|Associated acts||London Pride|
Dif Juz was a British instrumental band, with a Duran Duran connection. Active in the early early to mid 1980s, the band were strongly influenced by dub. Retroactively they can be seen to be most strongly allied with the post-rock movement.
The members of the group were Dave Curtis (guitar), Alan Curtis (guitar), Gary Bromley (bass), and Richard Thomas (drums, percussion, saxophone). The band developed out of the punk band London Pride that was formed by the Curtis brothers. In late 1979, Alan Curtis was involved with Duran Duran and apparently disappeared missing a particularly volatile gig after the band hired owners of the Birmingham's Rum Runner nightclub Paul and Michael Berrow as managers. In a 2003 interview published in the Notorious: The Unauthorised Biography book John Taylor said "straight away Alan Curtis skipped town, thinking getting involved with two nightclub owners meant he would end up in pieces down a city alleyway."
Following Alan Curtis' return to London he resumed his collaboration with his brother Dave and Richard Thomas (all of whom played in London Pride) and was joined by Gary Bromley. They determined to create something new and different. The name Dif Juz was adopted as a play on Different Jazz.
Dave Curtis was a trained classical guitarist, Alan Curtis's guitar play was self taught and innovative, Richard Thomas was the Jack of all Trades with a thirst for mastering wind instruments and production values and Gary Bromley's bass play whilst honed in West London could have easily found home in Kingston JA. The resulting soundscape was dense, atmospheric and spacious, driven by pounding bass lines and rhythm.
The band signed to labe 4AD and a demo was played by John Peel. The band performed a number of inspiring gigs in the London area in 1981, most notably at the Moonlight Club in West Hampstead and at the Ealing Town Hall.
Fellow label mates the Cocteau Twins became great colleagues, collaborated closely and on occasion toured and played with Dif Juz amongst other venues at the Saddlers Wells Theatre.
Dif Juz is associated with their more famous contemporaries Coctaeu Twins for several reasons:
- Cocteau Twins guitarist Robin Guthrie produced several of their recordings.
- Cocteau Twins vocalist Elizabeth Fraser sang on "Love Insane" from the album Extractions.
- They were (4AD REcords) label-mates and toured with the Cocteau Twins.
- Cocteau Twins bass player Simon Raymonde was quoted as saying Dif Juz were the "Best live band I've ever seen".
- The two bands shared some superficial similarities in production style, notably a love of delay and reverb effects.
- Member Richard Thomas played saxophone and tabla on Cocteau Twins' 1985 Victorialand LP.
Although the band was mainly instrumental, they also occasionally worked with a vocalist from North London, Hollis Chambers.
At one point they served as a backing band for Raggae/Dub luminary Lee Scratch Perry for a few live dates. A studio album of this collaboration was recorded with Robin Guthrie as producer but this album was never released and sits unheard in the 4AD vaults. There is currently some debate as to why. 4AD's current stance is that the Curtis brothers never really appreciated the results. However, Dave Curtis has stated that he believes it's "the best thing Dif Juz ever did".
The band never officially disbanded. However, due to health issues neither Dave Curtis nor Gary Bromley were able to devote the time needed to the band and this led to a "slow dissolve." For a time the band continued with bass player Scott Rodger who performed recorded with the band on "Out of The Trees" and subsequent touring but the spark seemed to be diminishing. The final step to dissolution occurred when Richard Thomas became a touring drummer for The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Richard Thomas has also worked with Butterfly Child, Moose, Cocteau Twins, and The Wolfgang Press; Gary Bromley is currently performing in a band called "The Children"; Dave Curtis spent some time collaborating with the Wolfgang Press, This Mortal Coil and Tranquil Trucking Company.
All released in the UK on 4AD unless otherwise noted Albums:
- Extractions (1 July 1985) (reached #11 on the UK Indie Chart)
- 12" vinyl LP (CAD505), 9 tracks
- CD (CAD505CD), 13 tracks; adds 2 tracks each from the 1981 EPs
Singles & EPs:
- 1981: Huremics 12" vinyl EP (BAD109), 4 tracks track order,1,hu.2,re,3,mi,4,cs.
- 1981: Vibrating Air 12" vinyl EP (BAD116), 4 tracks
Compilations: When reissued on the following compilations the Vibrating Air tracks were remixed. There are other anthology appearances but these collect all the extant songs.
- 1982: Time Clock Turn Back cassette with Pleasantly Surprised magazine (NONDJ1), 12 tracks
- 1983: Who Says So? 12" vinyl LP on Red Flame (RFM24), 8 tracks
- 10 November 1986: Out of the Trees 12" vinyl compilation of 1981 EPs (MAD612), 8 tracks
- 05 April 1999: Soundpool compilation CD (GAD109), includes 1981 EPs plus anthology track "No Motion," which was previously released on the 4AD sampler Lonely Is An Eyesore.