Hitting play on the Soundcloud link for this rancid guacamole of a heartbreak track, my instant response was, “Aww cool!” With a decent helping of bruised indie pride, bandaged in a lettuce wrap of basic but interesting synthetic keys and informed by the chorizo of modern hip-hop, his latest single “2,392 Miles” is a tasty street taco of a production from 22-year-old LA resident Jheron Staley. “I wrote my first song at 10 years old,” Staley said. “It was about a girl I liked in my 5th grade class.” Well, this one’s about a girl too it seems, and, yeah, it doesn’t go so well for Staley.
Luckily his experience as a Hollywood High Drumline member and making beats in Logic comes in handy to let us in on his pain. This comes in somewhere just under the radar of the vaporwave set, a sort of residual smog from J. Cole, Tyler the Creator and MF Doom. There’s the requisite laissez-faire IDGAF attitude, presented as a stark paradox, given how much it’s clear he does give. It makes me want to learn how to skateboard and get good enough to hit rails all along Echo Park, so I have some way to hurt myself when things go sideways.
Staley kills it on the delivery of the title numbers. You can just vibe with it. There’s even a super crunchy guitar solo that gives up on itself halfway through, before deciding to ramp up again.
The words could be ripped straight out of a spiral notepad, like scribbles you look back on that have a strange beauty to them. This is downtempo emo rap, a slow morphine drip to get you through the hard times. Definitely want to see some more complex lines in the days to come. But for this emotionally destitute effort, it’s kind of nice to fall into those mumble rap tropes. Here it makes sense. Because here it reminds you this is a kid who knew how to get close to someone, even if his heart ultimately caught an edge and got smashed up on the concrete. Bravo Jheron!
Listen to “2,392 Miles” here and get to know Jheron Staley in our interview below!
Do you write all your music yourself, or where do you get your beats from?
I write all of my music! I always try to write everything I make just to avoid copyright claims and such. I also want to challenge myself creatively and musically.
Is there somewhere you like to go to to be most productive musically?
I love to be in my room with the lights off, a lava lamp on, and my beats on a computer playing on repeat. Before doing this, I do everything that I need to do in the house to make sure I have absolutely no distractions.
What are your goals for your music?
My goals are to inspire others, especially the younger generation. Most people would say fame or awards, but I honestly just do it for the art and the love of music. Another goal is to make my music timeless. The Beatles, Queen, 2Pac, NWA have music that are timeless and will resonate forever. I want to replicate that and just create music that anyone can relate to.
Do you write one song at a time, or do you have like, a zillion beats on your computer you're working on?
I have a zillion beats on my computer! I really do. I’m just waiting to find the right muse and lyrics for each of those beats. So yes and no, I have beats ready but I do write one song at a time.
What are some of your favourite spots to be at for inspiration?
I love being in my room with the lights off. It just gives me a vibe that helps me get into my thoughts clearly. The recording studio is always great; that helps me precisely get everything right and perfect. Hiking, road trips, just the outdoors in general help me get a clear mind.
Also, your music has this underlying darkness -- almost a nihilism -- the kind I'll sometimes hear on that LMU station 88.9 FM when I'm stuck in traffic on the Sepulveda Pass. Where does it come from do you think?
I think the darkness of some of my songs are just based on the harsh reality. Personally, I’ve been in a funk in my life and have been through a lot. For me, these songs expresses anger, sadness, bad break-ups, evil people, and many more. Life is beautiful and I love what I do. I’m not a very open person so to me, this is the best to way describe the emotions I’ve felt. I am super nice and humble though, I swear.
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