I am no astronomer, but Supernovas must have something to do with extraordinary levels of energy and light speeds judging by what Jamz has accomplished so far. Born Jamilla Walters and raised in south London, she made a name for herself running her own residencies on BBC Radio 1Xtra, while moving clubs and festivals with her own blend of dance floor heat mixing gqom, kuduro, dancehall and UK funky. And while her packed touring agenda took a blow last year, she turned her energy into growing her own label – Future Bounce – bringing innovative new music club to life, while diving into podcasting with her very own DIY Handbook – an insightful series about overcoming challenges and career do’s and don’ts. We caught up with her for the release of her label’s debut album.
Here is her selection of 10 songs around her identity as a DJ, her relationship to electronic music & the Black diaspora, kind of going chronologically.
Fish Go Deep – Cure & The Cause (Dennis Ferrer Remix)
I vividly remember hearing this record for the first time, I was like 15, walking home from school, a big group of us used to walk the same way “up the hill”. A friend of mine kept playing this song from her phone and introduced it to me as UK Funky. She bluetoothed it to me and that was the beginning of my love affair with the sound. Many years later I now realize that it wasn’t actually a UK Funky track, but soulful house. But it did mark my interest as the soundtrack to my formative raving years! By the time I was legally able to rave the sound had exploded and was everywhere, my friends & I lived and breathed it, going to every rave, devouring the mix CD’s at the end of the nights, like on our first holiday sans parents in Aiya Napa , Cyprus. The holiday home of the sound and a pilgrimage most young black teens made in the 2000s.
Black Coffee (Feat. Bucie) – Superman
During my UK Funky raving days in heels and a bodycon dress through the selections of the DJ’s, I was also dancing to records like this from South Africa. Again, at the time, for me it all fell under the UK Funky umbrella. But I do remember hearing the record a few years later and finding out who Black Coffee was and where he was from. That then opened me up to finding out more about South African music. I’m so inspired by their innovation of sound and what they add to electronic music, from the soulful house side of things, Bacardi House, Gqom and more recently Amapiano, I love it all. The drum patterns are so unique and have an unapologetic African sound to them, as someone of Caribbean heritage connecting with music like this feels almost spiritual and a return to the motherland. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this.
Teedra Moses – Be Your Girl (Kaytranada Remix)
My past time since a child has always been spent looking for new music. It began with going through my parents’ collection, waiting for my uncle to bring new CD’s round and copying them off him and then boom THE INTERNET!!! From 14 it was all about Limewire for me corrupting and ruining on my travels through the ether. But Limewire was all about getting up to speed with old music I may have missed. However, Soundcloud blew my mind! New music from around the world at my fingertips. Soundcloud in 2011 restored my hope in R&B finding all these incredible strains that fused electronic music. Hearing some of my favorite R&B classics reworked into futuristic productions was so life-affirming for me. I made it my mission to support this music and build a radio show out of it. Focusing on that specialism is what helped me build a name for myself and eventually what landed me my show on BBC Radio 1Xtra. Time moves on as does sound but hearing this record will always give me chills of excitement. I think Kaytranada is a genius, again back to the drums, the syncopated claps, you know it’s him from the get-go!
Uniiqu3 – Phase 3
Jersey Club was another genre that I came across through Soundcloud. The producers and DJ’s were so unapologetic in their delivery, culturally it’s so Black and proud. Something about that resonated with me, as I was finding my feet in electronic music. I remember in some of my early sets as a DJ really trying to rep the sound on UK dancefloors and it was not always going down well, however over the years the UK has caught up… Uniiqu3 was an instant stand out for me as a producer I was in awe of. When I finally met her in 2016 we just clicked. She’s very independent of spirit & mind and just gets shit done. She’s built an empire and is extremely savvy. She was a visible Black woman touring the world with a sound dare I say it so unique!!! Jersey Club will always have a special place in my heart!
Buraka Som Sistema – Hangover (Bababa)
This record!!!!! I still play it out today, I’ve had to give myself a self-imposed ban on playing it in my DJ sets. I have rinsed it to death and given half a chance or a moment of weakness I’ll find fingers itching to play it. I have closed many a set over the years with this record! The energy is through the roof and it’s 100% a crowd pleaser even if they don’t know it. How can you not dance to this record! It served as another introduction into a world away from mine. Through this song, I became a huge Branko fan, an avid follower of his label Enchufada and opened up the door for me to explore music coming out of Portugal. I loved learning about the intersection of cultures, the Angolan, Cape Verde, Brazil, etc. merging with Euro sounds. I’m not sure what the appropriate description for it would be now, but Global club music has a massive influence on the way I DJ & the music I seek out & through it I’ve made many friends.
Toddla T & Serocee – Propellah
I had this as my very first ever dubplate! I felt so gassed that they would even take the time to make me one, Serocee’s vocals are the best in the bizness they just cut through on any track! I spent a good couple of years working on Toddla’s BBC Radio 1 show as an assistant producer and then a producer. I had already loved his show and selections but working on it I got to see it up close and be a part of it. The music I was exposed to shaped how I would begin to DJ and I thought it was brilliant how he merged the sounds of the Caribbean with the UK electronic scene to make a Bashy sound. The sound made perfect sense to me, it was my heritage and upbringing all rolled into one!
Jus Now & Dismantle (feat. Busy Signal) – Fire (Spotie)
Another record that falls under that “Bashy” umbrella! Through working on Toddla’s show I met my other half, Sam Interface, part of the duo Jus Now, who were known for fusing UK Bass & Bristolian sounds with the sounds of Trinidad. I got with Sam at a crucial point in my career, during our early months I had recently just got my show on BBC Radio 1Xtra and was starting to officially feel like a DJ. The year this came out was my biggest summer and I played it in every set either to open or close. I was proud and still am proud to play his music in my sets, he’s my favorite producer… I hate it if we are on the same bill together as a chunk of my arsenal has to be taken out as there are his records.
Hagan – Right Here
This record kicked off the Club arm of my label Future Bounce. I had always wanted Future Bounce to release Club music alongside the R&B, Soul and Alt projects. But I just didn’t know how to make it make sense, I also wanted music from my label to play in my club sets. So I thought I would do them as a series, a release a month from my fave producers to be tied into a compilation at the end of the year! Hagan was the first producer to be up for it and he gave us two absolute belters. The record has some strong support from the get-go, and just encouraged me to keep on going. I learnt an incredible amount in the last year as a label owner and this record will always remind me of the beginning of that phase of the label!
Ghetto Kumbe – Vamo a Dale Duro
I feel so lucky and blessed that I’ve had a career that has taken me around the world. Every trip I’ve been on I’ve learnt something new about myself. There is nothing I love more than connecting with the Black diaspora and music, specifically electronic music & our African heritage being what we can meet on. Being in Colombia last year was magical for that. The African culture feels so preserved and celebrated. I think also being of mixed heritage and seeing so many families that look exactly like mine, something felt homely & freeing being there. I was lucky enough to have a great host who introduced me to a wealth of music, including these guys. I can’t wait to go back!
Jaymie Silk – Dance Music Is Black Music
And lastly we end here, a poignant record from last year. Despite loving electronic music, for a long time I never truly felt I belonged and had a lot of imposter syndrome. I’d played gigs as the only person of color on the lineup, which can feel even more exaggerated when you’re the only black woman, which then feels magnified when you’re playing to a mostly all white crowd. But through my travels, the conversations of last year around Black Lives Matter, the educating myself on Black people’s role historically in electronic music and my work on the label, I don’t feel that anymore. And besides, I don’t care if I feel welcome. I’m here and I’m not going anywhere. This record embodies that for me!