Since their 2016 debut EP, Wanderflower, Jadu Heart has been slowly building a catalog of electro-pop, R&B, and psychedelic bops. The UK-based duo, consisting of Alex Headford and Diva Jeffery, now has roughly 30 songs that are a collective myriad of immersive soundscapes.
When performing, the duo wears masks that resemble the likes of the twisted bunny from Donnie Darko. But unlike Marshmello or deadmau5, Jadu Heart doesn’t use their masks to protect their identities. They use them in a theatrical fashion, a way to get fans to join them in the fantasy world of their alter egos, Dina and Faro.
Jadu Heart’s Wanderflower was a project released as part of a school project at The British and Irish Modern Music Institute in 2016. Diva described the project as a “story of two characters - Dina and Faro - who get cursed in a temple [and] every song [in Wanderflower] corresponds to a different chapter in their story.” Their tutor sent the EP to Mura Masa who immediately took a liking to the duo and made them an opening act for his album release show. They were subsequently signed to his label and given the same manager.
The couple’s sophomore EP, Ezra’s Garden, is a continuation of Jadu Heart’s now-signature DIY, psych-funk sound inspired by Jai Paul. The tracks are accompanied by a visual component on Youtube, as Spotify hadn’t quite explored the necessity of visualizers yet. After the fantastical characters were introduced in Jadu Heart’s first EP, the second EP explores the relationship between Dina and Faro when they are whisked out of the cursed temple and stumble upon a friend who takes them to a machine that shoots them through the galaxy.
Released in 2017, “I’m A Kid” was Jadu’s first venture into the multimedia space. With a budget of £50, the pair filmed and edited a video from their trip to Bali. The budget was spent on fake swords, a wizard costume, and a lizard mask to create a music video that mirrors the innocent and adventurous spirits celebrated in the single.
One of the best things about Jadu Heart is getting to watch the couple mature through their music and videos. After “I’m A Kid,” the next video they released was “U Never Call Me” with Mura Masa. The visuals are the polar opposite of the fun, carefree environment depicted in their first music video. The trio did not write complex lyrics, nor did they make an outlandish video. The message is simple to interpret and relatable to anyone who has experienced heartache. After sinking below the surface of the bathtub, Diva sings,
“I remember how my dark and heavy heart was drifting
How you pulled my love out
I can promise, baby, l’ve been falling deep for way too long
Yeah, you left me to drown”
The duo continues to explore the intricacy of love in their next video for “The Cure.” The video starts with serene images of the forest, reminding viewers where the mythical creatures are from (and where they’re going). The plucking of a mandolin and syncopated handclaps introduce scenes of Dina and Faro in a home nestled in a European cityscape. The characters have modernized from their fabled roots, as they are seen smoking, drinking, and partying. Throughout the video, they are seen making the trek back to the forest where they ultimately find a floating orange orb.
While the significance of the orb is never expanded upon, Jadu develops the narrative of Dina and Faro even further on their first full-length album, Melt Awayˆ, which was released this past August. Co-produced by Guy Sigsworth (Madonna, Björk, Seal), the album still has the whimsical DIY feel of Jadu’s past tracks. Their maturity is illustrated in songs like “Forgotten Ghosts,” which beautifully describes internal conflicts caused by loneliness and depression, and “Purity,” which is the story of someone watching the emotional downfall of a loved one.
Jadu Heart’s dedication to their semi-fictional narrative is bound to set them apart from most up-and-coming bands today. Their ethereal sounds combined with indie rock, R&B, and electronic influences make their tracks difficult to replicate. All that is left is for people to step into the fantastical world Jadu Heart is actively creating.