JACK OR JIVE

biography - 28.02.2010 06:05

JACK OR JIVE

The history of this duo began in 1989, when Chako and Makoto Hattori teamed up and formed JACK OR JIVE. In the following year, they released a nine-track demo recording entitled EXPATRIATION, which was only available at a CD shop in Osaka. This release was accompanied by a live performance at a regional club, but unfortunately they were not able to make a large impression on the audience at that time. Then Chako and Makoto tried their luck by sending their demo to a small German label, DOM.

Seduced by the unconventional music of the band, the label suggested they release their first album based on the demo. However, aware of the poor quality of the sound, the band offered instead to record new tracks. In May, JACK OR JIVE improvised a street performance in Arashiyama, Kyoto. Conditions were far from ideal, but the duo enjoyed watching the astounded faces of passers-by as they performed.

In 1991, JACK OR JIVE's debut album, PRAYER, became available through a new German label DRADOMEL, born from DRAGNET RECORDS and DOM ELCHKLANG. Despite the limitations due to lack of equipment during their recording, their music turned out to be interesting and original. That year, the duo had only one live performance and were busy with the task of writing and recording of new tracks.

In early 1992, an SP vinyl was released, which included (DURA)² DU and TO YOUR RISE, both from the EXPATRIATION demo. In May, while Chako was still recovering from food poisoning, JACK OR JIVE gave their first concert in Germany, in Aachen, as THE LEGENDARY PINK DOTS' opening act. In December the same year, MUJYO, JACK OR JIVE's second album was ready to hit the stores .

During their stay in Germany in May 1992, Chako and Makoto met Christoph Heeman (H.N.A.S. member and DOM label's co-founder). The result of that meeting was the forming of the band SECLUSION. Chako and Makoto Hattori stayed in Germany and recorded with him before returning to Japan. In June 1993, SECLUSION's first album, YUKIGAFURU, was released under the German label SOME FINE LEGACY. Chako and Makoto then considered producing an album of tracks with a more pop-like, lighter sound so they gave birth to JACK OR JIVE Lights and began to record new titles with this concept in mind.

In January 1994, JACK OR JIVE gave a performance in Kyoto. Chako's vocals at this concert were completely improvised, but the result was so interesting that the duo decided to release a live album. A few months later, in April, KAGURA LIVE IN KYOTO was released. In May, the band found themselves once again in Germany. There, they shot a video for their parallel project JACK OR JIVE Lights and gave a live performance at the Aachen Museum's subterranean hall, where they were a huge success. July saw the release of the maxi-CD A PICTURE OF A DANCER, the first release of JACK OR JIVE Lights, exhibiting their lighter "pop side". This was followed four months later by the album A SOLO EXHIBITION. The duo's journey into new musical territories provoked questions from fans who feared that this style change would be a permanent one. The duo hastened to reassure the fans, confirming that JACK OR JIVE Lights was simply a parallel project. At the end of the year, Chako began recording her first solo album.

January 1995 was a significant moment for the duo as this was a year when a tremendous earthquake occurred in Kobe which caused more than 5,000 deaths. The studio that the band had been using in Nishinomiya (a town near Kobe) was completely destroyed. This tragedy shocked the duo quite badly and throughout the year they were very depressed. However, one particular highlight of this year was that Chako and Makoto had the chance to converse with famous movie director Peter Greenaway, a Welsh film director famous for his controversial, visually aesthetic yet very disturbing films.

In the summer of 1995, Yuzen artist Seizo Inoue, a friend of the duo who created the costumes for Chako and Makoto to wear for several of the duo's concerts as well as art covers for JACK OR JIVE, entrusted them with the musical work for his 'Tengokuraku' fashion show/exhibition. The event was set for December and Chako performed live on stage.

In February the following year, Chako's solo album, ebb & flow was released. Despite this being supposedly a Chako solo effort, it is apparent that Makoto was involved as its production is credited under JACK OR JIVE's name.

In January 1997, JACK OR JIVE's fourth album KENKA hit the stores. The album was filled with deep feelings of melancholy and JACK OR JIVE dedicated it to "those who left this world without attaining their aims." Following the release, communication problems between the duo and their current label began. Chako and Makoto considered ending their collaboration with their label and Prikosnovénie offered them a new contract. Also that year, Chako visited Christoph Heemann and the two artists began discussing SECLUSION's next album.

In April 1998, the duo released a mini-album entitled Tidal current under the Prikosnovénie label. In the same year, the duo had three previously unreleased tracks featured on the compilation IRIS,also from the same label. In October, JACK OR JIVE returned to Germany and performed a solo act in Munster. Despite being rather ill during the day of her performance, Chako confessed later in an interview for a French magazine that it was the best moment in her life.

Throughout 1999, Prikosnovénie released three of the duo's CDs. First, a new album entitled THE EARTH and a re-issue of MUJYO in May, which includes four bonus tracks, followed by a re-issue of PRAYER on December 24th, also including four new tracks. Chako and Makoto then organized two concerts in Germany in October, in Aachen and Hanau. They took this opportunity to record with Christoph Heemann some new tracks intended for SECLUSION's second album, which unfortunately, was ultimately never released.

