So, I recently sat down with music champion, iONik. I wanted to ask him a few questions about his new album, the ‘Slambody EP,’ and, well, it turned into a pretty informative interview. Beyond explaining the album, this EDM heavyweight enlightened me with his views on trap music, his future musical aspirations, and also weighed in on one of his many ongoing music-industry BEEFS with another fellow glitch hop titan…
“So I’m digging your new one, SLAMPBODY EP,” I started, “could you give a little bit of information as far as what you were trying to go for, musically? As far as… what was influencing you at the time you were writing some of these beats and bumps? I notice a lot of funk in this. It still has the glitch hop crunchiness to it, definitely. I also detect a hint of wonky, but I might be reading into that too much. I’m always excited at hints of wonky!”
“Going straight for the throat with this, huh!? I like that.” said iONik…
“I was influenced separately for both of these tracks,” he explained, “and for the song ‘SLAMBODY,’ I was inspired by the bare necessities of groove. Basically, I started with this really complex drum beat with all sorts of whistles, bells, and extraneous stuff. And I said, “fuck that.” So I stripped it down until it was standing buck nekked. Imagine you being that beat, being buck nekked standing out in front of all your neighbors. Don’t you just want to throw on the old knickers and a sweater. Sure you do. But you don’t always have to.”
At this point in the interview, I slowly reached for my jacket, and quietly pulled out a flask.
“You’re having a drink at ten in the morning?” he asked me.
“Well,” I said, taking an exaggerated gulp, “it helps me think.”
iONik eyed me suspiciously, and the interview went back to normal, as he continued explaining the album…
“As for ‘Cornfish,’ my inspiration was sourced by a painting I have in my room,” he said, “I tried to musically describe it. What happened was, basically, this guy that worked in my dad’s office (just a normal dude) painted this painting one day. I think it was his first painting. Turns out, he was incredibly talented, and went on to pursue painting as a living.”
“I tried to describe the cornfish musically. He’s a little demonic looking guy, but at the same time, he’e a piece of corn! So you can’t help but laugh a little! You know, the old classic good/evil, ying/yang, blah/blah special.
In the beginning of the song, you can imagine cornfish swimming around in his corny little world. Dancing around and being a general goofball. Then in an instant, it all just flips around. The teeth start to show, and the hunt is on. It’s a dog eat dog world at times. And everyone’s gotta eat. At the end of the day though, he’s still a cornfish.
I looked at the photo, and indeed, it was impressive. I decided, then, to move the interview towards the direction of discussing his independent distribution of ‘SLAMBODY.’
“So you released this EP independently? I think this one could’ve gone on any number of glitch / edm labels, but perhaps you prefer the indie route? Do you recommend this for new artists who live in the mere SHADOW of your titanic music work?”
iONik responded, “The only reason I released this independently is because I truly wanted to give this music away to people. Sure, they would have pirated it anyhow; but I didn’t want to attach a feeling of guilt to the listeners for listening to music for free with this particular release. I probably got less recognition and publicity for this release, but it was worth it I think. Some people seem to have enjoyed it.”
At this point in the interview, I pulled out a small piece of square, reflective glass from my jacket, and then quietly pulled out a small baggie from my pocket.
“You’re having a bump at ten in the morning?” he asked me.
“Well,” I said, taking an exaggerated snort, “it helps me think.”
iONik looked at me with his trademark ‘suspicious-music-guy’ look, and the interview went back to normal, as I decided to ask iONik about his Bandcamp bio.
“I was impressed by your ‘bio’ on that page.. it reads, ‘iONik is a superstar of the ages. having played gigs with the beatles, the rolling stones, skrillex’s nephew, and young jeezy, his expertise on all things musical is unquestionable. he might even have the best biography to ever grace the internet. donations accepted.’
“Wow. The fucking Beatles! Damn. What was that like?” I asked.
iONik took a deep breath, and said, “Strawberry Fields… Forever…”
Confused, and at this point, inebriated, I moved on to the next question, asking, “What are your plans for your next EP? Or will you be gracing us with a full-length sometime soon?”
