Jonah baseball - Interview
Everybody meet Jonah Baseball. Jonah Baseball will be performing at Ann Arbor’s Blind Pig this Wednesday night (2/18) as a supporting act for Flamingosis and Moon Bounce. Flamingosis is an electro-experimental-hip-hop group from New Jersey and Moon Bounce self-describes his genre of music to be Mutant Pop, he’s from Philadelphia. Flandy will also be a support act, he is also Ann Arbor based.
More Than The Melody caught Jonah open up for Spazzkid and Giraffage last week (2/11) at the Blind Pig and found that show to be incredibly exciting. Our team wanted to follow up by asking Jonah all sorts of questions ranging from his stage name to why we should consider attending a show of his. His answers are totally intriguing. Take a look at our conversation! Tickets are inexpensive and you can buy them at the door!
MttM: So Jonah, you’re a student at the University of Michigan, what do you study?
Jonah Baseball: I study my surroundings and my friends mostly. I also spend my time studying other people’s music in order to better my own.
What is the significance behind your stage name? A play on Johnny Football?
Maaan, I’ve been Jonah Baseball long before anyone knew who that man was haha. It was my nickname on the high school baseball team for some reason. It really stuck. Then one day, a producer I really look up to said, “that name is swag on a hunnit”. So naturally, I adopted it as my music moniker.
What does Baseball mean to you? Does the sport or the act of playing the sport reflect on how you produce your beats?
At the beginning, baseball itself had no real influence on the music I was making. I just really loved the aesthetic of baseball and the unique language that came with it. (i.e. “grand slams”, “fungoes”, “slugger”) However, after recently reading a wonderful review of my song “World Series”, I gained an interesting perspective on the connection my music might have with baseball. The review explained that I’m “leaping into conceptual storytelling and producing a mini symphony with distinct movements containing their own energies and moods”. It’s weird but really nice to see my A.D.D. style, validated as an ode to baseball in that way. Other than that, I’m just a fan of baseball.
What genre would you categorize your music as?
I wouldn’t really, because I tend to work in a lot of different styles. But groove is at the base of all my stuff.
When did you start to make beats?
I got Logic in about 11th grade, but I don’t think I really understood what I was doing until about 2 years ago. That’s when I started making real progress.
What’s your favorite instrument to play, and to incorporate into your tracks?
I’d say that the jazz organ is one of my favorite instruments right now. I’ve always incorporated it in a lot of my music and I guess it also has a nice connection to baseball. But other than that, I pretty much do everything with a midi keyboard.
You’re from the DC area, correct? How has this region shaped who you are and your music?
In high school, other than my best friend Tony [Lindsay Lowend], I didn’t really know anyone else who made music on a computer. It wasn’t until the summer after sophomore year of college that some local producers invited Tony and I to come hang at their studio; which oddly enough, was only a block or two from our high school. Meeting that crew was one of the best things for me. For a while, there was a really nice scene for producers in the DMV [DC, Maryland, Virginia area]. Through that I was able to make some really solid connections and watch other promising artists’ careers take off. I definitely learned a lot and gained a lot of confidence and support the DMV music community.
I see on SoundCloud that you have collaborated with Lindsay Lowend and Alex Young (especially on two rad GoldLink remixes) are these two artists from the DC area as well?
Yeah, all of us are from the DMV. GoldLink too. I think those guys are some of the best connections I’ve made. Done a lot of stuff with them.
Who are three artists that you hope to work with in the future?
Luckily, I’ve had the chance to collaborate with some of my favorite artists already. But I would love to get more work with GoldLink, some songs with this killer singer Austin Crute, and the king, Lido.
Is there a different genre that you strongly connect with?
I’ve been getting back into a lot of Romantic era music lately, like Ravel, Debussy, and Dvorak. It’s important to listen to music that challenges and pushes my musical language.
Aside from your show this Wednesday with Flamingosis, what does your gig schedule look like for the upcoming year? If nothing is really happening, what do you hope it will look like?
I’m going to play SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, which is exciting. I’m not sure if I’m doing any festivals this summer yet. We’ll see. Other than that, I gig around town a whole lot. You can catch my band, “Which Way the Train”, at the Blind Pig on Feb. 27th.
On an ending note, what makes your show special? Why should we come to your show?
My show is special because I’m most likely going to play music you haven’t heard before, plus I’m trying to stray away from simply DJing and incorporate more of a live element. I play live keys with my set now. However, if I am doing a DJ set, its gonna have great energy and I promise to make you dance and yell stuff.
On a funnier note, what does Jonah Baseball think a whale’s concept of land is?
On a sad note, it seems like a place a lot of whales go to die. Not sure how they get stuck on land, but its sad and a lot of them die…
Here's the Facebook event, we'll see you there!
By Ben Schechter