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Byron Shire
May 15, 2021

Interview with Jono Ma AKA Jagwa Ma

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Locura Byron Bay | Thursday | 5pm | $30

Landing in the Bay on Thursday, Valentine’s Day, for the first time ever is the one and only Floating Points. Both an outstanding producer and a deep-digging DJ, Sam Shepherd is revered as one of the most respected musicians in modern electronic music. Joining him in the lush utopia that is Locura will be his good friend Jono Ma aka Jagwa Ma. He chats with Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points.

What’s been the most rewarding thing about running Melodies, your record label?

I started it because I noticed some of the records I was playing becoming increasingly valuable in secondhand circles. I was in touch with some of the musicians of these records, purely out of adoration. It seemed like a no-brainer to help reissue their records so that they’re not only affordable, but also so the original musician can benefit from it. 

While you were making your early releases, you were also working on your PhD in neuroscience. When did you find time to sleep? 

Hah – I enjoyed both so much it was pretty easy… I just spent all day in the lab and then all night in the studio… which happened to be my bedroom too so not much commuting!

Can you condense briefly what your PhD was about?

It’s been a while, but here it goes: I was interested in epigenetics of pain-sensing neurons, trying to unpick some of the molecular mechanisms that change in the behaviour of DNA and some of the cellular machinery following the initiation of a long-term pain state – such as occurs in neuropathies from diseases like diabetes. Describing these mechanisms uncovers potential new targets for drug developments… I miss science, but I’m sure it doesn’t miss me!

Did this influence your music at all or is it simply coincidental that you make electronic music but you also like to split atoms?

I never considered there to be any overlap in my processes; however, it was pretty handy borrowing the lab’s soldering iron to make audio cables!

How many records do you think you have currently and what is the bulk of it in terms of era, area, and genre?

8–9,000. I’m about to move house so I wish that were a lot fewer; also they’re in no order whatsoever, so there could be techno next to a Brazilian record next to a US soul record… it kind of reflects fairly accurately how I DJ too – it can be all over the place in terms of genre!

Sam Floating Points will be playing this Thursday at Locura with support by Jono Ma and local upcoming talent Jai Piccone. Doors at 5pm. $30. locura.com.au


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