Simian Mobile Disco’s (formerly Simian) latest debuted on Annie Mac’s Radio One Show the other day and I must say it takes me back to ‘Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release. Hopefully any new release from them will be reminiscent of that amazing record.
My name is Johnson, and I am from Vancouver, CAN. The most beautiful place on earth.
What got you into the rap game initially? Was there a defining moment or has music always been a big part of your life? And how long have you been in the game?
I would have to say just listening to hiphop. I never really had a main genre of music I listened too but as soon as I got into highschool started to get an appreciation for the this type of music and everything to do with it. No doubt in my mind the defining moment when I started using the repeat button hahaa. Song after song that I found I liked would end up becoming the only one id listen too until I got sick of it, then id move on to the next song. The only positive about this is ppl don’t realize it sharpened my analytical skills, which I now use on my own songs so I don’t really mind the repeat stuff. Last but not least I started freestyling and writing about 3 years ago when I would have turned 18 right about now.
Who have been some of the bigger musical influences for you and why?
Class of 10 (XXL) hands down- I try to remain as classy and smooth as I can and those guys are all in the limelight for those very reasons so I definitely look up to them. But for my listening career, id have to say A Tribe Called Quest, Gangstarr, Lil Wayne, Ludacris, Jay-Z. and Mac miller. Not to mention the obvious respect to them for their music but their influential business styles. Never to forget to Drake.
Listening to these guys has no doubt influenced your style. Has the city of Vancouver had any kind of role in developing your style into what it is today? Vancouver is a pretty hip hop / rap oriented city.
Yes it has, I love my city and it always loves me back. I wouldn’t say that it is hiphop orientated at all but its up and coming, I just don’t think we have a distinct style or type of sound yet. But that leaves a lot of room for some group/people/person to take that spot. And I plan on taking that spot.
Lyrically where do you derive your lyrics from? Life experience or life expectancy?
A balance of both defiantly, some songs will be heavier on one or the other in a whole: both.
What’s your favorite thing to write about?
Weed n bidges, and the life around all that.
In your recent video’s I’ve seen you reppin alota Drip Beads. What’s your connection to Drip Paint AKA Dylan Pickering?
We had a marketing class together back in our college (Kwantlen) days. But I plan on coming up with this guy, we both got a lot in common considering were both trying sell our products. I ill with this guy on a friend level even when business is too the side but as too the jewelry, I’m real down with all of it and he is always making me custom pieces and treating me with respect so how cant I feel that right?. So it was a no-brainer for us to link and we will continue doing so as our careers flourish.
Who else are you working with to get your name out there?
My boys with Common. They bin hooking me clothing for a minute now and I got mad respect for those fella’s. Pretty soon here actually I want to get DRIPPAINT and the boys at Common to link up ahah, could probably be profitable for the both of them. Cross ‘advertising or something like that. But I hope people start reppin this common stuff- you’ll see them in all my videos. Sweatshirts, crewnecks, t-shirts, touques, you name it. So basically my two main links have to be DRIPPAINT and Common.
Do you like to collaborate very much? And if so what’s the plus on that process from you?
I do yes. I don’t really believe in styles clashing or anything like that so I’m very open to meeting new people and making new tracks. Music is music at the end of the day, there are no limits to what we can create. So basically I just keep that in mind and never put pressure on anything. My process is basically, flick the bic, inhale, exhale, repeat process a bunch of times and let my mind flow on the beat. I used to play drums back in elementary and high school so I love rhythm.
What has been your involvement in the Vancouver scene? Do you agree that it’s a hip hip friendly city?
I did a lil tour with connecturself music back last summer and 1 of the 5 stops was at Republic, which had a very amped crowd. So from that point it is friendly. But in my opinion we don’t get a lot of routine big names, but that could change at any time. I think maybe promoters need to not be so cautious and understand we love our hiphop here in vancity. So once they do that I think the dynamics of the hiphop scene here will change. But other than that I haven’t done too many shows but I think that will change this summer. I have spent most of this winter working and building my portfolio of songs if you will. I’ve been doing so to basically sell myself this summer and hop on any show I can to get my name out there!.
You still rockin a day job / how much of your time is being put into making new music?
Yezzir, two in fact. I work about 6 days a week and then basically any time I’m not working I’m on the computer or writing to a track setting up photoshoots, video shoots and what not. But we all like it busy so it’s not a problem. Money is money, and I’m addicted to the stuff.
