As part of Trevor Horn’s team of technological wizards in the 1980s, JJ Jeczalik emerged as the pre-eminent Fairlight programmer of the day, primarily as one fifth of the art-pop collective, Art of Noise, but also in projects ranging from ABC and Dollar to Yes and Malcolm McLaren.
Describing himself as not a keyboard player, JJ brought his programming skills and talent to bear on a wide range of successful and ground-breaking recordings that were at the vanguard of how cutting edge technology shaped not just the sound of pop music but how pop music itself was made.
00:30 - Introduction
01:29 - What was your path into the industry?
10:17 - The importance of ABC and meeting Anne and Gary
13:18 - Duck Rock and the McLaren Influence
20:16 - You don’t say no to Yes
27:14 - Yes embracing the Fairlight
28:37 - The birth of Art of Noise
34:19 - Into Battle!
35:45 - In demand
38:51 - The weight of influence
46:53 - Taking Art of Noise on the road, then and now
JJ Jeczalik - Biog
Jonathan Edward Stephen Jeczalik fell into the music industry during a gap year whilst staying with friends in London. He promoted a gig by the group Landscape, featuring the similarly technology-obsessed Richard James Burgess before eventually coming to the attention of Trevor Horn via his Buggles bandmate, Geoff Downes.
During the 1980s, JJ worked on numerous projects that were both innovative and influential as well as hugely successful, including ABC’s Lexicon Of Love, Malcolm McLaren’s Duck Rock, Yes’ 90125 and Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s debut album, Welcome To The Pleasuredome. He also worked with artists ranging from Kate Bush to Paul McCartney, Scritti Politti to Godley & Creme and Pet Shop Boys to Shakin’ Stevens!
JJ left the industry and became a teacher of ICT until his retirement but has since revived his music career, performing live under numerous variations of the Art of Noise name at venues such as the British Library and the hugely successful Let’s Rock '80s revival festivals.
Interviewer: Rob Puricelli - Biog
Rob Puricelli is a Music Technologist and Instructional Designer who has a healthy obsession with classic synthesizers and their history. In conjunction with former Fairlight Studio Manager, Peter Wielk, he fixes and restores Fairlight CMI’s so that they can enjoy prolonged and productive lives with new owners. He also writes reviews and articles for Sound On Sound, his own website, Failed Muso, and other music-related publications, as well as hosting a weekly livestream on YouTube for the Pro Synth Network and guesting on numerous music technology podcasts and shows. He also works alongside a number of manufacturers, demonstrating their products and lecturing at various educational and vocational establishments about music technology.
About the Electronic Music podcast channel
On this channel we feature some of the pioneers of the industry, interview musicians and talk about retro and current gear.
Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon or wherever you get your podcasts.