With grace, honour and unrivalled wisdom, Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz stood proudly tall in a venue that saw them play their first ever full live gig alongside band member Rollo back in 1996. Holding the highest respect from anyone who has ever had the pleasure to work or play alongside them, Faithless have walked the journey of most who have graced the Jazz Cafe’s famous stage.
PRS for Music set up the Heritage Award in 2009 to recognise the unusual ‘performance birthplaces’ of famous bands and artists. Previous awardees include Blur, Elton John, Soul II Soul, UB40, Snow Patrol, James and Jethro Tull. Faithless and the Jazz Café have contributed significantly to shaping the British music landscape.
Speaking of their musical success, Maxi and Bliss spoke of monumental times in their career and the message that Faithless conveyed through their music. “In terms of the lyrics there has always been a push, a direction.” Maxi said, “As a Buddhist, Buddhism is full of wisdom and I have always wanted to pass a lot of that on. I am always trying to encourage individuals because I don’t really believe in mass movements. I believe that if one person has a change or heart that is a fundamental shift in a person’s direction.”
Prior to their big break at the Jazz Café in 1996, Faithless were an underground electronic act. As soon as promoters heard they could play live, bookings from across Europe saw them suddenly enjoying audiences of thousands. Within twelve months, Insomnia was number 1 around the globe and Faithless went on to produce two UK number 1 albums, six UK top 10 singles, achieving over 15 million sales across the globe.
With so many artists trying to break into the scene Maxi gave three pieces of invaluable advice “My first tip would be, no matter what happens or what anyone else says, do not stop. My Second tip would be in terms of your career, I have a lot of young people come up to me saying that they want a manager. Go to your own business meetings and get a good lawyer. Make up your mind about what you want out of the deal and then go back to your lawyer. That way, when you are successful, you are not going to have anyone puling the wool over your eyes. My third tip would be to make music for yourself. Make the music that turns you on. Please yourself first”
With their career kick starting in the capital, Sister Bliss said, “We had some unforgettable nights in Camden, the local scene was always edgy and groundbreaking and we loved it. Electronic music was finally getting some broader recognition too and it was an exciting time for us. The Jazz Café is really important to our story and where our live career took off. We’re so honoured to be getting this Heritage award with them and celebrating where it all started. Can’t believe it’s been 15 years!”
With Supergrass set to receive the next award on 3rd October at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford a plaque will be erected and all four members will be reunited to receive this honour and celebrate the seminal Oxford music scene.
Guy Fletcher, PRS Chair commented, “It’s a rare talent that epitomises the feeling and energy of an entire decade. Supergrass were so much a part of our soundtrack to the 90’s and the guys worked incredibly hard. Their output was impressive and it is a genuine privilege to be presenting the group with this well deserved award. Oxford is an important hub for British music and live music venues like the Jericho Tavern need to be celebrated. It’s going to be a really special day.”