About three years ago I was on the lookout for some new music. Well, on my search I came across a artist by the name of “Abjo”. Sometimes you get tired of the same ole music from the same ole artist…(no disrespect). So what I did was go on a mission. I’m shocked at what I found. I listen and listen and listen (yeah it’s that much music). This producer has so much music, you would be shocked. But it’s not just a lot of music, it’s quality, thought out, pure from the heart, hiphop.
JDilla? Very close my friends. I kept up with this guy, hit him up few times throughout the years, and with the new connect with AG and MaschineMasters.com, I have a way to introduce this producer to more people. Check out the convo with AbJo and your boy Rushaa
Rushaa: This is a big deal to me bro. How is everything going with you?
AbJo: I’m good, my man, fresh outta school life, just graduated, visited and performed in Europe for the first time, just got back home to San Diego a week ago, so I’m somewhat relieved…
R: Last time we talked, you were in France and had just did a show in Ireland. We have to get into this, because a lot of us want to get to that level.
A: First off, shouts to Dublin, Cork, and my mans Dave Desmond for setting me up with those shows out there, major props, sir. Yeah, so Ireland was dooope. And unexpectedly beat-music friendly as well, I even had folks from Austria and Vienna come out to support my Dublin show at the Bernard Shaw. Real honest vibe there, I felt strangely at home there. Anyone from and staying in SD knows what I’ll mean by this: It’s like North Park, but whole-city sized, haha! Anyway, bottom line, my performances were received well, and I urge my fellow colleagues to try and reach out there, and to the entire U.K. for that matter, they really do dig us out there.
R: Thats what’s up. got to shout out your supporters for sure.
R: Explain your journey into music. How old were you when you started creating any kind of music?
A: Elementary school, maybe I was it was the 4th grade, I’ll say it was 5th, though. Someone handed me a violin, I wanted to play the trumpet, but as fate had it, I learned how to read, play, write and compose music by way of playing in the orchestras and string quartets all through my formative years and what not. 7 years and some change later and fresh out of a performing arts school, I’m making beats at San Diego State University my freshman year.
R: Any other instruments?
A: Yeah, I picked up playing the piano, drums and various forms of percussion all on my own in school, and all of my musical training is pretty much my foundation for the way I make beats and produce.
R: Does anyone in your family create music?
A: A good handful of my family are into music, my cousins in LA, specifically. One has a band, licenses and sells both his music and others for Warner, the other is one half of the production team THC, who’s produced for Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Dom Kennedy, a bunch of the New West cats out there; if you know him, his name is Axl Folie, and if anyone really knows him, flip him off and tell him that was from me. He’ll know what it means…
R: Oh yeah, its in the blood bro. Axl Folie and Rick Bricks of THC. They some cool kats. They’re humble too.
R: Do you remember your first track?
A: Sadly, I do not. I don’t think I want to either, haha… if I still have the hard drive it’s stored on. It would be something magical to listen to, though. A very rare beat that would be…
R: At what point in your life did you say, “This is what I’m going to do with my life” ?
A: Had to have been when I first got one of my beat tapes on a blog that I had been following for a while. In retrospect, it wasn’t that big of a deal, but for me, it was and always has been the only validation I’ve needed: somebody, even if it’s just one person halfway across the country, likes what I do.
R: Was there any fear?
A: Oh yeah. There still is. 5 years ago when I started doing this, the atmosphere was actually different. I’m less sure than I was when I started. I’m more okay with not being sure, though. It frees me from expecting for things to go my way, and letting things happen to me that are actually beneficial. I’m trying to leave the idealist lifestyle behind in favor of an optimistic and realist way of thinking, if you know what I mean…
R: How important are friends and family in this industry?
A: They’re the only really important things, really. I want people to buy, listen, and support my music based entirely off merit and talent alone, but it’s of absolute gravity that my friends and family benefit from this, and without them, I would not be where I am. Plain and simple.
R: As you’ve clearly done this for years, tell us why we should not have any fear when working for our dreams.
A: There’s always a way to make it work. It might not be exactly as planned, but often times, such a way could be more than you could’ve dreamed for, in my opinion. Do what you love and eff the rest, though, I say.
R: How many Albums have you completed?
A: I’m gonna guess, officially, around 10-11 or so. At least in the past few years…
R: I remember coming across you a few years ago on The Soul Dojo. I listened to everything I could get my hands on. I’m like this kat is like the Prince of hiphop! ALL the music was different. And it was so much of it! How in the world do you come up with so many songs?
A: All my time was devoted to makin’ beats, seriously. Well, half. The other half was either partying my face off or tryna get as faded as possible. But then it was right back to beats. Should have been school, now that I think about it, missed a whooole lot of class. Good thing I’m relatively intelligent, otherwise, I wouldn’t have made it through my first year of college…
R: Hahaa….Tell us a typical day I the life of Abjo. A beat making day. We want the details brother, like what’s going through your head? Are Wheaties involved? Details bro! The full process….
A: No Wheaties, haha. Weed, yes. Jameson, yes. Coffee, yes. In that order, sometimes. I like to say my process of inebriation and the evolution of such correlates some how with my progression musically and creatively. In layman’s terms, the more refined my choice of vices got, the more evolved my sound did. Aside from that, I pretty much try to loosen up however I feel necessary, and let the juices flow into the controllers and keyboards, so as to come out with any number of beats I feel like making. It’s a bit like meditation, in that sense…
R: That’s a serious process…lol
R: Now at some point in your life you say…”I’m going to France? Ireland? lol How do you get from the states studio setup to being able to get a gig’s like that?
