The technology of the music industry has been moving at a rapid pace in the last few years. This has helped many an independent artist reach new heights in their career. One such artist is our new friend JON BLOK who handles all the aspects of his blossoming music career with the help of tech.
We caught up with the talented hip-pop artist to get a deeper look into his thoughts about the future of the music industry. Enjoy the interview here:
What first drew you to the art of music?
As a child I was immersed in the arts, I took guitar and drum lessons at a very young age and my grandmother managed a band and always had musicians at her home. My aunt played bass and my father had a pretty extensive record collection and sang in an acapella group. So music has always been there for me. I feel like I was born into it.
How would you describe the Jon Blok sound?
I would describe the sound as genre blending. It’s a mix of my personal journey and experiences in life. It’s got the boom bap of hip hop as well as the soulful R&B and jazzy spiritual moments at it’s core. Take that musical base and energize it with edm, then mix in some rock with a rebellious edge and you’ve got the Jon Blok sound. Trim the edges and combine some sticky hooks, a pop sensibility and a love for tech culture and that sound is 100% Jon Blok.
Which artists had the biggest influence on your artistic development?
So many artists have influenced my development. I would have to say Michael Jackson is a major influence for sure. He took the pop sound and pushed beyond the borders. He blended his sound with rock, edm, funk, soul, hip hop and jazz and served it up in a palatable way. Many other artists are to be included on my influencer list from Kanye, Kid Cudi, Dr. Dre, Pharrell, Quincy Jones, Chemical Brothers.. The list goes on!
Tell us about your songwriting process. How does a song come together for Jon Blok?
I have 2 basic methods that bring me to a completed song. Music inspired songs reveal themselves after I hear a particular instrumental and the lyrics seem to pop immediately into my mind. I love to freestyle so letting loose on an instrumental is a great feeling—like a horse bursting out of the starting gate. With this method I record the entire freestyle and edit sections as needed. I extract the hook idea and craft that until it’s in a good place and I keep going until the song is written. The other method is when the lyric and melody appear first. This happens at random times so I capture that idea on my phone and build the music based on this lyrical idea.
From what we understand you handle all aspects of creating your music. Tell us about your ‘all in’ approach?
Yes, I handle all aspects of my music from production, songwriting, mixing, engineering and mastering. I love sound, music and the limitless possibilities in the sonic landscape. It’s amazing how deep the rabbit hole goes when you keep learning! It’s very important to me to be self sufficient, to have the ability to execute my vision without relying on anyone else. I definitely enjoy collaboration and enjoy the benefits from that experience—but at the same time, being able to deliver on what I hear in my heart and mind is extremely satisfying. It’s taken me a very long time to get my sound to a place where it actually sounds like what I hear in my head. Everyday is a learning experience so there’s still more to do—learn and adjust.
We hear that you are very into the tech aspect of the new music industry. Where do you see the future of independent music?
We see it happening now. Artists are in more control of their product and are building their fanbase and audiences on their own. The systems and profits from music streams, ticket sales and merch can all be managed easily from your phone. Since performing is pretty much a mandatory component of the music biz nowadays, I predict easier “plug and play” touring options for independent artists to expose themselves to new fans. Personally, I’m really excited about the blockchain based platforms for crypto art like SuperRare.co and music platforms like Ujomusic.com
I noticed your song “HODL”, is that in regard to cryptocurrencies? What are your thoughts on that?
Yes, the song HODL is about the crypto space. It’s inspired by the communities ethos “Hold on For Dear Life”. At the core.. It’s about having faith and believing in a unified vision—an idea that mankind has the ability to create new systems and design a collaborative future. It’s a dedication to the mission and to not be swayed by fluctuations in a market that only sees value in financial gains. I’ve found two distinct worlds within crypto. One is heart led—a tight knit community of people looking to reinvent new ways of engagement, access and possibilities for our connected world. The other side of that is people just looking to make quick money anyway they can. I would say the community overall is a collection of intelligent, heroic doers looking to shake shit up—I’m really inspired by that kind of drive and purpose—it permeates my music.
Give us some advice for other new artists in this wild new music industry.
Hmmm… I’d say take the time to find out who you are. Why do you make music? What’s your mantra? Who else is into that? Be brave and push forward into new directions! I’d also strongly suggest to keep learning and growing your knowledge base in general.
What does the future look like for the career of Jon Blok?
I’m very fortunate to have a manager now. It wasn’t something that I planned—it just naturally fell into place. My manager, Darius is a super smart and driven data analyst who thinks in a completely different way than I do, which is pretty awesome! Since the debut album “Coded Love” was just released we’re lining up shows now. Hometown BK and NYC to begin and we’ll be in Cali late July and have some press events already set up, so it’s official go time. I’m also producing several amazing artists and collaborating regularly. More to come… Thanks so much!
Keep up with more from Jon Blok on his WEBSITE.