Who is Jason Lume:
I do not know Milled to have any other television star in our midst. Heck, I don’t even know of another MC or generally awesome entertainer in our midst…and that’s okay because we have a Jason Lume and he’s all kinds of fun. I remember first meeting Jason before I even physically met him, All my Johannesburg friends would be talking about this dude when we were in high school so, 7 years later, when I finally moved to Johannesburg, I made it a point to meet him. He was MCing Shortstraw’s Sunday afternoon gig, Boosh, from the middle of an empty swimming pool. He then went on to do even more awesome things like film and cut music videos.
We fostered a friendship and when I saw him MC-ing a stage at Oppikoppi last year, I had to start the process of bringing him on board. Milled has proven to be so much richer for having him so naturally, I had to catch up with him and put some questions to him.
But first, check out Jason’s sweet dance moves:
Richard Chemaly (RC): Bro, you’re everywhere. Even when I was in school, your name kept coming up as an unspecified legend…and I was in a different province. Add some specifics. What do you actually do with your life?
Jason Lume (JL): I work as a freelance film editor and camera operator. This affords me the unusual working hours I need to chase my two passions; MC-ing events as well studying and teaching martial arts. I also dabble in a wee bit of acting, but just promise to not google my history with Wimpy. These all provide an adrenaline rush you just can’t get chasing deadlines and avoiding pissed off HR managers.
RC: Oops, regarding the Wimpy thing but your moves are pretty amazing. We first officially met when you were doing a dashing job of MCing Boosh. What’s the MC life like? More importantly, what are the aspirations of this MC?
JL: Ah yes, Boosh. I have such fond memories those events. That’s where I got my start in this industry, thanks to a slightly forceful push from Thomas Revington and the rest of the Shortstraw boys. Being an MC is a most truly rewarding endeavour. It provided me with an insight into a world that, as a long time fan of both local and international music scenes, seemed like a fictional and magical place. They say don’t meet your heroes. Well, I’ve rubbed shoulders with many of mine, and I can say that that is bullshit advice (perhaps the advice should be, “get better heroes”).
I’ve been so blessed by the musical gods that I’ve met and worked with many of the artists that exist on my bucket list, and I can sincerely say I wouldn’t change a single thing about it.
RC: Being the celebrity you are in the interior, is it tough to head to the coast where you’re less known or do you welcome the break?
JL: *laughs* Celebrity is a rather strong word. MC-ing has introduced me to many worlds other than that of music. I’ve worked in the corporate world, in marketing and branding as well as sports…so I’ll settle for “kinda well known”. To be honest, it seems like my realm of influence is rather limited to Johannesburg, as the bulk of my work happens there. A lot of my work now is the result of face to face interactions with bands and event organizers, and unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to market myself much in the coastal regions, but I would most certainly be open to it.
RC: So…quick divergent question…what’s with the “freakin” middle name? There’s gotta be a cool story otherwise you probably would have picked a more traditional middle name, like Danger.
JL: So the ‘Freekin’ thing started way back in my high school rugby days. I was a rather slim and lanky lock, who was better known for having fast feet then for smashing guys in the tackle. However, in my first ever 1st team game, I managed to bounce a gent easily 150kgs heavier than I (he gains 10kgs every time I tell this story). A friend of mine, who was seated just off the field from us, yelled at the defeated Goliath-character, “Jason. Freekin. Lume!”.
Of course, all of the mates thought this was a cool story to tell for a while (or was it me?), and so the ‘Freaking Lume‘ bit stuck around for years after. Seeing as I was entering the MC world as a complete unknown, I need some moniker that would stick with people and was pretty fun to shout. After that, the Freekin Lume was born.
RC: You’ve been to a ton of festivals. I’d ask you to rank them but that would be disingenuous. Just tell us your best memory of a couple.
JL: Thank you for not asking the impossible of me. Most recently I had a most majestic experience at Mieliepop (Check the article out on Milled!). It’s the perfect mix of solid lineups and comfortable camping experience. As a fan, one of my standout experiences was Oppikoppi 2015 where we were treated to an incredible and far better than expected Tweak performance, followed by an absolutely unforgettable Johnny Clegg show.
As an MC, I can empirically state that my favourite night to ever be alive on this wonderful planet, however, was the night I worked the Vodacom In The City event back in October 2013. I worked alongside and hung out with my musical heroes Alt-J, The Hives and Skunk Anansie. Its a surreal experience to stand stage-side with a band as influential to my life as Alt-J, and watch them fan-boy out to The Hives just like I did! That’s weird, right? Like, that doesn’t normally happen to people. Fuck, I love my job.
RC: If you were a castle lite and depressed with your arbitrary alcohol assignment at birth but you had the means to undergo alcohol reassignment surgery, what would you reassign to?
