DIANE: We talked about this briefly on Tuesday, but can you tell our readers who don't know the story of how far back you and Leon Swanks go?UMI: The good brother Jeanleon and I have been friends since 14. I knew him as the kid who crushed lunchroom rap battles within the first quarter or semester of school (which ever one it is) and then we had Health [class] together and became homies. It was all about clothing and shoes - nothing with music on any frontier. I was the kid with kiccs. He was the kid that spit. Been Jeanleon'in sunk suckas ever since. And dating dudes' daughters.
DIANE: Was there ever a definitive point when you decided that you wanted to create music? Was there a moment specifically you can recount, or have you just always had a fluid relationship listening and growing up with music?UMI: Jeanleon always wrote and performed music. Writing is a process of throwing ideas into the air and seeing what gets stuck in time and the mission in life has always been to make timeless anything - make it my own way. Like most children, music early in the home was a heavy influence. Lots of jazz.
DIANE: I met you back in early 2011 – Crazy how time flies. How do you think your artistry has evolved within the past two, almost three, years ?UMI: You met us the (G)uardians, on the brink of discovery. TDG had tired of the talk and was pushing us into getting things done and implementing all the creative ideas that we had into one pot and growing as artist. Since then things have gotten intense. No longer Señor but always Homme. Jeanleon is a bridge that allowed all the culture of my homeTown that I felt the sound was missing. Plus Jeanleon writes very intricate so it's a challenge everyday. It's like climbing and building your own ladder - at the same time.
DIANE: What track are you most looking forward to performing on Friday ?UMI: Josef Panda is an animal. Haha yup I said it. He is 1/3 of Beats4Clothes - a production group based out of Los Angeles. He brought a folder of heat to the (G)alaxy one night and Jeanleon recorded the "TimeouT". Jeanleon performed it at Delicious Vinyl and it was a fan favorite. So I'm stoked to see how it translates this time.
DIANE: Alright, what's your idea of the most perfect (or as close to it as you can get) day?UMI: Wake up at 10 and feel well rested. Read the (G)ood book. Browse the internet for visual references, write, link with Jeanleon, write, nap, watch movies (no horror, thrillers are good though and everything/anything else), play beats, chase down Spit at some point, chill with Kacey and Z, chase down KT, write and record. Sleep.
DIANE: Favorite film?UMI: The Wood - I can watch it on mute and know all the words.
DIANE: Hi Leon, who is Jeanleon for those who don't know?LEON: Jeanleon is a sound, a feel, and a truth. A man of style and wisdom whom speaks for the people, always.
DIANE: Okay, so "American Melee" is amazing. I let it start my Saturday morning this past weekend and it got me in the right state of mind. How did this track, produced by Alexander Spit, come about?LEON: Thank you, it has been a favorite for some time now. That was quite the day, as it is everytime Jeanleon links with Spit. We must have gone to Spit's studio and as he went through sounds, we caught that one in the mix. It pulled us in and the song almost formed itself immediately. Jeanleon recorded it about 30 minutes later.
DIANE: What is your favorite aspect of performing live versus recording in a studio?LEON: Letting the song come to life among others and catching on the spot response via vibe. The love for performing grows daily and with each show. Recording in the (G)alaxy is always a trip from forming bridges to building verses but the song gets bigger as you perform it - grows. The performance aspect is always on my mind.
DIANE: What track are you most looking forward to performing on Friday?LEON: I have to say I'm always looking forward to that moment when I hear "Pedalin" drop. That song...has grown and when it comes on, the whole room can feel the spirit of Jeanleon. It's undeniable. People bounce. Things break. But "Timeout" is going to be crazy.
DIANE: What's next for Jeanleon?LEON: Every day it's another mission, more bridge to build, more music to make but there are many surprises and things in the works. I'd rather let that light jump out the shadows who knows when. The world is next for Jeanleon; Jeanleon is the world.
DIANE: How does the writing process work with you and Umi in creating new tracks?LEON: We go over the sound and think to self for a moment. Minutes – maybe seconds later – someone has something and immediately after going into it the other jumps in and builds. Jeanleon is one mind so we're always seeing the same picture from different angles. It's a fun process and probably wild to see from the outside looking in.