Justin Yap – Guitar
Nardia Brancatisano – Vocals
Ollie Rolfe – Keys
Ben Wicks – Bass Guitar
Cameron Smith – Drums
Since releasing Let Love the Justin Yap Band has been going from strength to strength, hitting No. 1 on the Australian Blues Charts; winning Group of the Year at the Australian Blues Music Awards; playing festivals and touring around the country.
From Melbourne, Australia, the band has one foot planted firmly in the traditions of soul, funk, blues and jazz while the other moving forward creating new music branching from American roots music. The JYB is constantly exploring ideas through songwriting and improvising, culminating into Let Love – the band’s most cohesive effort to date.
Justin Yap picked up the guitar when he was 12 years old. Growing up in Australia and Malaysia, he played his first gig at 14 in a jazz club owned and run by legendary Malaysian Jazz-Funk guitarist Jose Thomas in Kuala Lumpur. Over the years Justin spent countless hours researching and learning anything he could find on whatever music would grab him, ranging from Blues to Soul to Jazz to Afro-Cuban music, all the while refining his playing style and tone. More recently Justin has shared the stage with some of Australia’s biggest names in blues and roots music including the likes of Lloyd Spiegel, Jimi Hocking, Geoff Achison, and good friend Jesse Valach; constantly striving for the next thing with the Justin Yap Band and as a musician.
Vocals are led by Nardia Brancatisano (Soul Chic, Nardia Rose Band) who is a Singer-Songwriter loaded with powerful, raw & sultry vocals forged by the sounds of Gospel, Soul, Blues & Jazz from growing up singing in church and listening to her father’s record collection. Nardia wields her vocal range with intensity & musical prowess often blowing the roof off with her breathtaking delivery, making her the perfect match for the intensity of the band.
The biggest contributing factor to the band’s sound and musical identity are its members. Cameron Smith (drums) and Ben Wicks (bass) provide a combination of precision and attitude that provide the foundation for everything the band does. Building on that is Ollie Rolfe on Hammond organ and keys, the source for a lot of the group’s musical ideas and pushing everyone to explore even further. The chemistry and energy between the 5 members culminate in the band feeling like family both on and off the stage.
‘Let Love’ was recorded onto 2” tape through a 1978 MCI 24 track tape machine at the legendary Aviary Recording Studio in Abbotsford co-produced by Fraser Montgomery, Justin Yap and Ben Wicks. Like the band’s live shows, the album sounds warm and inviting, but also carries an attitude that comes with an acute awareness of social issues that mark most of the songs on the album and the band’s repertoire, issues that matter personally to the members of the JYB.
‘Let Love’ weaves seamlessly through soul, funk and blues drawing influences from the sounds of Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, and 70’s soul. Tone, vibe and the band’s performances are placed above clinical perfection. The sound of the band is a model of simplicity: a Les Paul straight into a Deluxe Reverb, Hammond into an old Leslie, a P Bass straight into an amp, and a 70’s Ludwig kit. Song craft was the biggest focus for this album with lyrics tackling social issues important to the band. And it was the songs that informed how the band approached the record, resulting in a cohesiveness that could only be born out of collaboration between everyone. Final touches were imbued by Adam Dempsey at Jack the Bear’s Deluxe Mastering and James Grim with the album cover design.
This record has been approached with love and integrity by everyone that has worked on it. ‘Let Love’ was released on the 17 June 2017. Get your copy today!