Texas is a brewing ground of talent if you pay close enough attention. During my time on Twitter I’ve discovered an ever growing number of artists from different corners of “the lone star state.” Today, I’m talking to Austin, Texas very own Digital Boogie Man otherwise known as Curbside Jones for a Q&A on everything from anime to music to the pros and cons of the internet!
Thanks for sitting down with me! Now, to the unfamiliar who is Curbside Jones aka the Digital Boogie Man? – What’s up!! Thanks for having me! My name is Jerry Manning and I’m a 25 year old songwriter/producer who resides in Austin. I’m a semi decent fighting game player and anime enthusiast. If I wasn’t making music I would probably be a taco chef with a hip hop themed taco truck.
Glad to have you Curb! You’re latest music project Digital Boogie Man dropped on this past Tuesday, what was the idea behind the project and splitting it into two parts? – The idea came from noticing interactions between people and seeing how our infatuation with technology can lead to negative pro social skills. The digital boogie man is a character that represents those who suffer from the effect of technology hindering those pro social skills. It’s a personification of our infatuation with technology and can be anyone, any gender, any age. This is why I stuck to telling stories and painting scenes that were absent of gender labels. I wanted a woman to be able to say the lyrics and they still have the same meaning. I split it into two parts because I didn’t want it to get repetitive and I wanted to touch on deeper topics surrounding technology and touch on more stuff.
Like other artists and rappers proclaiming we need to put our phones down and explore our real life surroundings! Do you think the Internet and social platforms like Twitter and Facebook more or less help people with helping people “interact”? – I believe it depends on the person because we could both have the same media medium and use it differently. I think it ultimately helps us interact, but there needs to be a disconnect at some point ya know? Nothing wrong with online friends, but having people you can interact with in real life is healthy. I’ve met multiple really cool people online, that’s how this interview happened lol I don’t live for tweeting online friends, but I do appreciate the relationships and bonds that can be made.
Speaking of bonds, how do you view yourself and the Austin, Texas music scene? I’ve seen major players and collectives popping up in Dallas courtesy of the New Dallas Blog and wanted to know is it more of a unified front to push music and art out of Texas? – I’ll be 100% honest in saying that Austin’s music scene focus solely on non urban music. There are times when hip hop does get some shine, but the acts that could possibly make a difference don’t get the recognition I feel they deserve. People I know from other Texas cities, such as Dallas, laugh at the state of Austin hip hop and tell me I need to leave ASAP. It can get like every scene with a crabs in a barrel mentality. I feel like if we could all get together and collectively move it could change, but there’s too many egos…so I just focus on building myself and people like Pliny Science. We have a worldly view and we don’t want to stay here forever. Shout out to everyone working though.
Have you seen a change in the city since your past releases like WakeUpSuper! Hyper Omega Elbow Drop Alpha Edition? Or The Cherry Blossom Effect? – Not really, just a few subtle ones. People still turn their nose up at hip hop and hipsters still show up to shows for Instagram.
Have the hipsters become hip and self aware to your more video game and anime influences in your projects? PINK was a very wavy and worthwhile video and WakeUpSuper! Hyper Omega Elbow Drop Alpha Edition has older iteration Street Fighter written all over it. – Yeah, I get people compliment me after shows or on the net and tell me they’re fans of gaming and anime. I actually made friends with some local acts because they heard my songs referencing fighting games and they invited me out to the arcade here to play Street fighter and kick it. I try to make music for the cultures I enjoy because they make me who I am. Back in 2010-2011 I was like strictly anime raps, but they were good and had concepts. I wasn’t one of those, “power up like goku” rappers lol a lot of my concepts these days are inspired by anime, I re-watched Psycho Pass and Steins;Gate while making Digital Boogie Man.
We’re all waiting for the Guilty Gear Strikes Back EP ha ha. When you watch anime, game, and what have you…do you think to yourself, “I could incorporate game into my music or I can expand on this theme that Soul Eater or Monogatari did?”- Always! There’s never a time where I don’t think about how those two worlds would play out in music. They say art imitates life, so art inspiring art that ties back into life only seems right. The key is doing it so smooth people won’t be able to tell where the inspiration came from. The hardest thing for me was finding out how to incorporate what I like without coming off as “nerdcore.” Nothing wrong with the genre but that’s not what I want to strive for.
How do you feel about more mainstream rappers clashing the anime world into how they spread their music? Chris Brown, Robb Bank$, and Xavier Wulf definitely dabble into what anime has to offer. – I honestly don’t listen to any of them like that to know what they do, but that’s cool I guess. Haven’t listened to Chris Brown since exclusive…that was my jam senior year of high school lol. The more people getting hip the better right? All about community!
This is true. Anime has come a LONG way from just being the late night block on Saturday Night. Outside of the music and gaming what shows are you trying to catch when you can? – Music and work has put a damper on anime viewing, but I have caught that new digimon series. I really like how they made it darker and added in heavier consequences for the kids. I’ve been watching Owarimonogatari on and off, but I’ll be able to fully dive into it now that I’m done with music for now.
To wrap up, what can you tell us what’s in store for Curbside Jones in 2016 and what do you have out now the masses should jump on? – 2016 you can expect more music and possibly Digital Boogie Man pt.2. I have some collabs lined up right now, but I don’t want to speak on them until they actually happen. I know for sure I’ll be working closely with Pliny Science on his solo EP and I can’t wait to get started on that at the top of 2016! All the people should go jam Digital Boogie Man because it’s too relevant to not care about! Thanks for your time and I appreciate it!