Back2Pluto.com Presents: An Interview With Jowin, by guest contributor Lumo Rimbaud
In today’s hip-hop world rife with oversaturation and monotony, it SEEMS as though no one is even ATTEMPTING to venture out into the great, rambling, crimson beyond and blaze new trails, chart new ground. Most are too buried in their own narrow-mindedness, too scared to make something memorable, too bound to the boring ol’ past to create something pioneering. But, there are some young, vibrant artists out here doing some amazing things to this genre. Whether it’s the aquatic otherworldliness of Levi Watson and Gary Samurai, or the colorful, Jamla soul of Curbside Jones, ill sounds ARE abundant…if ya know where to sniff mi amigo.
Among these hip hop pariahs stands the amazing Jowin. With influences as disparate as Japanese pop and Gospel, an eclectic production style, and an exquisite ear for beats that perfectly underscore his offbeat subject matter, Jowin is sure to become an artistic giant of the game sooner than later. Mark my words.
Lumo: From where does Jowin hail?
Jowin: Macon, Georgia.
Lumo: What started you on the path to becoming a musician and when did you realize that music was something that you REALLY wanted to do as a career?
Jowin: I realized it was something I really wanted to do around senior year high school, 2009, when this artist named Jubee began mentoring me because he saw my potential.
Lumo: You make a lot of your own beats. The production you did on your Project: Rebloom EP is amazing and really unique. Did you start making your own beats out of necessity?
Jowin: Yep, started off as a necessity, now I actually work best when I’m making my own beats. The more control the better.
Lumo: Who’s your favorite non-hip hop artist to listen to?
Jowin: Haha, I don’t listen to much hip-hop in the first place so it’d be hard to pin it down. Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Utada, alot of random gospel, but specifically Fred Hammond and Karen Clark Sheard, and I’m really liking Jessie Ware right now too. Also anything produced by early Teddy Riley is always in my rotation.
Lumo: Though it isn’t the only thing you talk about in your music, the otaku culture seems to be a prominent part of your artistry. Being a fan of anime and gaming myself, I actually became a fan of yours through the song “Cosplay Girl Rebloom”, and seeing that Persona 3 S.E.E.S armband in your “Wallflower” video. How and when did you get introduced to otaku culture?
Jowin: I started watching anime around 2002, like most kids. But got introduced to otaku culture in 2005, when I first got my PSP. I used to go to this community fan site called PSPCrazy.net to download stuff for my PSP. They had a section on the forum for videos too so I would just go there out of curiosity, and download random stuff like the Red vs. Blue series and Family Guy, but they had a bunch of anime too, so I took advantage of that and started marathoning random anime like crazy. Combine this with the fact that me and my family just moved to the countryside so we switched to satellite TV and consequently got the G4TV channel. One thing lead to another and I came to find that anime and gaming had a culture surrounding it, so I became a part of it.
Lumo: What are some of your favorite anime? Samurai Champloo is MY personal all-time favorite.
Jowin: Tenchi series, Genshiken, Panty and Stocking, Steins; Gate, Outlaw Star are the top fives. I have alot of favorites though (and non-favorites) you can see most of them on Myanimelist profile
Lumo: Favorite gaming console?
Jowin: This is always a hard question for me. Gamecube has my favorite game of all time on it, Super Smash Bros. Melee, PS1 gave me my fondest memories though. I think overall though, you really can’t deny the PS2’s library. You cannot front on the diversity, quality, and quantity that console has. So I’d say PS2 is my favorite.
Lumo: What exactly is “Weekend Cartunes”?
Jowin: We’re a video production collective. We make short films, music videos obviously, video game related video content, documentaries and we’ve officially started creating cartoons/anime now too, we have more types of stuff we want to create but that’s what we’re able to do right now. We want to bring something different as far as what our content represents. We release seasonally but as we expand more and more we’ll be able to release things more regularly.
Lumo: Individualism and isolation are two themes you speak on a lot in your lyrics, in songs like “Wallflower” and “Miiflow(er)”. You even sort of poked fun at the idea that people may have of you as this hermit with the title of your latest project, “Jowin Actually Has Friends”. What’s so enticing about the solitary life *laughs*?
Jowin: I don’t know, I could get really philosophical about it but I think a simple answer would be “control”. When you’re in solitude you have the most control over what’s happening.
Lumo: What has been the worst comparison your music has received?
Jowin: I don’t even want to say it because you never know who’s reading, it’s so random and reachy that you wouldn’t even be able to guess it most likely. To make this a positive answer though, most people say I sound like nothing they’ve heard, especially recently.
Lumo: Which one of your projects was the most fun to record and why?
Jowin: Out of the ones already out: Luff, Jowin. When I started working with Plue [Starfox], it brought out the final piece of what kind of artist I want to be. That project also made me more comfortable with taking risks. I think people are able to hear that when they listen to it too, there’s a sense of freedom and humor to it that shines through. Those elements have stayed in my artistry ever since.
Lumo: Out of all the producers you’ve worked with, including yourself, who is your favorite collaborator?
Jowin: So, if I can include myself, then I’d have to say myself. I’m as much of a producer as I am a rapper/vocalist, doing both is how I work best.
Lumo: Any upcoming projects you want our readers to keep their ears open for?
Jowin: Circumescent, my first full-length album, and the last project of the 2013 trilogy, releases this Winter. New season of “Weekend Cartunes” begins this Fall. We have some new shows, we’ve improved our current ones, and we even have some new people. Should be fun.
Lumo: Alright Jowin, that’s that. Thank you very much for your time. Any shout outs???
Jowin: Weekend Cartunes cast. Midnight Kids Academy. And most importantly shout outs to you guys for having me!