In the past few years, the internet music scene has been pretty oversaturated with the geeky, otaku-gamer specific lyricists out there. The majority of those rappers have all been average at best. Anybody can throw on a Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog sample, spit some DBZ-related lyrics and label the song as a “nerdcore” track, but there are a select few who would rather go the extra mile for the love of their music.
Last summer while checking out Plue Starfox’s Soundcloud, I listened to a track titled “Cosplay Girl Part 2″. Not only was the track itself pretty catchy but the lyrics and wordplay were no less than immaculate.
After doing a bit of research, I found that the mind behind the track itself was a dude named Jowin. After enjoying “Cosplay Girl”, I downloaded the album “The Wallflower Project” and I became an instant fan from that point on.
Jowin has a very eclectic blend of old school hip-hop and R&B along with an otaku-gamer flare. I recently had a chance to talk with Jowin about his musical beginnings, favorite games, anime and everything in between.
CJP: “Where are you from?”
Jowin: “I’m from Macon, Georgia.”
CJP: “What is your musical background?”
Jowin: “I don’t have a traditional background. Most of my musical skill comes from the Most High, Youtube tutorials, studying the artists I admire, and self-teaching through trial and error. I was in the marching band in high school though, played the biggest bass drum. I also went to a black Christian school from K5 to 8th grade and we practiced and sang black contemporary gospel every day basically. I’m sure those things may have nurtured my musicality in ways I probably can’t see or explain.”
CJP: “Who are your biggest musical inspirations?”
Jowin: “There’s a lot man, but I’ll try to keep it short: Teddy Riley, Utada Hikaru, The Pharcyde, Bobby Brown, Flying Lotus, and Janet Jackson. They all have equally influenced me up to this point.”
CJP: “Which album/EP did you enjoy composing the most?”
Jowin: “The current one I’m working on, Circumescent. It’s taken way longer than I expected because I’ve been experimenting more than ever. I don’t sample anymore and my taste has changed a lot since Hyaline. I’ve been giving myself time to grow with the project by listening to it over and over and over again, I’ve been scrapping songs, re-working songs and adding new ones constantly.”
“Because of that, the direction of the album, sound wise, has shifted a lot. But the concept is still the same: a transcendent body of work that reflects everything within me and everything I’ve surrounded myself with. All of my past projects have only reflected an isolated moment in my life. I want this to represent something more than a moment. The only way I can accomplish that is by taking more than a moment to finish it, I’m almost done and I’ve enjoyed the journey a lot.”
CJP: “What are your top favorite anime? (I have a feeling I know the answer to this one)!”
Jowin: “I have four: The Tenchi series is my favorite of all time. After that, Steins;gate is amazing. Outlaw Star is amazing, and Panty & Stocking. Genshiken is up there too but I’m waiting for the second season, they just confirmed it’s in the works so I’m hype.”
CJP: “What games are you playing at the moment (if any)?”
Jowin: “Tiny Toons: Buster’s Hidden Treasure on the Sega Genesis. A friend of mine introduced me to the game and it is surprisingly fun haha. But other than that, I haven’t had much time. When I do get time again though, I want to get a 3DS and go through its library so far, it looks really great. I’m also interested in playing Injustice: Gods Among Us when it comes out next month (April). And I can’t wait for Tales of Xillia to release in the Summer.”
CJP: “I’ve noticed a few of your tracks, have a lot of Tenchi Muyo voice snippets in them. I love me some Tenchi Muyo as well. Who is/are your favorite characters of the Tenchiverse?”
Jowin: “Tenchi himself is really cool. I can relate to him a lot in terms of his relationships/interactions with women. Mihoshi’s personality is hella, hella, hella cute. Probably the cutest I’ve ever seen in an anime to this day. She’s so clueless, it’s too kawaii for words. And Washu is simply just a cool character. I like how she can be really serious and intelligent one second and then be really silly and troll-ish the next.”
CJP: “What anime conventions do you go to regularly?”
CJP: “Do you feel that gaming and anime culture go hand-in-hand?”
Jowin: “Of course! Strangely enough though, there’s a huge chunk of the gaming community that sees anime as taboo, especially from the newer generation of gamers. But yeah, anime loving gamers are a great example of how the two cultures go hand in hand. I see the marriage of anime and gaming culture a lot in the anime fighting game community especially.”
CJP: “Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with? If so, who?”
Jowin: “I’m working on collaboration with this one artist named Nick Diamante. There are two random artists I found on Soundcloud that I want to produce for, but I don’t want to specify them though because we haven’t started yet.”
“Other than that, I honestly just like collaborating with the people I’m already comfortable with, Plue Starfox, Mark II, and Sabir Muhammad. My philosophy on collaborations is that it should really just come together naturally. I feel like the best collaborations aren’t too premeditated or planned. So I try not to go out of my way to collab unless the inspiration is genuine.”
CJP: “You recently started a new Youtube channel known as “Weekend Cartunes”. What does that channel entail?”
Jowin: “Weekend Cartunes is a Youtube channel I started with my friends Lobo Amaruq, Kana Katana, Chibu Okere, and Gerard Johnson. Lobo creates gaming content. Gerard shoots anime convention related content. Kana is the star of ‘Cosplay Girl’, which is basically a music video/short film series that follows the story of what a cosplay girl goes through. Chibu is the art director and he is working on an animated series, he also helps with the channel’s aesthetic. I provide the soundtrack to it all with my music. Everyone also plans on doing more things on the channel beyond their current roles too.”
“The channel currently is anime and gaming culture inspired. But soon, we’ll be showing that the vision is bigger than that, it really is an art media project. That will become more apparent as time progresses. People have been really supportive so far though and I’m having a lot of fun with it, I’m excited about all of the series we’re working on. Everyone on the cast is great to work with too and they’re all really talented.”
Weekend Cartunes Promo Video
CJP: “Do you have any advice for any new up and coming artists that plan to seriously pursue music?”
Jowin: “I’m still learning myself, but from what I’ve learned so far, I can say: Take your time, be honest with yourself, and let go of your pride. Understand that you’ll never know everything and be willing to take time out to learn more and more. The more you learn, the more you’ll perfect your craft, the more you perfect your craft, the more you’ll love what you do, and if you love what you do, the universe will handle the rest.”
CJP: “Alright, now for my last question. For Smash Bros. 4 what third party character to join the roster (in the event that Nintendo decides to do that again)?”
Jowin: “I would say anyone from the Tales series really. I love the Tales series. It’s likely it’ll happen too because Namco is developing Smash this time around and the Tales series only really began getting more popular when Symphonia released for the Gamecube, so there’s a Nintendo connection going on there. If it happens, I predict Lloyd, but my wishful hope is that they get Sophia from Tales of Graces in there. Her fighting style is tight.”
CJP: “Feel free to take give some shout outs or plugs now if you’d like. Haha!”
Jowin: “Much luff to Gerard, Chibu, Lobo, and Kana. Much luff to all the Midnight Kids. Much luff to the team at Vintage Records for assisting in my vision so far. And much luff to all of the supporters, you know who you are. I appreciate everything you guys, feel free to hit me up, even just to chat, I’m not beyond reach!”
I would like to personally thank Jowin for taking time out of his busy schedule to come out and chat with me. You all can catch Jowin’s wonderful music on his Soundcloud page. Also, don’t forget to follow the Weekend Cartunes crew on their Youtube channel. Much luff to Jowin for composing music for the Otaku/Gamer/Artist/Cosplayers/Cinematographers out there.