“It’s interesting to observe how each artist enlivens this simple space and makes it their own,” says Nadim Azzam, host of Whip Jams. Azzam is both Master of Ceremonies and Motorist of Ceremonies, interviewing local artists in a moving vehicle for this new music discovery platform, created with Michigan video team Drop Creative, co-producer Natalie Robbins, audio editor Elliott Sabbagh, and designer Dennis Scherdt. Whip Jams’ first season features five episodes, premiering every Wednesday at 10am.
“Discovery really is the goal,” said Azzam. “We’re so oversaturated with content, too, so another aspect of this is curation: it’s a way to connect fans to artists. There are so many artists that people would love to support if they knew they were from here. This allows people to see local artists in an exciting way.”
Whip Jams will feature artists like Dani Darling, Ki-5, Mirror Monster, D. Vaughn the Illest, and Pariis Noel. The format is a hybrid of interview and performance; Go Pro cameras and microphones are set up, but there is auxiliary equipment like drum machines and samplers on board with them to facilitate a live in-car performance of one of their original pieces of songwriting.
Azzam is a songwriter in his own right, fusing hip-hop to acoustic folk-pop, with a sizable amount of music released online. He brings an awareness of how challenging it can be for artists at the local level to break through to new audiences and find creative outlets for connections. He was also keen to adapt to the role of interviewer. “There’s a balance to it; I contribute occasionally but I don’t want to take the space from the artist.” And Whip Jams can provide that space, albeit a virtual space, for artists to talk about what music means to them, about their creative process, and to even showcase their signature style/voice.
Azzam said that “…the team that made this happen, being able to produce something of such high quality from the inside of a car, is just astounding.” The idea had been developed in 2018 between Azzam and Luke Jackson, as a way to showcase Azzam’s rap talents, but it’s been developed into something with a comparatively grander aspiration, to focus on local artists as well as showcasing local landmarks that are of heartfelt significance to each respective guest. The hope is to apply the formula to music scenes outside of Ann Arbor and Detroit, outside of Michigan, even. There could be Whip Jams in Chicago, or Nashville, who knows…
For now, the focus is on getting season one out online, and then figuring out the safest means possible of producing content during a quarantined winter. Azzam said that they certainly won’t be getting back into a car anytime soon, but that you can still anticipate the team behind Whip Jams to be producing more content for next year or even next season — emphasizing utmost safety in their protocol, of course.
The episodes you’ll see, each week, were recorded well before the COVID-19 pandemic, which will explain the lack of masks. In the months ahead, however, as it gets colder outside, we’re now assured to have cool and engaging content to look forward to; Whip Jams provides a new way to connect to local music and discover new artists.
Episode 1: Ki5 – Ann Arbor artist Ki5 combines an acapella background with live looping to create entire pop songs using only the human voice.
Episode 2: Mirror Monster – Mirror Monster is an experimental electronic pop duo consisting of David Minnix and Michael Skib, based in Ann Arbor, MI.
Episode 3: D. Vaughn the Illest – Hailing from Flint, Michigan, D.Vaughn The Illest is a heavy-hitting MC with a style reminiscent of 90’s Hip Hop.
Episode 4: Pariis Noel – Detroit’s own Pariis Noel is a lyricist that blends thoughtful introspection with contemporary Hip Hop production.
Episode 5: Dani Darling – Dani Darling is an indie soul crooner with an experimental lo-fi sound based in Ann Arbor, MI.