“Amateur ethnomusicologist” An interview with Onji.

After hearing Onji’s track Uh Oh, I knew I needed to find out more about the guy. So I did some digging, found a contact, and almost immediately dude hit me back. He was candid and honest with his responses and I think that he’s someone who might be around for awhile. You will be hearing from Onji more and more, trust me.

Have you had any other rap names? 

Onji: I’ve had a few names over the years as I have been making a lot of music across different genres. My psych/folk project that I worked on for years is called Sky Lake, and I used the name Ultimate Cozy as my alias when making and djing juke/footwork.

Who are you?

Onji: I am a southern guy who loves nature and creatures more than anything (besides music). I have always had a difficult time choosing between science and music, and it’s been painful for me to leave my dreams of being a naturalist behind as I chose to focus on music.

Where are you from and does that have any influence on your music? 

Onji: I grew up in Florida and then North Carolina. I think growing up in Southwest Florida is a big part of who I am. Living in L.A., I really miss the warm heavy rains and thunderstorms of Florida, along with the lush ecosystem. I think my tropical roots influenced my music in an indirect way.

Are you involved in your local music scene or no?

Onji: I am heavily involved in the L.A. music scene, especially the underground hip hop and “beats” scene. I’ve been going to Low End Theory, Ham on Everything, and countless underground parties for years now. I’m just now starting to debut my new music here however, so a lot of people that have seen me around are going to start seeing me on stage with a different sound.

What’s the dopest thing to happen to you since you started making music and releasing product?

Onji: Since I’ve only just started as Onji and have only put out two songs, the dopest thing to happen so far is to have blogs, producers, and rappers look me up and start sending me cool shit to collaborate on together. It’s great to see that people love what I’m putting out.

What did you do today?

Onji: Today I’ve only just woken up so I’ll tell you what I did yesterday. In the morning I recorded a new song I’m making with an artist named Brick Grillinz that I’m stoked on. Then I went and met with a friend in the music industry who is giving me some serious help with the business side of things, which I’m also stoked on. Then I went to DTLA to my mixing engineers studio to finish mixing my next single “Friends” ft. Quice LNDN, which I’m so stoked on. So I had my ideal day, full of music and productivity. I want all my days to be like that!

Who are your biggest influences?

Onji: I have so very many influences. I’m an obsessive music explorer, an amatuer ethnomusicologist even. I can hear some shit and say…that sounds like some Philipino funk circa 1974. That being said, I think two influences that are revealing would be Sigur Ros, possibly my favorite band ever, and Frank Ocean, one of my favorite current artists.

What are your goals? 

Onji: My goals are to keep creating better and better songs that are hypnotic, dreamy, meaningful, and lit. I want to get to where I quit my day job, start touring, and hopefully get my tunes heard on a major level. Also, I’d love to tell my Mom to quit her job and that I can take care of her.

What advice would you give other rappers?

Onji: As for advice to other artists, I’d say you have to put in the time using your voice and finding your style…thousands of hours.

What do you want the world to know about you?

Onji: I want the world to know that I’ve been growing my music a long time. I’ve stayed hidden for so long as I meander around learning different sounds. The things I do now are a product of years of pushing myself.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Onji: In five years I see myself collaborating with some of my favorite artists, touring, and making music even more powerful and surprising than I am now.

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