BOKU REVOLUTION X
Is a super, funky, highly, skilled, ethnomusicology, rap band…
Fronted by lead vocalist Jo D. Jonz with Mike Tree on drums and Billy White on keyboard. BOKU has performed all over Los Angeles to sold out crowds at the most premier venues in the city, such as House of Blues, El Rey, The Whiskey, The Roxy, Henry Fonda and the Troubadour. They were
considered ahead of their time by legendary reggae group Morgan Heritage and garnered fans such as Grammy award winner Natalie Imbruglia. Their skill set is unmatched along with their innate, seamless, style, in which they morph, different, genres into their own unique sound.
They made the perfect opening act at the summer UCLA concert series, for the Roots. They are
considered the second coming of the Roots, yet more conscious. They have also been compared to the likes of Outcast for Jonz’s lyrical content Mos Def and Big Krit on production by 24Our music
magazine, earlier this year. Their song “Buddha Walk” was chosen as song of the day by Songshooter.com, And As they prepare for the first studio album and tour BOKU could not be any more suited for the current climate of music. They are still in a class of their own and are able to rock any crowd from hardcore Hip-Hop to Punk, Rock & Grudge, which they so famously proved after arriving at a gig in a parking lot of a strip mall to a crowd of teenage punk fans. Surprised but undaunted BOKU took the stage and turned the skeptical crowd into true believers. BOKU members are comprised of hip, futuristic, impresarios that have nothing but love and knowledge of music that will surely delight any listener, from small rooms to concert stadiums.
The new album is of course in their signature BOKU tradition, a hybrid of sounds and tones that have a bit of something for everyone, mixing, traditional hip-hop, trap, trip, soul, funk, rock and EDM.
As BOKU Revolution X prepares for their upcoming, international tour, they have been using New York City as their testing ground… With a new sound and a new audience, BOKU has wowed diverse New York audiences at such venues as SHRINE, THE WELL and SIDEWALK, where one impressed fan said after the show said to JONZ “It’s, your time.”
This band is in fact, what legends are made of and as understood by an unsuspecting, new fan, who
happened to walk in on their performance in Harlem, said. “I was feeling down and I came in and heard you guys and y’all lifted my spirits. Thank you, you guys are so bad m’fo…” And with their forthcoming visual album “FANTASY MANIFESTO”, the world will surely know it and the music scene will be inspired and uplifted by their originality and musical integrity, forever!
How did it all start for you?
Jo D. Jonz: How did what start? Well I can take that quite literally and I believe it started at conception, So I was conceived as a Leo and born from the womb as a Taurean. I was an unexpected pregnancy so I was told my mother made a feeble, homemade abortion attempt so apparently, I was meant to be here just as we all are, we are all one in a million. But if you are referring to my career, it started at age 5. My mother who has since admitted she was not ready for another child but she is sure glad she had me. I must have felt that from birth so naturally I worked harder at living a survivor. I recently told my mom that it recently dawned on me that she was my first audience and fan. So I owe a lot to her for that. I remember I took great pleasure from day one, making her smile. Doing silly stuff. Now as for the start of my career, it began because people would tell my mom when I was still in the stroller that they saw me in something and she would reply he is not in the business so, after years of this, mom gets the clues as she said maybe this is a sign from God and she contacted a friend who was in the business, I think it was really his cats that were in the business, he had trained cats that would do magazine ads and shit so he linked us with a modeling agency Marge Mcdermont. So I actually started out in print and then by junior high, in sixth grade, I was in the choir and we had to perform for the annual show and that’s when it leveled up, I was on stage with friends for school performance and there was a manager in the audience, she was there to see her client perform and after the show, she asked her client to introduce her so should meet me and when we did she said she really enjoyed me in the performance and said, your special, you have something kid, I thanked her and then she asked if I would like to sign with her company. Her name was Shirley Grant, the same manager who discovered the Jonas brothers, Keisha Knight Pullham (Rudy Cosby Show), and countless others. Shirley was the greatest manager I ever had and well connected so we moved on and began doing a whole lot of commercials and television shows, movie appearances, and kids specials. From then on straight into high school. So that’s it all started, I never pursued it but it invited me in from the start and I fell in love with the craft, the art, the process, the gratification in seeing others happy at what I could produce energetically.
I loved your single “BRONX”. What inspired you to write it?
