Feb. 20 2013 10:46 AM

Frontman Keith Milgaten is moving to New York and focusing on solo project

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Keith Milgaten (right) with “Keith Milgaten”
Photo by Nicole Espina

After eight years, several albums and countless hipster dance parties, the reign of Jamuel Saxon has come to an end. Frontman Keith Milgaten confirmed to CityBeat on Monday that he's disbanded the electro-pop quartet so he can focus on his solo project, Keith Sweaty.

"I don't have any immediate plans to reform the band," he tells CityBeat, noting that he's moving to New York City in April. "As much as I'd love to play music with my friends and work on jamming with a band, it seems a little bit counterintuitive."

Jamuel drummer Jayson Ehm says the split was amicable.

"I appreciated all the time that I had with Jamuel Saxon and all the people that came to the shows, and we're all still very good friends," he says.

The group last played live in October, after traveling to New York City for the CMJ Music Marathon. In the months since, Milgaten has focused on making remixes and more stripped-down, club-ready tracks. At Keith Sweaty shows, he's stopped wearing his trademark gypsy vest and Goofy hat, which he says felt gimmicky.

"It kind of trips me out when Mikey [Turi] from Wild Wild Wets dressed up as me for Halloween," he says. "I wanted to see if people actually gave a shit about the music I'm making."

Milgaten started Jamuel Saxon as a solo project around 2005, often relying on a revolving cast of musicians to serve as his backing band. Things heated up when Ehm joined as a permanent drummer in late 2010; eventually, they became a four-piece with guitarist Mike Griffin and bassist Endi Rodriguez. With this setup, Jamuel perfected a delirious live show that incorporated trippy projections, animal masks and dayglo body paint—not to mention the occasional psychedelic substance.

Milgaten says he now wants to adopt a more lightweight approach—partly because it's easier logistically. When he hatched plans to leave town, Ehm opted to stay in San Diego; Griffin recently moved to Los Angeles. Though Milgaten hasn't dismissed the possibility of a Jamuel Saxon farewell show, he seems excited to move on.

"I see it more as the beginning of what I'm going to move on to next," he says. "Ultimately, that's just the way that I choose to look at it, because it's, I guess, less depressing."


Email peterh@sdcitybeat.com or follow him on Twitter at @peterholslin.

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