Biography - Encyclopedia of Pop. Music
Jas Mann Formed in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England, the 90s pop group Babylon Zoo are the creation of their singer, writer and producer Jas Mann (b. Jasbinder Mann, 24 April 1971, Dudley, West Midlands, England). At the age of three he moved to India, staying in the Himalayas for two years before returning to England.

By his own admission he was a precocious young man, preferring science fiction books and BBC television's Doctor Who series to school work. He decided to concentrate on music after being expelled from art school in Birmingham and failing trials for Warwickshire County Cricket Club. His first band, the Sandkings, enjoyed a little success in UK indie circles in the early 90s and supported the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays on tour, but the other members did not share Jas Mann's 'vision'.

His new creation, Babylon Zoo, was signed to Phonogram Records after Clive Black heard their first three-track demo tape in May 1993. When Black moved to Warner Brothers Records in 1993, he took Mann's contract with him. An album had been prepared and sleeves for a single, 'Fire Guided Light', were printed, but Babylon Zoo's debut was put on hold again when Black moved once more to EMI Records in 1995. However, promotional copies of 'Spaceman' had already been distributed, and it was chosen to tie in with a new Levi's jean advertisement after a company director heard the track on Manchester radio. Originally written as the music to Mann's own 'B-movie' Spaceman Sub-Organic Mutation the advertisement concentrated on the speeded up vocal section at the beginning and the end of the song (actually the product of the Arthur Baker remix).

When released as a single on 15 January 1996, after the group had been signed to a seven-album deal with EMI, it entered the UK chart at number 1 - becoming the fastest-selling debut record in UK chart history. Appearances on UK television's Top Of The Pops featured several backing musicians, but these were seen as a mere sideshow compared to their leader. The original musicians who worked with him had been sacked for 'their aggressiveness towards females'. 'Spaceman', said Mann, was about one's need to be true to oneself - just as a visiting alien would be free from peer pressure. This idea arose from Jas Mann's own family background: part Asian, part Native American Indian.

The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes was produced at Mann's New Atlantis Productions music/artwork/video centre and included new age tracks such as the self-explanatory 'Is Your Soul For Sale?' and 'I'm Cracking Up I Need A Pill'. Towards the end of 1996 'Spaceman' was approaching UK sales of 1 million and was the biggest selling single of the year. The comparative failure of the album and follow up singles did however pose questions about their survival into 1997.

Source: Encyclopedia of Pop. Music
 
Meaning of "BZ"
Meaning of Babylon Zoo
Quote from Jas Mann:

I think it's part positive and part negative, which is what I basically went for. Like any great film, I think the title of the piece sets a sort of common ground, a philosophy of how the film sort of moves on. I mean, I deal a lot with evolution, and I deal a lot with us now, and what we were in the past and what we will be in the future, and in that whole futuristic sense of writing.

The word "Babylon," I wanted to use that because it existed before Egyptian times as a paradise where everything was free, everybody was equal, and the word "Zoo," which is maybe society now, this geometric concrete jungle that we live in. This is us enslaved within our boxes. You know, our car, our home, our office. We live in boxes every single hour of the day. You deal with the two, how we evolved from paradise to a supposed modernist paradise, but is it? That's the sort of feel that I was trying to get at with the name. **


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