The past five years has seen Worm Disco Club dominate the contemporary jazz scene here in Bristol. Initially intended an events night which saw them host nu-jazz heavyweights such as Joe Armon-Jones and The Comet Is Coming, Worm Disco Club are keen to put Bristol on the map with the release of New Horizons – A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound.
This is the first release under their new record label – aptly titled Worm Discs – it sees the likes of Run Logan Run, Snazzback and Waldo’s Gift offering their different takes on the genre-bending world that is ‘jazz’.
I managed to chat to Jackson Lapes of Worm Disco Club, we discussed their infamous Wormhole Stage at Glastonbury, how the Bristol scene fares to the rest of the world and all of their Worm Discs endeavours.
Congrats on the very first release of Worm Discs! It’s been a long time coming. How did you approach and curate the final collection of artists?
Thank you! The process of curating the artists was quite open-ended to begin with! We had been really into all the bands for as long as we’d seen them perform around town, and all these guys have been around for a while now. We started to approach and chat to some of the artists at their gigs and then the seed grew from there! We wanted the album to have a collaborative nature to begin with, so all the music was recorded in the same studio and
some of the bands did some collaborations between each other too, like with Waldo’s Gift featuring Lyrebird (A.k.a. Dave Sanders from Snazzback). We also wanted to showcase some individual talent which was why we included the solo interlude pieces. It was great to have all the artists come on board with lots of great suggestions for stuff along the way and we definitely feel the process of making this record has helped strengthen bonds between people!
Bristol has a huge jazz scene and New Horizons is a perfect example of the different interpretations of the genre. From the galvanised intensity of Run Logan Run, to Snazzback’s swarming sax solos and silvery vocals from China Bowls. Do you feel as though this is a true representation of what Bristol has to offer?
We tend to use the term Jazz in inverted commas because it’s so open ended. Especially nowadays as the boundaries become so blurred. Jazz has been in existence for so long it has taken so many different forms, for us we use that word as we view improvisation as being one of the key elements which ties all this different stuff together. An album like this will only ever be able to capture a moment in time and there’s so many other artists we love that have totally different sounds which didn’t feature. That’s why it’s called “A Bristol Jazz
Sound” and not “The…” Just look at Tezeta or Dakhla Brass for example, who have a really distinctive sound, featuring some of Bristols finest players, or a more classic Jazz sound from people like Jonny Bruce or The Jazz Defenders. There’s also younger groups like Prudent Primate and Rwkus Collective who have a completely different set of influences, so it’s very broad indeed!
Your venue at Glastonbury, The Wormhole, featured some absolute heavyweights in the jazz scene. More specifically, the London jazz scene. Seeing the likes of Joe Armon-Jones, Ezra Collective and The Comet Is Coming take to the stage. How do you think Bristol compares to its rival?
Well! It’s not really good to think of London as any kind of rival to Bristol because obviously with the UK being so small all cities influence each other so much! Like the artists you mention, there’s been a lot of amazing jazz acts coming out of London in the past few years. Musically there’s similarities, but culturally there is a big difference in the pace of the cities and the general makeup of the city. The Bristol scene is obviously far smaller, which is really nice in a way as literally everyone knows everyone and I think the more relaxed vibe of Bristol make it really different too. I feel one of the main things which Bristol lacks (compared to London) is a music college such as Trinity or Guildhall which attracts many of the best Jazz musicians. I’ve only ever lived around the South West so I can’t really make a personal comparison, but I definitely know I wouldn’t want to change the Bristol scene any time soon.
Do you have any plans of a release party when things begin to open?
We did have a two day takeover of Fiddlers in Bedminster planned as part of the Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival but unfortunately we had to cancel! We’re well keen to get back to events but we have to wait until we have the right opportunity to make it work for everyone in a safe way. We definitely want to host a big party for people to let their hair down and feel the healing benefits of live music, as people have been kept indoors for too long now without it! It will definitely feel like a big relief when we can finally get all of these bands on the same bill at a real gig!
You’re also notorious for mammoth events, the one that comes to mind is Joe Armon-Jones when he performed at The Exchange. What is your dream line up? And is there anybody that you’re itching to book?
Dream lineup….now that’s a question, and it would probably cause a massive argument between us. We’d all love to book Hermeto Pascoal, the Brazilian jazz legend, but it’s a bit tricky in a city as small as Bristol! We’re really digging the scene up in Glasgow at the moment, with really energetic bands like corto.alto and AKU! and DJs like Rebecca Vasmant, so we’re definitely keen to get them down as soon as we can – let’s see!
What does 2021 hold for Worm Discs?
Next year we want to carry on working hard to promote the Bristol scene to the rest of the UK and the world, so you can definitely expect to have more home-grown music. I wouldn’t want to say that we will 100% stick to just Bristolian artists though mind, as we do want to push other regional areas of the UK that we feel don’t get enough limelight. Hopefully we will all be able to get back to gigs and the summer festival season can return! Format wise, we will be doing some digital releases and also vinyl for the purists and collectors out there! Thanks to everyone for the support so far, and we’re really excited for the future. Keep it wrigglin’!
Main image by Jasmine Farndon
Listen to New Horizons – A Bristol ‘Jazz’ Sound here: https://wormdiscs.bandcamp.com/album/new-horizons-a-bristol-jazz-sound
Read more: Review: Run Logan Run, The Lanes