Here is all you need to know about J-Zbel: the group was officially formed in Lyon in 2015 by three artists who had already made their names locally under a variety of different guises. Since then, J-Zbel have gone about cementing their place at the forefront of the latest generation of Lyon-based electronic artists to make waves in their hometown and beyond. Having cut their teeth in the city’s underground clubs, where they were able to push their taste for experimentation to its absolute limits, they have developed a unique capacity to turn every live show and DJ set into a furious feast of anarchy.
J-Zbel are one of the acts most closely associated with BFCM, the local imprint whose sound, image and artistic outlook they have helped to shape. Much like their label, J-Zbel believe in absolute creative freedom, possessing a rare ability to break down the traditional boundaries of sound, mode and genre. Yet the trio are not about to start shouting their achievements from the rooftops. They prefer to let their actions do the talking, as demonstrated by the sonic invention that they have (not so) subtly concealed behind titles such as How i made my mom and sis' sexbot slaves (2015) and Hyena sticks head in elephant butt (2016), their two EPs released by BFDM.
The two tracks on How i made my mom and sis' sexbot slaves, the debut EP released in 2015, serve as a perfect distillation of J-Zbel’s singular aesthetic approach: an arresting introduction to the group’s wide array of influences, ranging from jungle to gabber, from 666 to Front 242, weaved together with breathless flair. Hard-hitting and hard-dancing, this was part-EP, part-statement of intent. The trio’s sound evolved further over the course of 2016’s Hyena sticks head in elephant butt and the two tracks that appeared on Rends l’argent, jointly pressed by BFDM and L.I.E.S in late-2017. By choosing to take their foot off the accelerator just occasionally, they have allowed space for other emotions to emerge on their recordings. The result is an entirely unique style that has caught the attention of specialist media outlets including The Ransom Note, Resident Advisor and French magazine Trax. The three members have also produced a podcast for Digital Tsunami on which they discuss their eclectic tastes and turntable mastery.
In conjunction with their recordings, J-Zbel’s burgeoning reputation has been further cemented by their live appearances. The trio’s music is constructed in front of the audience’s eyes, transforming each time they perform to create a genuine one-of-a-kind experience. This is live music as creation, to the extent that BFDM released 2016’s J-Zbel live 75021 (at 6b), the recording of a set in Paris entirely made up of previously unheard material. Over the last 3 years, the group have played their way into the affections of club and festival programmers far and wide. From Denmark to Australia, not to mention their native France, the name J-Zbel has appeared on the bill at globally-renowned venues, including the Rex Club in Paris, the Nuits Sonores festival in Lyon, ://allabout blank in Berlin, Zoo in Geneva and Corsica Studios in London.
2018 promises to be an exceptional year even by J-Zbel’s standards, with a US tour, an appearance at the Katharsis festival and the release of their debut album on BFDM all in the pipeline.