And what have you got going right now? Anything people should keep en eye out for? Last I heard you were working on a new new mixtape.
Yes I am my first solo mixtape. All the decision making and creating will be on me. My younger brother (Adam Jay) will be producing the whole thing from scratch. There will be 7-8 songs just to make sure you have enough time to fall in love with all of them. Its gunna be a mix of the classic hard hitting RnB snares with some upbeat tracks and some reflective. Girls and Ganja will be a big part of this project, because they influence me so much. So stay posted, hit up thegavtv.tumblr.com for all the latest news and youtube video drops.
What are your top three sources for new music?
I know your down with fly kicks. Which is your favorite pair?
Definitely Chuck Taylor Allstars but I love almost all Nikes too. One thing people don’t really know about me too much from my music is that I’m a big boot guy. I love fashion so much and I want that too be a big part of my game. So watch out for new pics on tumblr, you might find a pair you like ;)
Sativa > Indica?
Sativa anyday, ish is like coffee. Keep a playa up grinding all week putting in work.
Let’s wrap this up with the quote on the top of your tumblr. “Dreamin big cuz I know somebody’s always tryna dream bigger. One Love.” Can you give us some words on this and what it means?
We just reached 7 billion peeps. Its hard to be different. My plan to stand out consists of me dreaming as big as I can. Not settling for anything. So Ive made my list of goals. Now its time to achieve.
Anything you’d like to add?
S/O D-Roc, Frak, SlyOnTheBeat, Anotsh Cimozsko, James Lee. Imperetiv and anyone I forgot.
**Pretty Latto Video dropping March 2012**
**Feelin Myself (Johnson & Frak & D-roc) song and video release March 2012**
**new mixtape collab with Adam Jay dropping early April**
**new D&G mixtape (Johnson & D-roc) collab with Imperetiv in the works, stay tunned**
Youtube: TheGAVtv – weekly episodes of “That’s Wassup wit Johnson”
Just in time for Night Of the Minotaur tomorrow night. Blind Prophet, hailing from Long Island NY, talks a bit on his North East tour that wrapped up just last month after headlining January’s NOTM.
Joe come’s off as a real cool cat an holds it down on the decks. His future bass sounds are what are doing it for me right now. Chill, bassy, and jazzy, some real NY sounds.
Opening this one with a thanks for your time, I know you just wrapped up a North American tour. Who are you, where are you from? Where are you doing this interview from?
No problem, thank you. I wouldn’t call it a North American tour, it was more of a Pacific Northwest tour. Anyway, my name is Joseph Burns and I produce and DJ under the moniker Blind Prophet. I’m from Long Island, New York - which is where I’m doing this interview.
What got you going under the moniker Blind Prophet?
The name Blind Prophet used to be one of my many nicknames in high school. It stems from the fact that I’m legally blind and wear really thick glasses - it just felt right to call myself that. I first started producing tunes about 3 years ago. I had been listening to dubstep and garage almost exclusively at the time and wanted to make music like that. So I got Logic and started tinkering. It took me a long time to develop my sound and to actually make something semi-decent but I’m happy with where I’m at now production-wise.
Where did your tour take you?
I played shows in Seattle and Vancouver and I also visited Portland. We tried to organize a show in PDX but it just wasn’t in the cards - next time though for sure!
Which city produced the most receptive crowd?
Vancouver definitely had the best crowd. I met a few people that had traveled 2+ hours to see me which was kind of surreal. It’s hard for me to imagine that my music has had that kind of impact on someone. So big up to them for coming thru! Vancouver was also great because I got to DJ alongside HxdB and Self Evident - 2 producers that I have looked up to for some time now. Much love to them and everyone else at the Minotaur’s Lair!
Any troubles traveling throughout?
I didn’t run into too much trouble traveling around the Northwest. I did get a little sketched out at the US/Canada border though - they always try to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong when you’re going through customs.
Those boarder guys job is to make you feel uncomfortable. I can only image the lunch room break conversations they have. Hows Long Island living?
Life on Long Island is OK. The town that I live in (Sag Harbor) is not supportive of electronic music at all. The majority of the people here only want to hear cover bands and blues. I was trying to get a monthly night going out here for over a year but I just decided to give up because none of the “venues” want anything to do with it. However, there’s still a tight-knit group of people in my area that support the sound so it’s not a total loss. To hear new music and find out about new artists I have to travel to New York City which is only 2 hours away - I’m cool with that.
