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JRTA

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW JRTA WHAT HAPPENED?

Hiya, JRTA thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

You might want me to skip the brew. I can get a little crazy.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Before MTV, which really warped my mind, there was Twisted Sister on the radio. “We’re Not Going To Take It” struck a chord in my childhood brain. I don’t know what it was that I wouldn’t take but man I was not fucking taking it anymore! I was in Tee Ball at the time. 

I think the “it” that I wouldn’t take could be defined as everything I witnessed adults around me doing on a daily basis. Not the weekends mind you. They seemed to have BBQ and beer down to a science. No it was things like realizing my mom typed all day in a boring looking brick building. It didn’t seem like anyone else was having much fun at work either.

There was nothing else I knew of from a young age that sparked my imagination like music. I mean I loved to read but reading wasn’t a job that I knew of. 

No for me it was music. I veered into visual art for a while but ultimately steered back to music.

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

I used to watch MTV at a baby sitters house when I was somewhere between 5 and 8. That really set the course for most of my life. 

One evening, past my bedtime, I was sitting on my knees, I could feel the new carpet through the holes in the knees of my jeans. My eyes were glued to the screen as Stephen Tyler of Aerosmith grabbed ahold of his junk and sang some crazy notes. I thought, “I can do that”. I can’t but in that moment my course was set. 

I started playing guitar in 6th grade. I played in a garage band with my best friends and by the time we were serious I had switched to the bass guitar. I love the bass. Love it. I played bass and sang in roughly that same band in Kansas City when we were in our 20’s. Unfortunately, after over a decade of work everyone else “grew up” and moved on. I was like, “WTF dudes!” It really crashed my life when that ended but within a year I had moved to Columbia and started making music with machines. 

What’s the live music scene like in Columbia right now? Anyone we should be looking out for (Bar you of course)

Columbia has always had a pretty amazing scene though I’m not shouting anyone out at the moment.

I’ve seen a lot of people struggling for support recently online. What’s your view on the industry?

It’s new. Everything has changed. It is actually far more accessible to independent artists than it was 10 or 20 years ago. There are some things that might be backwards but I’m not ready to say what. 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

I’m relearning something I once set out to master.  “One More Toke” addresses this when I sing, “no ambition just this cash”. When I wrote the lyrics, I was really struggling to find the motivation to dig into the work of promoting my music. At the time it was easier to write another song than it was to deal with all the unknowns of trying to release and promote my music. All I was doing at the time was making new songs and day trading in the stock market. 

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

In my early 30’s I did DMT daily for at least a year. Like I would wake and bake that shit. 

I don’t like peanut butter with chocolate. 

I’m bipolar

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Oh. My. God. It’s terrifying. I have a song right now that I’m debating over lyrics on. They should be fine but I can see it going south.  Like I have to choose between the words “I will” or “let me” with let me being the safer option but also requires me to rerecord quite a bit. 

Deep breath. Sigh~ internetting is exhausting. 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

Not exactly but some of that Nephilim shit may be true. I’m more into ancient spiritual and religious texts like The Book Of Enoch, and The Nag Hammadi Scriptures. Like the pre-biblical shit. Honestly though ignorance is super annoying I can’t handle someone going on and on about some BS. It doesn’t end well.

What was your worst experience on stage?

I was opening for Gooding and we were an odd paring to say the least. I actually got kicked off stage because I was freaking people out. They were nice about it but dam Wichita! Really?

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

I’m short at 5’2” tall.

What are the next steps you plan to take as an artist to reach the next level?

Like today I’m working on organizing 21 songs into 2 albums and trying to pick out all the singles.  I will be releasing a new single every 4-5 weeks indefinitely and 2 albums within a little over a year.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

Ha. I have new music. I have old music. It’s all new to you. 

The new stuff is either skirting the Edges of Electro Pop, maybe flirting with Rock, or it’s Trap beats with Electronic Pop, Hip Hop and R&B elements. I do have one song though that I really like and it is just kick, snare, and high hat with an upright bass and flute. That one is sort of an anomaly though.

What was the recording process like?

I pick a kick drum then the rest of the drum hits. I get my basic drum beat going. Then I make a basic bass line but just the rhythm on the bass note of the scale. Then I add my chords and synth. Then I go back and finish adding notation to the bass line. 

From there the process gets all fucked up by limited processing power. Professional music production computers can run upwards of 20k. At 3k my computer struggles. So, anyway, I produce the individual tracks using things like compression, saturation, eq, and effects. Then this is where things get crunchy. I have to export the beat so that all that processing gets baked in. Then open a new file drag in the beat and record vocals. 

On larger projects I have to do something similar with the beat a few times. 

This is a common procedure but ideally you want your vocal track in the same session as all your instruments. Often when working on the vocals I notice something I want to change in the beat and end up repeating the export process several times which is time consuming. 

I record vocals in my bathroom/closet which works really well. Though there are a few… let’s call them easter eggs, on some tracks. 

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

Nothing really but I am always working on my voice. Some songs are really easy to sing and others are pretty difficult. “One More Toke” is somewhere in the middle.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

Always.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

I start working on music every day at 4:30am. I only work at a job 2 and a half days a week so on days I work I still put in 5 and a half hours on music before I start work. If I don’t work its music production and rehearsal all day long. 12-hour music days are a regular thing. I feel like it sounds cheesy to say but music really does give my life a purpose and meaning without which there would be no reason to get out of bed. Life can get crazy around me but as long as I have my music, I feel grounded. 

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