There are 3 new names in the music industry that you HAVE to get familiar due to their dope talent: Mark, Blest, and Xzavian. Mark, also known virally as @thejunkiemunkie, is a 21-year-old singer slash producer slash DJ slash rapper who just wrapped up his little tour in Jakarta for his newest album, Dedicated, a few months back. Prior to this album, he already released a couple of singles. Throwback to Letter F ‘s special interview with Mark in our studio where he was accompanied by Blest and Xzavian. For the album, they also did a collab with a fellow musician Micah Herring.
Can you tell us about the album?
Junkie Munkie: “Personally, I think the album is a very emotional one because of the personal lyrics. It also took a lot of efforts, lot of long nights from writing and producing. I took almost a year, despite I already worked on the track around 8 months ago. Last December, we recorded one of the songs titled ‘Don’t Say’. Then I finished the rest of it this May. I booked the studio for two weeks, to record and to master the album. I also rap and sing on some of them, in 2 or 3 tracks. And I collaborated with Blest Jones, Xzavian, and Micah Herring – too bad Micah couldn’t be here. And talking about the title song, about the second track of the album, ‘Don’t Say’ is probably the most emotinal song from the album. I started it out with the chord first, then wrote the hook and the lyrics.”
Satisfied with the end result?
Blest Jones: “I got emotionally attached because we rather talked about the simple yet meaningful lyrics in the song. After Mark basically sent me those lyrics to me, I’m trying to relate to the lyrics so our lyrics can mash up together.”
Junkie Munkie: “Yeah, it’s basically from our real life experience, the lyrics. So it’s from the heart.”
Blest Jones: “Yeah to think that every guy had gone through something like that. Girls be like ‘OMG, I love you’ but at the end of the day, they just don’t. That’s how the lyrics of Don’t Say was born.”
Interesting story there, so have you performed it to the public? And how was the response?
“We had a little tour in Jakarta, started at Lucy in the Sky on August 16th, and continued until August 20th. The tour was with the three of them (Blest, Xzavian, and Micah), and my band.”
Now let’s talk about how did you guys meet and get together.
Junkie Munkie: “Honestly? Online (laughs). I think it was 4 years ago, I was DJ-ing with my friend, Ricky. After we released our first track called Collide, I think Blest saw it through Soundcloud or something, this was when I was in Seattle. And Blest hit me up and we made a track. Blest asked for a track out of the situation and we gave him one. And then he settled on the vocals and then we just set up from there.”
Xzavian: “I came a lil bit late though. I just came just like few months ago, very recently. But that’s crazy how I became one of the guests and got featured for his Dedicated album and tour. I know him only for the Dedicated album, and because of the music, we came along together. When we worked on this album, we were like doing music together. It was a great energy. When you listen to the album, it’s a very special album. The chemistry from us four are very transparent. I’m very very happy to be the part of the team.”
So what do you guys want to do next? Beside performing your album?
“For the next few months after my album, I’m probably gonna realease a couple of singles while working on a jazz/hiphop album that I aim for next year.”
You sing, you rap, you produce. Genre wise, are you aiming to be considered into one specific genre or you got something else in your mind?
Junkie Munkie: “Everything honestly. ‘Cause I grew up listening to Linkin Park, Greenday, Fall Out Boy, but I also listened to 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre – yeah, stuff like that. But we have something in common about music, like we can relate to each other.”
Xzavian: “I mean, yeah, music is universal for us. Like, I came with my project, while Mark and Blest have different project too, but we kind of connect in a way. Maybe that’s why what makes our track is kinda cool too, because we are all different solo artist as well and our music kind of complements each other.”
“I have a sound, Mark has it, then Blest and Micah also have their sounds, and when we mash it up together, it’s really really really dope.”
“We are also from a different part of the world – I’m from LA, Blest from Washington DC, while Mark is Indonesian, and Micah from Portland. It just shows us how universal music is.”
And how did you come up with new ideas for your music?
Junkie Munkie: “There is one guy who really inspires me these past few months, a rapper from Canadian, his name is Nab. I think after I listened to his self-titled album, I really know where I wanna go with my music. And he’s inspired me to start rapping for my stuff.”
Let’s have a major music throwback to where you guys first developed a heavy interest to be involved in music.
Junkie Munkie: “Probably like 5 years ago? So I was still in HS and there was a phase when DJ was really big – Dutch DJ like Tiesto. I’m only 21 by the way, and Blest is also 21. So I was like starting to DJ-ing first, but I still sucked as a DJ at that time. My friend Ricky was already good at the moment and I called him up and asked him to teach me how to be a DJ. And fast forward, we decided to DJ together and to be a duo. He basically taught me how to do music. I already graduated from High School in Seattle at that time.”
Blest: “Ever since I was young, I always sang in church, like doing solo with the children choir. Then I learned how to sing, and I always asked around from people who really can sing. I guess it was a way to inspire me to take it further and see how far I can get into the industry. And then when in college, I played tennis in my school and I was singing in the shower, and a couple of my team mates heard it and said like ‘Yo, you actually have a pretty dope voice’. And then three years ago, I got this collab song with this big guy right there. And there was a German producing group who hit me up. And it earned like a million views and it was like a jump stone for me in the industry. And now I’m here as a part of the Dedicated album, I’m grateful.”
Xzavian: “I started when one of my friends had a studio equipment in his house. He was like my friend and big brother. And in the 7th grade, I have this project to make a song and music always been an escape for me. I always listened to my favorite rappers song and memorized it well. But I started to get serious in this industry around a year ago. I still need process to reach more.”
“I have a couple of tracks to be released and one of them is called ‘Cold Hearted’, and Mark produced it. I’m really excited for it.”
Writer: Adhinda Latifa
Photographer: Moody Wijaya
MUA: Nadia Renata
Stylist: Hilarius Matthew
Digital Imaging: Rendra Martin