Not too often do you come across someone who creates everything for themselves. You usually have a rapper, who has people make his cover art, his beats, etc. In this interview, I have someone who does all of that. Meet: Jalan I
First things first, where are you from?
Originally I’m from Montreal, Canada but I was born an air force brat so I traveled and lived all over, in places like Shinjuku, Paris, etc. then ended up in the Midwest in Minnesota.
What made you get into music and creating digital art?
I guess what really got me started making art and music was just a fascination with animation and instruments. I was always drawing as a kid and played a lot of instruments for school. I loved writing. I always made comic series and movie scripts back in high school, and I already loved just listening to music so I decided why not give it a try myself? I worked at a music equipment and instrument repair shop and one of bosses there had a studio space he let me utilize whenever, so I started making a lot of demos and rough EP’s.
What inspires you to make music? Art?
What truly inspires me to make art and music is simply the fact of self-expression. yes, some people have “similarities” in the way they do things, but I truly believe when you create a piece of art or a new song that is completely yours, it has meaning. It might not be your best work of art, but the fact that you put your time and effort into it makes it rare and something you should be more than willing to show the world.
When it comes to beat selection, how do you go about picking the right ones?
When it comes to choosing a beat to work with it’s kind of a 50/50 situation, I usually just start to write lyrics in my head or vice versa I’ll sit down and just start creating a melody. For me I enjoy making catchy, 808 filled wet beats. In my spare time I like to mess around and make 8 bit beats too.
I see myself being a successful artist whether it be in graphic design or music. I feel like artists struggle no matter what but that’s half of what drives us to do better and tap into our creativity, and show the world the meaning and worth of our hard work. I make art because it’s what I love to do, it’s all I know when it comes to conveying what I feel and it feels good to know you made something you can be proud of.
How did you create a following as large as yours?
With twitter it’s really funny, when “weird twitter” was still a thing all I really did online was tell jokes. I would post art here and there just sketches and then eventually began releasing music while simultaneously still just doing strictly comedy online. then whenever I traveled I began to have meet and greets with followers and fans and eventually people started to tune in. I’ll never consider myself “twitter famous” because the term is bullshit, but it’s nice to know people fuck with what I do because it’s what I love
Is it weird to you sometimes that you have such a large following?
It really is weird to me when I go online sometimes and notice how huge my following’s gotten over the last few years. some people think it’s fake, some people probably think it gives me a big head but in the scheme of things it doesn’t mean too much. It’s nice to know that I have fans and followers in a lot of places that I can connect with and who appreciate my work. It’s crazy to think I got on twitter jokingly at first and doing little comedy things and over the years it’s evolved into a fun business networking tool.
What do you think of the music/art scene in your city?
I believe the music scene in Minnesota is on a major come up this year. There’s a handful of gems from the Minneapolis area that have been influences for all the youth, but a lot of young rappers are getting the spotlight now and it’s nice to see others with passion out there.
Would you collab with any local artists? If so, who?
There’s a lot of amazing artist coming up out of Minnesota now. If I had to say someone that I really hope to collab with it would either be GainesFM (@ShinobiGaines), Finding Novyon (@FindingNovyon) or Allan Kingdom (@AllanKngdm)
Who or what influences some of the things you’ve created?
I guess as far as influence, a lot of my work is dark and minimalist when it comes to my art. My preferred drawing style is more manga like but that is also an influence from my time spent living in Japan when all I did was draw. My influence is kind of a mixture of whatever I find appealing color wise and rhythmically.
“what truly inspires me to make art and music is simply the fact of self-expression”
Speaking of manga, do you have any favorite manga?
I would have to say one of my overall favorite mangas is definitely One Piece, but I’m a huge anime fan so honestly the list goes on for days haha.
What was your favorite place that you lived?
I would have to say Shinjuku and Montreal were my two favorite places to live. There’s so much culture and music going on in both places and just completely different cultural perspectives that really influenced my overall style.
You said you played a lot of instruments, which one was the most difficult? Do you still play?
I would say that the violin was one of the hardest to play haha, and currently I still play guitar, saxophone, a little piano and drums.
What program do you use for beats?
For making beats I’ve always stuck with one of the classics, FL Studio, but I also use Logic Pro X, Reaper, Protools, Melodyne, & Garageband.
Is the writing process for songs a long one for you?
For song writing I guess it just depends on what comes first. I always find myself just randomly forming a hook in my head and then writing from there or I’ll sit down and start making a beat and give it a name and I’ll go straight from there and start writing off that.
Should we be on the lookout for any new art? or upcoming projects?
This year I plan to release a lot of darker illustrations and possibly a mini comic series as well, about my everyday life. As for projects, I’m releasing a new EP in the next few months, while simultaneously working on my first debut album.
To keep up with what Jalan I is doing, follow his Twitter & Soundcloud