Just over a week before the re-issue of PRAYER, opera singer Noriko Yamamoto gave JACK OR JIVE the responsibility of being in charge of the music for the Legend of BIWAKO opera performance at Shiga Biwako Hall. A crowd of 1400 gathered to see the event and it was quite a success despite mixed reviews.

In February 2000, JACK OR JIVE gave a performance in Kobe at a Seizo Inoue fashion show with music written by the band specially for the event. In October, Prikosnovénie released the album KISMET. On December 2nd, JACK OR JIVE decided to make a partnership with video artists Optical Sisters for their final concert of the millennium in Himeji. Also in December, a selection of tracks written for Noriko Yamamoto's opera OPERA - legend of BIWAKO - was released in vinyl by Low Life. At the same time, WHITE RABBIT RECORDS, a new German label, also released a vinyl, GYAKKOU.

Satisfied by their collaboration with Optical Sisters, Chako and Makoto decided to repeat the experience in Germany the following year. Two concerts were set in February of 2001: one in an old castle near Nuremberg on the 8th, and the other at an old restaurant at the Wiesbaden train station on the 10th. In May, Chako tried out two collaborations: one with GOR, also known as Francesco Banchini; and the other with LYS, also known as Frédéric Chaplain. Frédéric Chaplain is also the manager of Prikosnovénie. These collaborations were included in the the second volume of the compilation BELLADONNE, along with one new JACK OR JIVE song.

On March 13th, 2002, the duo set a live concert at Zeitgeist, a club in Taipei. This was the band's first live in an Asian country outside Japan. On May 26th, they performed in Tokyo at make-up artist Noboru Tamura's conference. Chako and Makoto then proceeded to Italy to record new tracks with GOR. In September JACK OR JIVE was back in Taiwan and performed at the famous Formoz festival, alongside other Japanese bands such as Mono and Brahman. At the end of December, Soleil, the album resulting from JACK OR JIVE and GOR's collaboration, became available under the Prikosnovénie label. At that time, WHITE RABBIT RECORDS released the duo's new album, TOWARDS THE EVENT HORIZON.

In February of 2003, invited by Alio Die (Stefano Musso), the band returned to Italy, where they recorded an album together. On the 14th of February, the duo performed at Shick & Schön, a German club in Mainz. In April, JACK OR JIVE began working on a new record. On December 6th, the band gave their very first performance in Hong Kong. While JACK OR JIVE did not release anything that year, a previously unreleased track from the collaboration with GOR became available on the Prikosnovénie compilation Fairy World.

2004 was a productive year for the duo and offered no less than three new releases. First was a new vinyl under WHITE RABBIT RECORDS, LIFE, with tracks written in 1991 before the debut album, but significantly reworked. The war in Iraq initiated by the United States provided JACK OR JIVE's motivation for their next release, and thirty percent of the profit was transferred to associations aiding underprivileged Gulf people. The duo didn't hide their incomprehension and its bitterness towards the American government's behaviour and decided to drive the point home with ABSURDITY, a fresh new album which included the track MY FELLOW CITIZENS, which included a sample of a speech by the US president of that time. In the same year Prikosnovénie re-issued KENKA. Among the five bonus tracks of that new edition was 1.17, a track referring to the great earthquake of 1995 that the duo had removed from the earlier album just before its release.

The following year, the band performed again in their native country and in Germany. 2005 was also the first time JACK OR JIVE performed in France. On February 8th, JACK OR JIVE gave a concert at la Locomotive, alongside two French bands. For their first Parisian concert, the duo initiated the sales of the mini-album FACE THE MUSIC, which included tracks recorded between 2000 and 2004. Also released in 2005 was the album MEI-JYU, the product of the duo's collaboration with Alio Die.

In 2006, JACK OR JIVE headed off to Italy and Greece - the duo performed in Modena on November 4th, and in Athens on the 7th. At the end of December, JACK OR JIVE presented its fans with the release of a three-CD box set ISSIN, under the Hong Kong label Ultra-Mail Prod. The set included previously unreleased tracks since their debut, although most of them have been reworked. Although the year of JACK OR JIVE's official formation is said to be 1989, some of the tracks on the release were credited from 1988.

In June 2007, the duo performed in Tokyo along with other bands, including German industrial/experimental band GENOCIDE ORGAN. In November, Chako and Makoto took part in a new exhibition of their friend and collaborator Seizo Inoue. They also announced on their official website that they were contacted by Japanese experimental band contagious orgasm for a collaboration. And most importantly, the mixing of their new album, entitled KAKUGO, was just beginning.

JACK OR JIVE's fame and international fan base have proven to us that music definitely has neither border nor language barrier. With their unique musical style and seemingly boundless energy, this is a band worth paying attention to.
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