Jaye Muller (born Jens Müller) is a German musician and Internet entrepreneur who performed under the name J. in the 1990s, and later in a duo named "Muller and Patton" with American musician Ben Patton and since 2015 under the name "Count Jaye". In 1992, he released his second solo album, We Are the Majority, which as of 1996 had sold 350,000 copies worldwide.[1]

Jaye Muller
Jaye Muller in LA, 2006
Jaye Muller in LA, 2006
Background information
Birth nameJens Müller
Also known asJaye Muller, J., Count Jaye
Born(1967-12-23)23 December 1967
Berlin, German Democratic Republic
Genres
Occupation(s)Musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, Co-Founder of j2 Global and Flasher Factory
Instrument(s)Drums, guitar, keyboards, vocals
Years active1983–present
LabelsPolyGram, A&M, PolyEast, Flasher Factory
Member of
  • Count Jaye & The Hard Beats
  • Muller and Patton
Formerly of
  • kleinkariert
  • die anderen
  • Flat Car Drive a Jet
Websitecountjayeandthehardbeats.bandcamp.com

The NME once called him "A ludicrously talented maestro". Dave Marsh wrote in PLAYBOY "If there's a cure for Morrissey, this is it". Muller later co-founded, together with ex-Beach Boys Manager and lyricist Jack Rieley, the multi billion dollar internet company JFAX,[2] later renamed to j2 Global (NasdaqJCOM), which initially allowed its users to receive fax and voicemail through their email, one of the first unified messaging systems. Müller is no longer active in the company since 2004, but remained shareholder until 2016.

Musical career

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Born in East Berlin, Muller (then Müller) left East Germany for Paris, France in May 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but prior to German unification. Muller’s mother encouraged Jaye early on to take up music, in the form of classic guitar. She sent him to a local music school. Soon, Muller decided to also take up drums, bass, electric guitar and keyboards. Before leaving East Germany, Muller played as drummer in the East Berlin underground bands kleinkariert and later in the cult band die anderen in the late-1980s. In March 1992, he signed a contract with PolyGram in Paris, France.[3]

Later that year, he used some of the money from this contract to start the weekly newsletter Germany Alert, which chronicled neo-Nazi activity and warned of human rights abuses in Germany at the time.[4][5] Muller was nominated for the Reebok Human Right Award for this work. In 1992, J. was the victim of a home invasion and robbery by three thugs in his apartment. The robbers stole everything they could find pertaining to J.'s music, but no valuables. As of January 1993, the identities of the robbers were still unknown, but J. suspected they were neo-Nazis.[6]

In January 1993, he also released his second solo album, We Are the Majority, in the United States on A&M Records. It had previously been released in France in October 1992.[4][5] In interviews in the early 90s, Muller expressed his views that the German government should somewhat restrict their people's freedom of speech to prevent violent fascism from experiencing a resurgence there, after the German Unification/Annexation of East Germany.[4] He titled his album We Are the Majority to serve as a rallying cry to those who did not want to succumb to right-wing extremists again, but who felt they could do nothing about it. As he told the New York Times,

If you take all these minorities and put them together, we are the majority and can change everything. But we have to use the voice we have. We have to say that we want justice.[5]

Müller released several other solo albums as well as albums in partnership as the duo "Muller and Patton". In 2015, Muller released a rock album named "Bandages Cover The Looting" under the artist name "Count Jaye & The Hard Beats" co-produced by Müller himself and industry veteran Morris D. Temple. This was followed up with Count Jaye & The Hard Beats' second release in 2019 named "Hippo Russian Pickle Giant Blue Disguise. The first single's video of the album for the song "Big TV Star" caused some controversy as it portrayed the mainstream media as "Fake News". The album included collaborations by, among others, Adam Marsland, Roger Joseph Manning Jr. of Jellyfish, Nuno Bettencourt of Extreme, and Jack Rieley of the Beach Boys.[7]

In 2018, Jaye and his wife, singer Michelle Omba, created the live music venue FLASHER FACTORY in the Philippines, for original music only, with great success. In 2020, the FLASHER FACTORY concept was being expanded into a fully fledged live recording studio in the Philippines. Muller released another solo album as Count Jaye in late 2022 called "You Belong To You" on his label Flasher Factory.[8]

