in the most poetic sense I could.
2017 is here so you must be thinking about new material. Is there an E.P. in-the-works at all?
2017 has been a different process, as much as I yearn to move on. There has been a real sense of having to honour the record, Restoration, and play as many live shows as possible with the band that made it possible.
At the end of the summer, I am going to take a real break from the gigging and focus on what my next move is.
But, for now, I am happy to give this record as many send-offs as it deserves and is possible!
You have just played a couple of London shows – at Old Street Records (28th April) and Pop Brixton (29th). You have a few dates in the capital in the coming months and a slot at Glastonbury. Is there a gig you are especially looking forward to?
The boys at Soundcrash, who have supported me for a long while, booked my band to support George Clinton and Parliament at the Funk and Soul Weekender – which happened to fall on my birthday, May 13th.
Of course, it is not just you on stage – you have your band in support. Can you tell me about them and how you all sort of came together?
It’s been a long journey. The last five years or so I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and playing with so many talented musicians who have leant me their ears, their souls and, most importantly, their time.
Whilst everybody has their teeth in projects of their own, I’ve been lucky enough to have them help me realise the vision in my songwriting. I am looking forward to the time when they can call upon me to gratefully return the favour – If I’m lucky enough!
PHOTO CREDIT: Benjamin Eagle Photography
Obviously, Funk and Soul are big parts of your musical upbringing. Who are the artists you were raised on – those who fostered your love of the genres? Which would you recommend to us?
I was a child of the ‘90s and, before I got wind of my dad’s Funk and Soul love story, I was listening to anything from Oasis to Frank Sinatra; Michael Jackson to the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Wu-Tang Clan, Outkast; Lauryn Hill and Stevie Wonder.
With my dad’s influence, later came The Beatles, James Brown; Gil Scott-Heron, Herbie Hancock; Led Zeppelin, Aretha Franklin and so on…
I have to bring up your father, Craig Charles. He is a huge champion and aficionado of Funk and Soul – with popular shows on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2. How influential is he to you? Has he been one of the main driving forces behind your music career?
My dad is as influential as he wants to be. He is a stalwart of the game. I feel I came to music on my own terms, though.
I started out as a drummer and have always been interested in rhythm. My dad’s influence came later in life with the emergence of his radio show and the plethora of music we had access to. I feel that music would never have needed a vessel to reach me other than the sound waves.
In March, you did a warm-up set at his Funk and Soul Club. What was that experience like? Are you two going to be collaborating this year?
Being involved with my dad’s shows is always a pleasure: his crowd is energetic, responsive and must be addictive to play to. Every time I’ve supported him we’ve been so well-received. The one downside being that the old man himself is normally too late to make my stage time. Being that it is on Saturdays – his radio show goes ‘til midnight – and, on Friday, he’s more often than not touring the country with his Funk and Soul D.J. sets.
The time he has made the live show, most notably the E.P launch at The Jazz Cafe, he has been blown away by the support I’ve managed to garner; especially in my home town of London.
I’ll add that he is a man that never stays in one place: always striving to push forward with his ideas and championing other acts at every opportunity.
There are few artists as dedicated and naturally suited to the London lifestyle. Where about in London are you situated at the moment and how do the city and its citizens impact your music and sound?
I’m situated between Manor House and Crouch End. I have a lot of ties with warehouse communities in that and other areas. They have spawned their own kind of musical hubs and provided me with hugely liberating, fulfilling experiences. London can often feel like the centre of the world BUT it’s easy to take for granted the opportunities available in the wider reaches of the country (for a start).
My city has always been kind to me and the support that I get helps stimulate my ambitions; also gives me great belief that I can reach as many people as possible
Basically, I feel that London doesn’t always have to be the epicentre from which I can progress.
Already, you have done and achieved so much. Is there a single memory or gig that sticks in the mind? That one you would love to preserve forever?
Single memory or gig…?
I really enjoyed my time gigging and touring with Lack of Afro. I debuted on five tracks for his album, Music for Adverts. I enjoyed my first experience of touring, which culminated with a barnstorming show at Concorde 2 in Brighton – which, I can happily say, was the most polished and professional (and magnificent) I have felt on stage to date.
Other than that, selling out my Restoration E.P. launch at The Jazz Café, on a Tuesday night, to my whole London family on 22nd November, 2016 – that would my seminal moment to date. The feeling of being able to have your own released and accessible music for the first time will take some topping. But top it I will!
If you had to select the three albums that have meant most to you which would they be and why?
An album of summer anthems that my dad had probably got in The Daily Mail when I was six.
It had classics like I Don’t Like Cricket (Dreadlock Holiday), Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go; Sunshine on a Rainy Day and Will Smith’s (DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince) Summertime! We listened to it on repeat for three consecutive summers whilst driving from Somerset to Devon – me and my dad both singing hysterically with the windows on his Roller down and my hands out the window skimming the air.
Earth, Wind & Fire: Earth, Wind & Fire.
No descriptions needed.
Because I fuck*ng love them and I’m too tired to explain why. But, if pushed, I’d say Outkast because it was during a time when I would memorise the lyrics that I liked.
I also like the fact that you could still buy records that had the lyrics on sleeves – even those as intricate as Outkast’s!
Are there any new/upcoming artists you advise we keep an eye out for this year at all?
What advice would you give to any new artists coming through right now?
My advice to new artists would be to get in a band; rehearse fu*k-loads. Believe in your sound; do what feels right and always remember that your inner-voice is the real you.
Don’t let anything get in the way of the inner-you.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
David Gray – Babylon
Funkadelic – I’ll Stay
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PHOTO CREDIT: Alexander Michaelis