Interview with Johnny Voltik

As promised, I got a chance to catch up with Johnny Voltik following his recent show at The Annex (shouts to Isobel Music Society). Since this was the second time attending an "Illustrious" live show, my expectations were much higher. I can't front, homie delivered once again. Johnny Vo is definitely AN ARTIST YOU NEED TO CHECK FOR.

Here's a snippet:

Johnny Vo: I feel like we're in a musical renaissance right now and its about to hit. You know? And its already hitting. But now its about to be scene. You know what I'm sayin? Cause I feel like I'm going through that right now.

TCM: Thats optimistic. You hear so much about Hip Hop being dead, its good to see somebody who's optimistic about it.

Johnny Vo: I mean, that shit can't die unless muthaf*ckas die. I'm alive, shit. I'm breathing and coming through the iPod right now, you know what I mean?

TCM: Thats whats up.

Johnny Vo:...To the general public, Hip Hop is probably 35 years old right now. You remember how you was when you were a kid. You was 3 or 4 years old and all you did was you know, you come with these big dreams and such, and you live those dreams as a child. You know what I'm sayin? One day I was Michael Jackson and the next day I was...Reggie Jackson. Then the next day I was Popeye. And then my grandfather said "I thought you was Popeye, and now your Michael Jackson?" I was like, "no n*gga, I'm Popeye Jackson!"

TCM: I was always a Thundercat.

Johnny Vo: Yo, but there you go. So at that young age of Hip Hop, it was "as pure as it can be." And then Hip Hop moved up and it hit its teenage years...and those teenage years were like those 80s years. You had Big Daddy Kane. You had these artists, you know what I'm sayin? And we were just having fun. Teenage years; hormones are flyin,' tryna f*ck everything that walks. Thats where Hip Hop was as a being, right.

TCM: Right.

Johnny Vo: And then the 90s hit...and Hip Hop was in college. Hip Hop was drinking. Hip Hop was smoking. Hip Hop is like "yo, son I'm bring this chick back to the crib, we gonna bang it out." Thats where Hip Hop was, you know what I'm sayin? And then in the late 90s, Hip Hop hit the corporate world. So Hip Hop was, aight, graduated from college. Now its starting to....get her shit off. She's hittin the spots - starting to get that guap. So we're starting to get that guap, you know what I'm sayin? And hit that 26 / 27 years, you start thinking about other shit. And everything you had accumulates, you know? And then you learned the skills in order to be a commercial person in order to make money. You've learned your skills as a child to be a dreamer to keep it as pure as possible. And then when you hit your 30s, thats when you've mastered it. So then you're getting married and you've mastered it and you're coming into your own and you're peaking out. So now Hip Hop is in its 30s and 40s and shit. And they say the greatest people in the world...thats when they really come into they're own. And thats where we're at right now...

Click here to hear Johnny Voltik and The Blackbird's bass guitarist Grant, and their thoughts on rockin to a non-hip hop crowd, getting loud when the neighbors move out, Hip Hop's musical renaissance, and saying less and meaning more.

Open (Live)

Natural (Live)

For new music and upcoming show dates, check Johnny Voltik on his myspace page or at Grant can be reached at his site

Carry on..


Anonymous said...

dear the company man,

we love you.

and we love johnny voltik.

here's to the renaissance.


Unknown said...

That was the best analogy for Hip-Hop that I've heard in a while

- Will

sean P. said...

Great interview. I see what he is saying if he is looking at the hip hop industry as a community consisting of many individuals with different skill sets, abilities, and personalities. That would be a hopeless view if he is looking at the hip hop game as one body. It's too much "wrong" in the industry with sprinkles of "what's right". It's just not enough "right" for me to feel comfortable with saying "it's coming into it's own".