Critical reception

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Fortune magazine wrote "Jaye Muller is a total babe".[9] Steve Hochman of the Los Angeles Times called the music of We Are the Majority "a solid, one-man-band rap-rock collection reminiscent of the Dutch group Urban Dance Squad."[4] In a 4-star (out of 5) review, AllMusic's Roch Parisien called the album "A disc that helps tear down that intimidating wall that separates rap and rock."[10] Billboard wrote that "tracks like "Keep the Promise" and "Born on the Wrong Side of Town" "successfully incorporate elements of rap, rock, funk, and pop."[11]

Aron Gibson of BandRumors wrote about the first Count Jaye album: "Jaye Muller, the charismatic German songwriter, frontman and accidental tech pioneer who shot to fame in the early 90s with his seminal record We Are The Majority, is back..." "Muller, who had made waves across Europe on shows like MTV Europe and who also made a splash on American TV..." "The rocky but Beatlesque sounding songs are “raw and dirty” indeed but are also well crafted. The lack of autotuned vocals is apparent at times but welcome in today’s world of overproduced pop perfection."[12]

Business career

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With his manager and former Beach Boys manager and lyricist, Jack Rieley, he went on to co-found the company JFAX Personal Telecom Inc. (later j2 Global) in 1995.[13] The company allowed users to receive numerous types of media through email, including not only emails, but also faxes and voice messages. It did this by assigning each customer a phone number that received voice messages and faxes, then reroutes them to an email account.[14] He got the idea for the company when he missed his faxes while traveling to different locations on tour.[1][15] In 2000, Muller was nominated for the "Entrepreneur Of The Year Award". He later chose Richard Ressler to be the CEO of JFAX.[16]

Discography

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Studio albums as Count Jaye & the Hard Beats

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  • Bandages Cover The Looting (2015)
  • Hippo Russian Pickle Giant Blue Disguise (2019)
  • You Belong To You (2022)

Compilations

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  • Twentieth Century Jaye (2000)

With Muller and Patton

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  • Muller and Patton (2005)
  • 5.05.05 LIVE (2005)
  • Jonathan & Bailey (2006)
  • The Jonathan & Bailey Companion (2007)
  • Deep Gold (Music From The Motion Picture Deep Gold) (2008)
  • The Best Of The Guards (2009)

As J.

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  • J. (AMIGA)(1989)
  • We Are The Majority (Polygram/A&M)(1992)

As Producer and Songwriter

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  • Definition of Cool by Kelsey Adams (PolyEast)(2010)
  • Bunny by Bunny (PolyEast) 2011
  • Our Walk Is The Dance by Michelle Omba (Album)(2016)
  • Seasons of Emotions by Michelle Omba (EP)(2020)

References

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  1. ^ a b Sreenivasan, Sreenath (23 September 1996). "Expanding the Boundaries of E-mail". The New York Times.
  2. ^ https://companiesmarketcap.com/j2-global/marketcap/
  3. ^ Farber, Jim (14 December 1992). "Firing Back At Germany's Hatemongers". Orlando Sun-Sentinel.
  4. ^ a b c d Hochman, Steve (9 January 1993). "This Rapper Backs Limits on Speech". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ a b c Rule, Sheila (27 January 1993). "The Pop Life". The New York Times.
  6. ^ Fisher, Marc (17 January 1993). "He's Hot. He's Sexy. And Someone Wants Him Dead". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ https://www.deutsche-mugge.de/neuerscheinungen/2019/232-august/7412-count-jaye-hippo-russian-pickle-giant-blue-disguise.html
  8. ^ https://www.deutsche-mugge.de/neuerscheinungen/2022/280-november/8887-count-jaye-the-hard-beats-you-belong-to-you.html
  9. ^ Schlender, Brent (7 July 1997). "Cool Companies these Days". Fortune.
  10. ^ Parisien, Roch. "We Are the Majority Review". AllMusic.
  11. ^ "Album Reviews". Billboard. 1993-02-06. p. 53.
  12. ^ "Jaye Muller Returns From Hiatus To Release New Album 'Bandages Cover The Looting'". BandRumors.
  13. ^ Schlender, Brent (7 July 1997). "Cool Companies these Days". Fortune.
  14. ^ Berry, Colin (1 May 1997). "Just the Fax, Ma'am". Wired.
  15. ^ Savitz, Eric J. (11 November 2002). "Partying Like It's 1999". Barron's.
  16. ^ Williams, Geoff (September 2000). "Stop-Gap Measures". Entrepreneur (published 1 September 2000).