Following sold out tours dates across the US, Europe and the UK, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox have announced their first New Zealand and Australian tour and arrive in New Zealand at the end of this week! We caught up with the eponymous leader ahead of the tour and PMJ were kind enough to offer Glory Days tickets to give away to the Auckland and Wellington shows. Read on to find out more about the man behind PMJ and how you can score yourself a double pass to the show!
There is a very good possibility that you may have seen or heard of the terrific musical collective known as Postmodern Jukebox on an array of social media platforms. These clever and talented performances take contemporary pop hits and reincarnate them into a superb, vintage-flavored songbook standard from the last century.
Imagine a Beyoncé, Britney Spears or Taylor Swift song reworked as if they were earmarked for Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, or Nina Simone and accompanied by a rousing mini-big band that sounds like a cheekier Benny Goodman Orchestra on Red Bull.
The man behind PMJ, Scott Bradlee, began his career as a jazz pianist during high school with a standing gig at a local eatery; he began his career as a pop-cultural provocateur during high school with a “this might be cool” ragtime medley of classic rock songs. “Not much has changed,” he says of the lyrical content of pop music. “In the 1920s, in the ’60s and ’70s, today – it’s still about love and drinking and dancing.” We caught up with Scott before his tour down under to find out a little more about the internet pop remix sensation.
Photo by Braverijah Gregg
How do you choose the songs to rework?
I like to pick songs that are familiar to a lot of people, and twist them in ways that often give the lyrics a new context. For example, Taylor Swift's recent hit, "Style" had a reference to James Dean in the chorus, so I built our version around that reference and turned it into a full "Grease"-style production.
Has there ever been a song that you just couldn't make work?
If a song is already retro sounding, it's a bit tricky to go anywhere from there. For example, in Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk," they nailed the '70s funk vibe so well that it already sounds like it was recorded back in time.
You have reworked songs into every era's style of music it seems - which is your favourite and why?
New Orleans jazz is what led me to music in the first place, so there will always be a soft spot in my heart for that. It's fun, brassy, bawdy music to play, and in some ways, it was the original nightclub music. That sound is definitely a big influence on my work with PMJ
What are your goals for PMJ?
I want to give everyone in the world a chance to experience PMJ live. We have some of the best musicians and vocalists in the world touring with us, and the reception that we've received from audiences proves that live music played by live musicians is still alive and well. We know there's a demand for this kind of classic entertainment, and we're determined to fulfill it.
For more about Post Modern Jukebox visit their Facebook page and YouTube channel.
To win a double pass to their Auckland or Wellington show this week visit our Facebook page.