Jazzberry Ram: a tasty musical sandwich

By Jen Anthony

With a name like Jazzberry Ram, it’s hard not to take notice of this band. The name originated from guitarist Drew Stewart, as he was making a sandwich while his roommate at the time was going over some potential names for his band. Years later, as Drew was putting together his own band, the name Jazzberry Ram just seemed to fit. What kind of music do these guys deliver?

"Funk, hip hop, ska… anything danceable," says Stewart of his band’s sound. "We also want to make music that will make people think… that in some way has cerebral lyrics."

Jazzberry Ram’s biggest goal is to make music that is "danceable."

"We enjoy the reaction of the fans to our music," says Stewart.

To their many fans who are frustrated with the poor quality CD released by the group, Stewart has this to say:

"We want to make a definitive record, and keep working creatively, we want a fan base that respects what we do."

Stewart admits that it’s difficult spending so much time on the road. Earlier in their career the band would spend six months a year on the road. Nowadays the time isn’t quite so great but they are still travelling a lot. According to Stewart, this can be "frustrating, tiring and difficult."

"Road travel gives you a different kind of tired and makes being creative difficult," he says.

Stewart would rather spend that time creating CDs and putting in the energy needed to develop more songs. He realizes touring gives him and the band an opportunity to create a larger fan base, and the opportunity for them to earn their keep–but at a price.

There were times when Jazzberry Ram played a work in progress for an eager crowd, only to have it crash and burn, thus destroying it. Stewart feels that creating a song is similar to " babies being formed."

"There is a gestation period, and you can’t push it or hurry it along," he says. "If you do, you end up ruining the song. There are some songs I’ve worked on for seven years, and they’re not completed… each one’s different."

So what’s the driving force behind Jazzberry Ram and their unique sound? Stewart feels it’s the desire to make music that is danceable, music that is cerebral and music that people accept as viable. Like any band they’d like to get signed by a large record label, but Stewart realizes there’s more to it than just that. He’s enjoying where this band has taken him so far, and looks forward to where Jazzberry Ram will travel in the future.

There are hopes to increase the band’s fan base in the states, and so a lot of time and energy is being directed south.

But don’t fear, the band is still making cross-Canada tours and loves playing for a crowd that is energetic, dancing, responding and yes, even drinking or drunk.

That basically summarizes the type of crowds at Max Café, which is where they’ll be playing on Oct. 14.