Jo D. Jonz: Hip Hop itself inspired it for me and my love for it and the necessity to getting back to the fun part. I grew up in the Bronx, I remember it being birthed and how it came about and kept
growing. I would hear Kool Herc and all the fathers of the art form, from my fire escape which faced Sedgwick so 1520 Sedgwick ave. Is just below Undercliff, where I lived, I was way too young to be apart but my cousin Tony according to Herc, was his first-round draft pick so I would help him organize records with his boy Yella. Now I did have my only little crew, really It was just me and my boy Ant. With a boombox, cardboard, we went block to block battling anyone in everything though breaking, beatboxing, boogieing, rhyming all that was to save us and primarily the gangs and all of the Bronx from killing each other. Hip hop was made to save us, to create a good time and I think it’s backwards now, to many killings, now there are some current artist out there, that I do like, there is some really creative stuff going on but for me with this song I wanted to just take it back to the basics even for myself and if you listen to the actual complete composition of this Immersive album which is about an hour and half long, it’s a continious story that takes you through all the chambers of hip hop as it has manifested, including trap so at the point in the story the clone which is our symbolic manifestation of what hip hop would look like if she were a person, she is downloading this info to the programmer, (boku) her name is clone 379, she can produce any thing hip hop at a touch of button so in this song sequence she has just booted up after being found in the desert by the man who created her but he can’t remember her in this barren wasteland after the “Apocalypse” destroyed his memory and the world so BRONX is him regurgitating the knowledge, you see she has just shown him the history of hip hop on a flatscreen, plasma, stomach monitor and this is his first impression and song that he freestyles as they continue their journey across the desert, she
continues to guide and teach him.
You have a line that says “It wasn’t about guns, it was about love”. Where do you think Hip-Hop is heading nowadays?
Jo D. Jonz: I hope, I think it is going to have to naturally swing back into something positive again because as I mentioned we have lost too many of our greatest artists and they’re all senseless killings Like Pop Smoke who I thought was super dope and was the next one to hold the torch at the top.. Most of em are playing the role and following through with the story they create so my mission is to be a part of that change, to just spark maybe some other approaches and populate the airwaves with music of a higher consciousness. Because I hate to see the children of this generation have to get darker than suicide rap, traps.
You are a professional, method actor, director, writer, comedian, athlete, and musician. How do you nourish your creative side when you’re not working? And how do you avoid burnout?
Jo D. Jonz: Life informs my creativity, I get it from living a normal life as much as possible. I gathered early on in my career, preservation, pacing, it’s a marathon and to continue to grow and not live a surreal life was important not to blow up and burn out. But I have a long sustainable life and a real-life that way I will always have something to offer myself and other people… I never did any of my work for fame as a matter of fact. I’ve run away from it many times just to prolong the natural human experience which for me is what I am paid to do on screen, so I give you back the real, like a journalist. Without any fake news, I want any and all of my fields of artistry to be authentic to me and come from a real place not to imitate anything out there, to be able to see the world thru a lens that resonates with me and others like me or even inspires others who are not of like minds. So I have never, knock on wood, experienced burnout… I really don’t sleep much, don’t feel I need it. It’s the cousin of death. I nap if I get tired, I am up between 4 and 5 every morning no matter what time I go to bed. That’s something I picked up when I started boxing professionally, now in that training camp toward the end I was physically emotionally drained but I also was not accustomed to this level of training and purpose for something other then what I chose as a life profession which this was loosely connected because I was getting ready for a film so I kind of went into the method and made it all the way to the ring as a fighter, not an actor fighting but a real fighter so everyone believed at least. By the time the bell rang, I knew I was the first and I think the only to do that and commit on that level, beside Mickey Rourke who has a history in boxing, I had none. So anyway after taking that leap of faith I started training MMA fighters so again real-life stuff, that built up my stamina so now I apply that level of commitment to what I love and I never burn out I feed off of it and can’t wait to get back in the ring of creativity on any of the talents and I go for a knockout. I play to win but I never agonize in my defeats, that saves me from burning out. Keep it pushing doing what you love doing… You will never burn out even after the flame and the lights out you will still have burning embers.
What is your favorite role as an actor so far, and why?
Jo D. Jonz: That’s a really good question, a hard one to answer, really. You see, because I love all my creations equally, all of the characters, large or small. I must fall in love with them to play them right. Anything that I have helped create for the stage, screen, or television is like part of me, and I don’t favor any particular part over another. I have a special place for all of me and them. It’s like asking a mother or father which child do you love the most if they are able to answer one or the other, then I would say that is poor parenting so I don’t really have a favorite. But I do like playing characters that are conflicted and are seen a certain way but have some other depth to them, then what is seen or understood, layers.
Do you get creative blocks? If so, what do you do to move past them?
