On The Record: Jon Cozy
BY KALANI WILHELM / Special to the Star-Advertiser
For Jon Sucaldito, limitations are for the ordinary and sleep is for the weak. To the hip-hop artist known as Jon Cozy, rhyming, producing and DJing are one and the same.
“(Music) I like boils down to how it makes me feel,” he said. “Not whether it makes me feel good or bad, just something. There’s music that feels lifeless and disingenuous. I don’t like that.”
In a day and age where success in more than one entertainment medium is celebrated, the Makakilo native excels as a rap artist, DJ and producer. In essence, he could write and perform a song, scratch on the beat and produce the remix. Not all at the same time, of course, but you get the picture.
As one of the founding members of Workhouse, a collective of local MCs and DJs, Sucaldito has helped carve out a lane for like-minded artists to create unfiltered, unapologetic and inhibition-free hip-hop and electronic music.
The self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie is one of a handful of DJs involved in a Facebook contest where the top vote-getter will open up for Kill Paris Saturday at Vice Nightclub.
“Contests like these are stupid popularity contests,” he said. “I’m not popular so I’m probably not going to win, (but) winning would be the s–t because I’d get to DJ and play whatever … I want.”
Adept at holding his own as a hip-hop/EDM DJ and solo MC, Sucaldito’s Workhouse affiliations in the rap realm include The Ill Hill Society and 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Award nominees The Horror Show. He also thrives in the EDM sector as one half of DJ/producer tandem Astronauts By Night and even has a podcast with DJs Tittahbyte and Kowai Kowai called “Green Leaf Check.”
“I’m probably the most annoying one out of the crew because of how much I do,” Sucaldito said. “They bring out the best in me because we are the best. That’s my opinion, and everybody else knows it too, they’re just afraid to admit it.
“I’m inspired by creative people so I like to surround myself with them. I like collaborating with others because I like to see what makes other creative minds tick.”
Associating himself with the right circle of support has played into his growth, he said. But he learned early that valuing other people’s opinions too much can be a detriment as well.
“I still have doubts,” he said. “I’m self-conscious, but I would never go against what I believe in because of overwhelming odds. If you don’t believe in yourself, at least have something to believe in.”
Coming up next is another album from The Horror Show with partner in rhyme Josh “Decibel Grand” Dombrosky. Their new EP, “shorts.,” is scheduled to come out in August and is the follow up to the Hoku-nominated “Viddy The Horror Show.”
“Expect dope raps with dope production by local producers TSRK and Graves,” Sucaldito said. “It’s basically like those short films you get right before you watch a Pixar movie, completely unrelated to the main film, yet still captivating in its own right.”
The Horror Show’s next full-length album, “Snuff Music,” is due out in December.
LOOKING BACK at this year’s Hoku nomination, Sucaldito is torn but appreciative. With two projects ready to be released by year’s end, back-to-back nominations would be nice — but it is certainly not the goal.
“The experience of the ceremony was a highlight for me, but hearing our name amongst the other nominees felt empty to me,” he said. “It felt nothing like working every day on your original album … packing Nextdoor on the night of your album release party and nearly selling every copy of your album that you had printed.
“Being nominated doesn’t even come close to the feeling of being asked by friends, who you’ve known for years, if you can autograph their copy of your album. How do you top that?
“Politics is the usual, skill and originality is an afterthought, and here’s a new one, lack of respect for the art form. There’s no art in lack of respect, lack of self-respect, money motives and chasing fame. I don’t get booked anymore because I told myself I’d stop playing gigs where the promoter wants me to play top 40 bull or gigs where they ‘just need a DJ.’”
Instead of allowing his mind to stew in negativity, securing the future for his Workhouse family comes first and foremost.
“For me and my team, I’ve seen the shift in creating music from being just fun to being mostly work, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “We struggle to create quality and to keep our standards high so that we don’t let down our fans or ourselves.”
Kalani Wilhelm covers nightlife and music for the Pulse. Contact him via email or follow him on Twitter.