This is an archive of the band profile for Juma.
What is a Juma? Well it depends on whom you ask… To some it’s a dance riddled drug fuelled monster of funky rock and roll. To others it’s an incredibly tight and boundary pushing beast of a band who’s relentless beat has rocked dance floors and brought light into the dingiest of venues.
The Juma monster was brought to life by two crazed chemists in the forests of Knaresborough – North Yorkshire. Russ Watson (guitar) and Michael Morritt (vocal) sculpted the primordial Juma from bits of cassette tape and Valium whilst spending their evenings in the inspirational surroundings of Back to Basics in Leeds. It was the turn of the millennium; the club scene was waning and the acid house vibe was giving way to a more corporate and fashion-orientated hoi-te-toi scene. The original Juma animal danced to the beat of an acoustic duo with the two scientists sharing the song writing process in various states of disrepair in a tiny flat above a bookie’s. Using a Roland 303, a Casio keyboard, Russ’ Epiphone Sheraton and a couple of mates “The Monkey Tapes,” were created, which were basically an extended jam of five tunes that compounded the dance and rock/indie influences of the two along with the strange transmittance of live Horse races below picked up by a decrepit stereo. The tapes were the factor that pushed Russ and Mike in to recruiting a highly skilled team to control the power of their creation.
Whilst indulging in a spot of surfing on the River Nidd the intrepid two came across Dave Nicholson (bass), Matt Bell (lead guitar) and Tesco (drums). The three had been floundering after the good ship Alter Blue had been sacked by the pirates of Harrogate its equipment stolen and its captain taken away for a stay at Her Majesties Pleasure to recover from a severe bout of scurvy. The quality Rock and Roll that the Alter Blue had purveyed was absorbed into Juma and the creation was ready to unleash on the public.
After months of hard rocking gigs and parties the Juma beast was faced with a problem – their tunes were too far away from the dance music that had inspired chemists Watson and Morritt in the first place. They sent the Juma in to the wilderness of Lancashire and it returned with a wild Ee (Ian Mclaughlin – percussion) who brought a new verve and pace to the show. Their line-up complete the crew embarked on a mission to spread their ‘ecstasy-panic fuelled rock and roll’ amongst the unsuspecting masses of Great Britain.
The name Juma was inspired by one of Russ’s major influences - Jimi Hendrix: Juma Sultan was Hendrix’ bongo player at Woodstock. Other influences range from Joy Division to The Rapture, The Beatles to the Beach Boys, The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, Lemon Jelly and Underworld. Indeed Juma is constantly absorbing influences and growing bigger and better all the time, however as Juma evolves it is becoming increasingly difficult to compare them to any other band as the Juma sound is one of a kind.
The Juma sound has evolved over time to become a swaggering, urgent danceable rock and roll monster and has begun to turn heads with the live performances across the country. Notably at some of the best known venues in the North including the Cockpit in Leeds where they have played to over 500 people and supported The Complete Stone Roses and Proud Mary and also at the Night and Day Café and the Roadhouse in Manchester. Along with this Juma have continued in the festival vain of their very first gig, the Life Goes On Festival in Wetherby, and have been booked to play this year’s Badfest supporting the legendary Blockheads. Most impressively Juma have been confirmed as one of the best bands in the highly competitive Leeds scene by gaining entry to the finals of the Futuresound Leeds Festival Qualifying Competition. The results of this are to be announced at the beginning of August.
Juma collaborated with international Sony award winning producer Roger Angus at Viking FM and the 6-time Grammy award nominated Brad Blackwood at Euphonic Masters in Memphis, Tennessee, to produce Radio Elite – their second EP. Which was very well received. The band have recently been working with Steve Whitfield at HD1 in Huddersfield (The Cure, Shed Seven , Four day Hombre, Clint Boon, 10 000 Things, XC-NN, Buen Chico) for their next EP Gross National Happiness scheduled for release early September on Bag recordings – their management label..