Interview by Maya-Rose Torrão
Holyrain, born Jalon Pero, was raised in Atlanta and has been making music almost his whole life. This talented underground hip-hop artist and music producer was introduced to music around the age of three, when he was taught by his father how to play the drums. As a six-year-old child, he even featured in his dad’s church band on the cowbell.
Since his childhood, Holyrain’s love for music has just grown and grown. This multi-talented artist started experimenting with music production at the age of sixteen and began to realise that he could be making money from his passion and his original music. Using the growing online platforms he had at his disposal, Holyrain was able to share his unique style of chillout beats, clever lyric lines and flawlessly manipulated samples.
Listen to Holyrain’s latest release, an album dropped just last month, titled ‘Dreams Never Die’, below.
We caught up with Jalon, AKA Holyrain, and chatted about creativity, equipment and the importance of doing what you love.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
Music has always been a major part of my life, it’s something that I’ve always done. Ever since I was around 3 years old I was playing the drums and taught myself some guitar and piano so actually making music and getting to where I am now, I believe was just destiny. I remember as a child my dad used to play drums at our church and I would just sit by him playing the cowbell but also watching what he would do and how he’d play. In my music today it not only allows me to really express myself but also let out my creativity.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Both, it depends on how I’m feeling. I could just come up with something random or I could have an idea and just create it.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
No, I do everything from producing to recording and writing aside from people I would like to feature on my songs with me.
What’s on your current playlist?
Currently my playlist consist of music from Travis Scott, Kanye West, A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Yung Gleesh, Young Thug, Future, Coldplay, and Chief Keef.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
I’ve actually never done a concert/show but I would definitely be very interactive with my fans when the opportunity comes. If my music just gets to one person who can relate to what I’m talking about and the feelings in my music then I’ll be happy. I’d just want everyone to be happy, going crazy, having the best time of their life.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I may sample something I’d like to flip or just come up with some chords and build on to it, but drums are the most important thing for me to get my original sound. If the drums aren’t good the track isn’t good.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Well the “recording studio” for me is in my basement. I have a room filled with speakers everywhere, where I just make the beats, write, and make ideas. Then I have another room where I have set up blankets on the walls and a mattress beside a mic for an isolated sound, to record. First I start by making a beat and run ideas through my head. The more ideas I come up with the more the whole song changes because the song never ends up how I planned it to go. Then, after I’ve gotten all my lyrics down and everything, I record to the beat I’ve made. From there I go and make more changes to the song based on new ideas and then I finally mix and master the track.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
Around the end of 8th grade in middle school is when I started developing the idea of “this is what I want to do”. Of course I’ve had other dreams in my life like playing baseball or video effects editing but I felt like at the same time I’d be limiting myself and taking away from living a life I could really be happy with. Because at first I just treated music like another hobby but then I told myself, why not just turn a hobby into a career?
What would you keep close by while you played a set?
I would keep some water to keep my hydrated and my friends to help hype the crowd.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
KREW$, Wiz Kelly, Teddybear, Valee, Ron$oCold, Kasey Keez and Lil Cedo.
What gets your creative juices flowing?
My music is influenced by different people I listen to, scenery, other music I may listen to, people, past events in my life.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
I use Ableton Live 9; I’m in love with it so much, it allows you to do so much and get your creative juices flowing. I also use the Studio Project B1 mic and Scarlett Audio Interface for recording.
Any side projects you’re working on?
I’m working on a couple collaboration EP’s with different artists.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I’ve just always tried to be as creative as I can be, trying to make new stuff everyday. I will try just about anything to see if it works.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
A couple side projects with different artists. This year I want to mainly focus on perfecting my craft so then I can start working on my next album.
Thanks so much to Holyrain for giving us some insight into what goes on behind the beats – we can’t wait to see the new heights that this talented producer will rise to.