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ARTS & CULTURE: The Heavy Hitters

Jon.solo – Jonathan Young; Fo’Bills – Alex young; Figg – Michael Figueroa; GT- George Saunders; Pharaokeys – Jarren Jackson

Genre Style: Funk Fusion. “We gonna give you a bit of everything.” — Pharaokeys AKA Jarren Jackson

Location: Huntington, West Virginia

How did the project start?
Started as a band for a fundraiser called Black Koffee at Marshall University. Figg joined us later while we were playing an event on campus. The line up has varied and rotated some over the years but this is the best version of us.
What are three adjectives to describe your style?
Funky, groovy, heavy.
Walk us through your creative process. Does it vary, if so, how?
So our creative process varies depending on who comes up with the idea.
It might be an instrumental that we came up with at a show. It might be a bass line which has endless possibilities.
Jon. Solo might have an idea and just need chords in a certain key.
All in all, we all contribute to the writing process which makes our sound unique.
How has your art evolved since you started?
It has evolved drastically. Jon.solo and I used to write all the music, so it had a certain style. But everyone in the group has a different influence, so that has made us adapt and evolve.
What is your favorite creative tool, and why?
For us as a group it has to be each other; we can bounce ideas off each other all day just talking, or with our instruments.
For me personally it’s the piano; it’s my weapon of choice. A piano can be multiple voices and I can lay down any idea.
What about being an artist fills your cup? Why should others take interest in the arts?
That’s a deep question. Performing my art is a release and escape from the everyday. Seeing the reaction of people is also a big plus. Knowing something I’ve done makes that person feel better is a big pay off.
People should take interest in art of any kind because it can fill your soul. From drawing to playing music it can relieve stress, spark a movement, or change the world and right now we need more of that.
Any advice for new or struggling artists?
Keep going. You may be struggling now but there’s someone who needs to hear or see what you got to say and all it takes is one moment for that struggle to be over.
What upcoming project should we look for, and where can we look for it?
We just recently dropped a single called Black Rose and we have our album coming out very soon. We’ve also built this network of new artists that will be releasing projects, and a mixtape featuring artists from West Virginia. You can find them all on Spotify and Apple Music by searching for our band.
What question do you never get asked that you would like to be asked?  How would you answer?
I would like to be asked what it takes to keep your band together. And my answer would be three things:
Honesty: If you’re honest and transparent about everything that goes on, your members will trust you.
Trust: You have to trust the people you are mates with. They are here to make good music with you and want the same thing you want.
Fun: You gotta have fun every time like it’s the last time you’re gonna ever play.  Enjoy the whole moment and leave it all on stage!