We had the good fortune of connecting with Jon Antonio and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jon, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
Now, this is a question I’ve thought about a lot. And although it hasn’t been in the mindset that I want to give up, it’s still a question that lingers on my mind from time to time. Let me explain why. I absolutely love music and feel truly blessed that I’m able to explore this passion of mine; regardless, pursuing a creative craft is, by no means, “easy.” Behind-the-scenes – at least for me – involves a lot of self-doubt, second-guessing, and discouragement when things don’t sound good or I’m struggling to learn a certain aspect of production or DJing. These parts of the process aren’t usually broadcasted, so it’s easy to get bogged down by them mentally and it can sometimes be easy to think, “Should I even be doing this?” or “What’s the point of all this?” At the same time though, the more exciting (and sometimes intimidating) part of this whole process is knowing that the challenge is there and thinking forward to when I achieve that thing I’ve been working towards. That’s how I know to keep going – still having so much more to achieve and when the challenge intimidates but also motivates and excites me. Also, when things do get tough, my mind tends to go to my younger self who’s always wanted to be good at making music as well as all the people in my life who wholeheartedly support me. I’d be doing myself and the friends and family who see that potential in me a disservice if I were to give up now. So, while the creative pursuit can definitely be tough, sticking with it is and always has been my only option.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I grew up on oldies, hip-hop, and R&B – artists like Earth, Wind & Fire and Michael Jackson; A Tribe Called Quest and Common; Usher and Ashanti. And I know they’re pop and not hip-hop nor necessarily R&B, but I can’t leave out my honorary mentions of *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. I was and still am a huge fan of them lol. As I got older, I both discovered and was put onto more artists within those genres but also expanded my musical palette. Through concerts, events, festivals, and SoundCloud, I fell in love with electronic and trap music and more hard-hitting, dancier music in general as well as other genres like future beats and house. Some of my biggest influences during this time include the whole Soulection roster (Joe Kay, Sango, Esta, Sam Gellaitry, etc.) and Soulection itself as a brand, Mr. Carmack, Kaytranada, Zikomo, RL Grime, Flume, Flosstradamus, Snakehips, and Wave Racer (plus a couple more). I think my production and mixes reflect these different genres that compose my musical taste, and I have to credit Mr. Carmack as a huge inspiration actually. Like him, I want to be extremely versatile in what I make: being good at making both super high-energy music as well as very chill, laid back music too.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m usually splitting my time between SF and LA but if they were visiting while I was in town (and COVID wasn’t an issue) AND we had a week, we’d definitely check out some of the well-known tourist spots like Griffith Observatory, Santa Monica Pier/Third Street Promenade, Echo Park, The Broad, and Disneyland/CA Adventure. Without a doubt, we’d also chill at the beach; catch a concert or two at any of the amazing venues down here; hit up parties and bars/lounges like Lock and Key, 143 at Echoplex, and Block Party; and take day trips to Big Bear, Santa Barbara, and San Diego. And I can’t forget about the food. Oh man, we’d hit up so many food places. There’s too many to name, but I’ll name some off the top of my head: Howlin’ Ray’s, EMC Seafood, Daikokuya, Bud Namu (for cheaper KBBQ) or Hae Jang Chon (if we wanted to splurge a little on KBBQ), Backyard Bowls, Grand Central Market, Shabuya, Wanderlust Creamery, Boiling Point (I know this isn’t exclusive to SoCal but I had to include it lol), Blu Jam Cafe, Joy, Sugarfish, Ave 26 Taco Stand. The list goes on! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, I want to give a shout out to my girlfriend Erika – she’s really been the best support system in my life. Honestly, seeing how hard she works in her pharmacy career is so inspiring and motivating for me. Secondly, I want to shout out all the friends and family in my life who believe in me and continuously support me in my creative endeavors. This journey would be much harder if I didn’t have them in my life. Thank you for being in my life and supporting me (you know who you are) – I love you guys!