How’s the bass music scene out there?
Like I said before the music scene on Long Island is shit but it’s thriving in NYC right now. There are loads of great artists like Archie Pelago, Sleepyhead, Svpreme Fiend, kuxaan SUUM, and Contakt. Pair that with events like Turrbotax, reconstrvct, onthesly, and Percussion Lab and you can’t wrong.
Beautiful landscapes here in the Pacific Northwest. Can we expect you back?
I’d definitely love to come back again. The turnout for the shows was really good and the people that I met were extremely supportive of my music and of the bass music scene overall.
How did you hear about Self Evident & HxdB over there in Long Island?
I first came across HxdB and Self Evident on Soundcloud. I remember listening to HxdB’s tunes and thinking that his tunes were so much better than mine. It got me a little down at first but it drove me to work even harder on production, mixing, arranging - all those things. I still think his tunes are better than mine though haha. Through listening to HxdB I found out about Self Evident, who I think has such an original and unique style - it’s refreshing to hear. And after meeting them both in person it just confirmed how rad they are - both extremely nice people.
Who did you grow up listening to?
I first started getting into music when I was about 10 years old. I remember borrowing my sisters CDs, stuff like Nirvana, R.E.M., Smashing Pumpkins but it wasn’t until much later that I discovered electronic music. I’d say it was about six years ago when I started to get bored with “guitar music”, there just weren’t any good bands coming out anymore in my opinion and at the time I was partial to the the more electronic avenues artists like Radiohead, Bjork, and Mogwai were exploring. I was also getting tired of lyrics and found myself listening to a lot of ambient/instrumental stuff like Tim Hecker, Fennesz, and Max Richter. So once I found dubstep/garage in 2007 it was like “Yes - this is what I’ve been searching for.”
Hardware and software; what are you working with?
My setup is very simple. I produce in Logic and mainly use the built-in synths and plugins. I do have a couple third party plugins that I love to use but they shall remain nameless for now. And the only piece of hardware that I use is my guitar. I’d like to expand my setup one day but for now it works fine for me.
Top 3 artists your feeling lately?
I’ve really been feeling the stuff that Viers, Self Evident, and J. Deville are doing
What movies have you been watching lately?
I just watched ‘The Trip’ and ‘Take Shelter’ this past week. Both very good movies, I’ll be purchasing them both.
Did you watch and or vote for the Grammy’s?
I did watch the Grammys… lasted about five minutes.
Thanks much man. Appreciate the time. Anything you’d like to sign this off with?
I’d just like to thank anyone who has supported me and my music and to you for doing this interview, big up!
Sinjin Hawke - Love Is On Your Side ScHoolboy Q - There He Go Grimes - Be A Body A$AP Rocky - Peso Drake - Make Me Proud feat. Nicki Minaj Azealia Banks - 212 LOL Boys - Flaunt It Juicy J - Who Da Neighbors Busta Rhymes - Gimme Some More Radiohead - Idioteque
This collaboration is the most forward-thinking piece of experimentation I’ve seen out of hip-hop in a long time. That’s not a disparaging statement towards the state of creativity in rap today, but more a credit to how strange and exciting it is to see these two names together.
Bitch you breakfast. I want cheese on my baguette, jelly on my bread. Where the hoe’s at? Bitch you breakfast.
Sleepyhead - Move it - Sines Rmx Moondoctor - On the Flo’ Footwork DJ Rashad and Gant-Manv - Heaven Sent Mister Ries - Hands Up (Instrumental) Mister Ries - The One DJ Taye - Bring it Back 2K12 Philthkids - Up in Here DJ Pillsbury - Push the Feeling (Juke Rmx) Mister Ries - Sugar - Kill Frenzy Rmx DJ Manny, DJ Rashad, Brenmar - Stick up Hesk - Three Six Philthkids - In this House Philthkids - Get wit Chyu Taylor Boi ft Big Bank Black - I.O.U (instrumental) Highways - Lately Highways and Chumpchange - Autoloader Levictus - Burial - Phillip D Kick Remix Philthkids - Untitled Jungle Juke Philthkids and Bassmynt - This (forthcoming Senseless)