JL: These kind of questions are the reason you are the greatest journalist alive, Rich. Well, I very recently tried a great Belgian pale ale by the name of De Poes. I swear I’m not joking. That bad boy comes in at 8% ABV. After 1, you already start to feel a little love-drunk. I’d like to think crowds may have the same reaction to me.
RC: You are too kind but I’m still not going easy on you. Public errors are inevitable. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve done or said on stage?
JL: At a Boosh event a couple years ago, I introduced the fans to Float Parade, a goddam legendary band that I fell in absolute love with. It was the first time I had heard of them, and my intro for the band was completely off the cuff. In the final moments of the introduction, where all that was left to say was the band’s name, I drew a complete blank. My sphincter tightened as I realized my adrenaline rush got in the way of clear thought, and I knew I only had seconds to redeem myself. Luckily for me, we were running an Instagram competition for the event and I feigned taking a picture of the crowd, stating that “Your pictures need to be better than mine if you want to win the prize!”.
In reality, I had opened my phone and checked a screengrab from Facebook. I’ll admit that going blank on the name was pretty rookie, but you gotta give me points for quick thinking.
RC: Nice one on the quick thinking! Then tell us about that time you were arrested…
JL: Arrested? You must have me confused with somebody else.
RC: Hey man, you can’t blame a guy for phishing. *winks* Being in tune with the music scene, share some trends you’ve noticed over the last decade to pass some of that institutional knowledge to the new kids.
JL: The Boosh format is something that all artists should take note of. It was a semi-free show where crowds were encouraged to pay whatever they felt the show deserved, and stacked well known acts with lesser known up-and-comers. Big bands and new ones were being exposed to each others’ fan base, which stimulated the growth of the of the entire music scene. I’ve seen this concept taken further by many bands today.
The best example of this ,doing the rounds in Joburg, is the event Dank. Put on by the lads of Go Barefoot and Boxer (both Boosh alumni), the lineups are brilliantly curated to ensure a diverse evening of musical heavyweights and new-kids-on-the-block. The lesson here is that South African bands, who already have a tough fight on their hands with regards to ‘making it’, need to collaborate their efforts in an attempt to create memorable lineups that encourage growth of existing acts as well the promotion of new ones.
RC: If South African rock n roll were to die, who would speak at the funeral?
Good lord, if South African rock n’ roll were to die, I’d want to die along with it. But I’d imagine Francios van Coke, Jacques Moolman, Dan Patlansky and the Oppikoppi forefathers would do some sort of group-eulogy. I think its fair to say that all of the above-mentioned people have had a lasting (if not permanent) effect on the way we look at and engage with rock n’ roll in this country.
RC: If you were going to attend the SAMAs, who would your perfect date be?
JL: I think it’s safe to say that Jessica Alba would be a fantastic date to any awards ceremony, but if I had to pick one solely on the event I was attending, I would love to go with Loandi Boersma. Besides her insane rock n’ roll credentials and her dashing good looks, she certainly knows how to party and I’m pretty sure it’d be a night I wouldn’t soon forget (remember?).
RC: Dude, I interviewed Loandi recently and sorry to say, she’s married. But you’re totally famous enough to date a celebrity. Why haven’t we seen Jason Lume branded clothing yet though? I’d wear your face on my chest.
JL: *laughs* I would by lying if I said I had never thought about having some branded content. If there are any people out there willing to help collaborate with me out there on this endeavor, give me a shout!
RC: Living as unconventionally as you do, what have been the big highlights that would have been impossible with a 9 to 5?
JL: Living outside of the regular 9 to 5 has allowed me a freedom to explore myself in a way that is insanely limited by the structures of modern day living. I’ve been able to connect with myself and my thoughts in a much deeper way then I would have ever expected. Similarly, its allowed me to better explore and understand the world around me.
Spontaneity is a magical state of being that allows one to fully experience and appreciate what the world has to offer, and it acts as a powerful tool in learning that opportunity is all around us. It’s my core belief that ‘luck’ really is just one’s openness to opportunity around them. So take some time off. Find yourself. See the opportunity.
RC: Finally, Jason. It would be remiss of me not to take this opportunity to to ask you for shout outs. You’ve probably seen every act in South Africa. Is there anybody on your radar who’s not on the mainstream radar who we should be looking out for?
JL: I’ve seen many incredible acts get their start over the years, and I’m happy to say that I am constantly finding new local acts that blow my pants right off! Some of my happiest finds in recent years include Raygun Royale and Black Math (for the lovers of something heavy); The Ceramics (for a little indie rock); and Academie (who are essentially an audible art show). There are many more, too many to mention here. But If you haven’t heard of the above acts give them a google, and continue exploring what we have to offer from there.
If you want to get hold of Jason to MC your gig or just be awesome or even just mail him to let him know he’s super awesome, you can send him and email. You can also follow his Instagram account and see his excuses to take time to remember names of bands.