Jo D. Jonz: No, lol, as a matter of fact, I have never experienced a creative block, thank God… I don’t know what that feels like, in fact, I can’t shut my mind off of thinking up other ideas, they just keep coming like a waterfall, free-falling from my subconsciousness into my consciousness and I say yes because I know I won’t be alive long enough to do all of them but I may leave a spark somewhere for someone to find. I personally have settled on a cool dozen that I am focusing on
at the moment. The ones I would like to see with my own eyes, come to fruition. After that, I have way more to unleash and still growing every day. But I would say if you do get into a block you have to do something different in your life to inspire and trigger new thoughts. A mundane pattern can create blocks, keep living, and experiencing new things.
What is the most useless talent you have?
Jo D. Jonz: Funny how the mind works. I first read this as useful but on second sight, I see, it is useless. Ok, let me think… I would say that all my talents are all quite useless. It’s a talent you know like I can juggle but even that to me has a purpose, I would say it is for improving hand-eye
coordination and focus so you find purpose but I am a healer so if any of my talents are not helping heal or even moving with that energy then it renders itself useless. I want them all to teach, touch and inspire myself and other people to a higher frequency or provide an escape as an alternative to pain so I hope they all remain nourishing and give some sort of relief to heal any wounds, not open any up. That would be useless and any and all can fall victim to that. It is what you do with your talent that makes it a gift. No one likes a shitty gift. “ “Oh geez, thx a box of rocks, you shouldn’t have.” Not unless those rocks are precious stones with healing powers I don’t want to give em out if
you get my drift…
What has been the biggest surprise so far in your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Jo D. Jonz: My biggest surprise so far in my career. The way people have responded to the album… So far, it is well received and that is a surprise for me because I was not sure if anyone was gonna catch the vibe because although I could follow the trend and make music that sounds just like
anything out there but that would not really be authentic to me even if I do, what’s hot, I would still flip it my own way. To keep it 1hunnit, this project has been a labor of love. It’s a concept album. I did it for the love of hip hop and the culture. Hip hop gives us so much and everybody likes to take a piece, I felt like I want to continue to give back to this culture because I am hip -hop even though I started out as an actor which is not usually an easy transition but I didn’t look at it that way, I have been doing music just as long and as of lately, this is the time for me to express that so the hardest part was turning people that know you one way and now see you in a whole other light because It took work to learn what it truly is to be a musician you have to live it for real and I did. I never rushed the process and the patience was needed and my engineer DLS was right, it is going to land exactly when it was supposed to land and he was right consciousness is on the rise with the Pandemic, the killings and the riots, like it was prophecy a message from God but it was challenging committing to following through with that vision and trusting someone, anyone would receive it.
What are some newer projects that you are currently working on?
Jo D. Jonz: I am working on a one-man play based on the life and works of James Baldwin.
Another album… I am also producing along with Waah Dean and Paul Eckstein ( Narcos) a Ruff Ryders, television show, biopic, (DMX). And wrote and producing a television pilot for the network, called “Marbles’ ‘ It’s a half-hour dark comedy that takes place in a mental institution. Think Monk meets Dexter but with a lot more color.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
Jo D. Jonz: Musically: Lauren Hill is high on the list. Sixto Rodriguez is one of my favorite songwriters… So it would be dope to travel musically with him or on anything he has done. My inspiration is truly anything I have ever heard but I would say, Bob Marley, Is at the top of my list, his message, his purpose. I saw his last show at the Apollo before he died and that changed my life. Bob Marley showed me the true power of music, it was something about his energy and purpose it was different from your average artist or person you heard on the radio. And as I watched him perform his last show, it was clear he was doing it from his heart, for the people to free them and give them comfort so any Marley son or daughter, it would be my pleasure to create a piece of art to offer the world with any of that bloodline. I like Slum Village, I like Diamond D. De La Soul, KRS, I would like to work with Kendrick, J Cole, Nas, Public Enemy, Erykah, Jill, Jaguar, Tobe Nwigwe, John Myer. U2, ColdPlay, Rage Against the Machine, Gorillaz. Even Childish Gambino and Eminem are pretty creative, I like that about them. Dr Dre. Kanye West would be an interesting collab. Any and all Afro-beat artists, to be truthful, I like so many different artists and sounds including EDM Steve Aoki is dope , Daft Punk, Major Lazer, Sting, Bjork. To be honest I would actually work with anyone that wanted to work with me no matter the genre, including, classical or country. It is music and it is supposed to be shared by all for all.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
Jo D. Jonz: My viewpoint. My love!
To learn more about BOKU REVOLUTION X please check: