For as long as he can remember, Jamey Robinson has been straddling a fence between indie rocker and avant-garde composer. And he’s happy to stay atop it, so long as the powers that be, on both sides, support his work.
Over the years, his Philly-based collaborations — Need New Body, Man Man and Buffalo Stance — have toured indie venues and festivals worldwide. But major grants are almost all on the fine art side of that fence, like the prestigious Pew Fellowship he received in 2007.
“I don’t actually listen to modern indie rock. It’s just kind of how things happened,” explains Robinson, from his studio in the Mantua section of Philadelphia.
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Robinson’s current project, Buffalo Stance, will play Johnny Brenda’s on Sunday. Stance leans toward a danceable brew of ’70s soul and experimental synth compositions.
“It’s kind of a soul-electronic hybrid,” he explains, but quickly recoils at the statement. “I can’t believe I just said that. I’m floundering here. In this industry, everybody’s supposed to have their tag ready to go, but I always find it indescribable.”
But, perhaps this tag-less, curious quality is precisely what led to Robinson’s recent success. “I grew up on MTV and pop music, but I’ve always had a voracious appetite to know what was behind that music,” says Robinson. “Who did they listen to? Where did that kernel of humanity come from?”