A: I haven’t the right answer to that, my man. It just…happened. Also, my lover funded most of my trip, including the flights to and throughout Europe, so there’s that. Also thanks to Soulection and Potholes In My Blog, I had the fan base and international contacts on lock, so it wasn’t entirely out of the question…
(Inside voice: This Kat said his lover funded his trip!)
R: What is the plan going to a show? A lot of people I know use Ableton Live for the live performance. What’s your setup? Is it a freestyle or a organized show?
A: Depends on the night. I use Ableton Live for both performing my beats and DJing, but the two are pretty much the same right now. I’m still getting to know Ableton, but it’s fun to use, so I’m never bored, always learning something new when I pull it up. But yeah, right now, it’s just my MacBook running Ableton Suite 8, a digital Tascam interface, and my MPD32. Most of my shows are organized, but often times, I just put together a random playlist for the night and make a set on the fly.
R: I see you have your style of music as Electronic Soul. This is Truth. You remind me of JDilla. He used to do all kind of unique things with sound and samples. Was this always your style?
A: I would say so. Yeah, electronic soul is just semantics. Just electronic is fine, though, I guess most would agree with you that it’s fitting, haha. And yeah, Dilla is clearly an influence…
R: How long did it take to get to the level you’re on now?
A: From start to finish, about 5 years up to now. I’m always getting somewhere new, or trying, at least.
R: I would ask where you got all your samples, but I won’t. But I will ask what are you looking for in a sample?
A: Whatever just sticks out to me in a record. Sometimes, it’ll be a drum loop, a rhythm, a certain sound or instrument, a pattern, anything, really. Just gotta be something that’s unique about it…
R: Samples, Electronic sounds and soul. This is a form of hiphop. Are you on a journey to a new form of music? Or will you always consider yourself hiphop?
A: I can’t say I’m entirely hip hop, any more. Yeah, I’m pretty much ride or die, but these days, I think there’s a big divide between a lot of us, so the authenticity of one’s alliance here is really up to the individual, I think. So I think I am. Other than that, I also see myself as a jazz musician as well, and in a sense, a modern day composer, side from how facetious that may sound, haha…
R: What is hiphop?
A: Before, I was to believe it was a culture. Now? It’s more like a religion. Word to Kanye, I guess, right? I like the virtues, the tenets hip hop built, I don’t always support the common practices and practitioners…
R: I believe in change and growth. But, what do we need to do to keep hiphop alive with those orginal roots?
A: Just remembering where it came from, and what it used to be before things started to get funny…
R: Is hiphop dying?
A: Nah. I think the initial idea of it might be, though…
R: Your journey has been deep. You’ve seen the world. You’ve met so many people in your life. You’ve reached higher plateaus. What advice do you have for all the artist and inspiring artist on MaschineMasters.com and the world alike?
A: Have fun. Make having fun the driving force of you doing what you do. If you’re not having a blast when you make a song, if it doesn’t make you feel good, stop doing it. Just have fun, because there’s a lot of other work coming your way if you really wanna do this for a living…
R: Tell me your setup:
– MacBook Pro
– TASCAM US-144 MKII
– Korg padKONTROL
– Yamaha Clavinova
– Reason 5
– Ableton Suite 8
R: Are you looking foreword to anything new?
A: I haven’t really thought about that, off top, I can’t think about anything. But if we’re talking about my own stuff, I have a couple projects I’m releasing I’m hyped about, which I’m sure you’ll hear about soon.
R: MPC OR MASCHINE? Have you tried the two?
A: Maschine, for me, at least. I can see how one can build a career entirely off an MPC, but after starting off with pretty much both, I found the digital end of things to be my calling…
R: That’s cool..
R: What’s your favorite piece in the studio, hardware or software?
A: Hardware, for sure. Got this new Sterling Audio mic that’s actually kinda killer, been using it to sample sounds and finally record some solid vocals. And the new MPC Renaissance is pretty much exactly what I would have suggested to AKAI, but they beat me to the punch, haha…
R: How many albums do you have out?
A: I believe I actually have 10 releases out, including the last 2 I just put out last month…
R: Where can we buy your music?
R: Which one do you say stays in your memory as your favorite to do?
A: That’s a tough one. It has to be either the recent Anagoge, or TurnItUp!, which I put out myself a couple years back…
R: Which one was the most difficult to finish?
A: Anagoge, definitely. That one actually took pretty much a whole year, literally since last January. Finally released it this past December, and I felt like weight just disappeared off my shoulders and what not.
R: How can you get over a creative hump?
A: Often times? I take a break from it all and just live, do all the other things I like to do. Now, I pretty much do all these things at once, but when it comes down to it, I still just stop trying and simply let it be, you know?
R: For sure. I feel that. Sometimes you just have to let it flow.
A: My latest effort is the aforementioned Anagoge, was released on Soulection Records this past December. Probably my loudest, banginest release to date, so I’m quite proud of it, hahaha…
R: I listened to that. It is bangin! lol
Well MaschineMasters.com family, that’s my boy Abjo! You have got to check him out as soon as possible! Trust me when I say this, you will learn from him. What I see is simple. If you do what you love, it will be simple to succeed in this music thing. Be you. Trust your heart when it comes to your production and you could end up in Europe too, lol, bringing your creations to the other side of the globe!
Thank you for your time Abjo, we have learned a lot, and we are inspired!
Till next time fam, I’ll holla at cha later!