BENGALURU: Jojo Mayer describes his career as colourful and dynamic with a gradual sense of change. Known for bringing together jazz, drums and bass and jungle music from his influences, his style of play has been termed as unique with a distinct sound.
On Saturday, the drums and percussion maestro along with his band Nerve played at The Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru. On his second visit to the city, Mayer recalls Zakir Hussain as one of biggest influences in the field of percussion with his versatile style of play. “I listen to his work, who, in my view, is one of the masters of percussion culture in the world. You simply cannot ignore it,” he said. Mayer also takes note of Bengaluru’s rich music culture, which he claims to be inspiring when it comes to his work.
Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Mayer’s affair with music was inspired by his father Vali Mayer, who was a musician and bass player. This influence led Mayer to teach himself how to play the drums, which landed him an opportunity with the Monty Alexander Group. This brought him recognition and later, he went on to collaborate with jazz legends, Dizzy Gillespie and Nina Simone.
In 1989, Mayer moved to New York, which brought along a whole new perspective in music. “The best jazz musicians came from New York, but as I got there, I realised that it wasn’t the same atmosphere. I played other genres like hip hop, rock, rhythm and blues and then electronic music caught my music. That’s when jungle music came about,” he said.
Mayer would further go on to put together Nerve in 1996, a band which started as an experiment at Prohibited Beatz, a series of parties he would host and soon evolved into an integral part of his career. Nerve comprises John Davis, Bass, Jacob Bergson, Keys & Synths, Aaron Nevizie, Sound and Realtime Audio Deconstruction. “The original incarnation of Nerve had downtown musicians and further evolved into the brand it is today after changes over time,” said Mayer.
Speaking about his upcoming projects, Mayer said he aims to collaborate for films and give talks in various fields. In mid-2019, he addressed an audience at the AI for Good Summit held at the United Nations in Geneva on the subject of automation and artificial intelligence and how it is taking over the daily routine. “It is important that in the age of AI, we don’t surrender to a machine. It would be a profound mistake but as long as we refrain from it, our position in the food chain won’t surrender to the machine,” he added.