“Well,” he said, “I’m shifting my focus to my collaboration project I have with r.e.g. We are called “pairadimez.” It’s the most exciting music music I’ve written by far. It includes aspects from all over the place: electronic, alt-rock, funk, 80’s synthpop, distorted ambient, fiddle-rap, 808 booty grass, etc. Expect that soon…
“As for my solo work,” he continued, “recently, the music I have been writing is so different from my previous music that I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve had a mean fit of writer’s block as a result. I got stuck in this frame of mind that the way I previously wrote music was “the way,” or that it was even relevant at this point in time. Point is: it’s not. Maybe the music will stay with the iONik moniker, maybe not. Who knows. I’m moving more towards writing music that is outside of my comfort zone. It’s the only way writing music stays interesting to me. I simply cannot write the same style of track over and over again. I would bore myself to tears trying to do that.”
At this point in the interview, I discreetly (or perhaps not-so-discreetly) pulled out a ten-gallon jug of milk from behind my chair, glanced over at iONik for just a moment, and proceeded to drink nearly the entire thing as quickly as possible.
“You’re drinking that entire thing of milk? …at ten in the morning?” he asked me.
“Well,” I said, hiccupping, and suddenly finding myself having to come to terms with some pretty extreme nausea, “it helps me think.”
iONik looked as though he might get up and leave, but I slammed down the jug, accidentally splashing some milk on him, and screamed, “I’m gonna’ need you to sit there for a second. I’m definitely NOT done! OK?”
iONik rolled his eyes, and the interview went back to normal.
I then asked him, slurring my words a bit, “Are you content to keep working within the realms of glitch hop or are you gonna hop onto the jukey trap train sometime soon, iONik? The world would love to hear you extended staccato snares and rolls! But perhaps that’s not something you care about at all? Do you have any thoughts on trap at the moment?”
“Haha, I think I sort of answered that question in the previous one. As for trap, being from Atlanta I have been hearing trap for years. The majority of it is nothing new or innovative really. Some of it is certainly entertaining in a pure limbic, mid-brain sense. And some of it truly pushes barriers. I’m sure you can apply the same logic to all genres of music. It’s not the genre itself that defines the music, but how the musician takes you on a ride through his or her experience. How you become entranced by another’s imaginative world. That’s what I’m interested in.”
Clever words, Mr. iONik…
“A lot of melody seems to leak out the corners of the beats on this one. That might be a weird way to describe it, but I guess I’m just saying there are a lot of melodic instrument synthesizer sounds coming out of these tracks from all ends… Do you find it difficult making a track extremely rhythmic AND melodic? Or is that just second nature to you? I ask because I hear a lot of tracks nowadays that are definitely rhythmic but perhaps somewhat lacking in the melody department… (70% of dubstep, as well as a good chunk of glitch hop) Any thoughts on that?”
“I think it’s easy separate the idea of rhythm and melody. It’s easy to compartmentalize both as separate entities, but at the end of the day, it’s the rhythm that drives the melody, all while the melody drives the rhythm. They exist together in the same world. So I guess I don’t really think about them as being disconnected. I just write something. It’s just like solving a puzzle that has existed for centuries, and I am just the lucky one that gets to put the pieces together. Rhythm, melody, texture: all of that seems to come on it’s own when I am in a musical state of mind. After that, it’s hours and hours of ironing out the ideas until they make some sense. I like the fact that you have to jump back and forth between creating, and problem solving. I imagine this is the greatest benefit of being a human being.”
So, there you have it. iONik certainly had a lot to say. But, before I let him go, I decided to get to the drama that all the fans out there having been dying to hear about…
“So,” I began, slowly, “I hear there is a super BEEF going on between you and StrangeFlow as far as comments on Glitch Hop Forum. You’re both top-contenders, you with your 1234 comments, and StrangeFlow with his 1232… It’s getting dicey! Sooner or later, one will inevitably die! Or, perhaps I’m exaggerating? What are your thoughts on this Helen-of-Troy-sized WAR? And when will fans know the beef has ended and that StrangeFlow has won?? Is an iONik vs. StrangeFlow mix in the works? I hear it is!”
“Haha!!! I just want to teleport back to 2018 when Clinton Era Pornography and Fuck Your Limo were dominating the charts! Those were the days, my friend. Those were the days…”
He was referring, of course, to, ‘The Skwunc Years: 2018 – 19’
Alright, well, iONik cleverly avoided my offer of collaboration, but I’ll get him next time! Though, when he brought up skwunc, I simply must agree, those WERE the days… ah, yes. Those were some pretty hatty times…
You can check out a preview track for ‘SLAMBODY,’ and then, one you’ve heard that, you can also rush over to his Bandcamp page and download the whole thing for free! As he said, donations are welcome :)