What Music Means To Me: Jay Sakong


Composer, singer & core member of up & coming band, OWEL, Jay Sakong took some time recently to sit down with us at The Hook Journal & let us in to what music means to him!

We’ve got it all down below, so take a moment and enlighten yourself!

“For me music is the thing that can make mundane moments feel cinematic. A random smile from a stranger on a subway ride, perfectly timed with a song playing in your ear buds will make you remember why you're alive. And why it's good to be alive.

Music is a time machine that can teleport you back to moments that you may not have realized were so special while you were living it the first time. But there you are, able to relive it again and again like some kind of life hack/cheat code.

Music is a drug I use to give me my second wind while exercising, when I'm too out of breathe to even hum the melody I'm hearing.

It's a warm blanket for the days that you're down and a cool breeze for the days that you're up.

And all of that is just in regards to consuming it. Making it brings me a whole other layer of joy and purpose.

When it comes to creating, music is the children I may never have. So that if I end up an old man without ever having had a family, I can rest easier knowing that at least I put some part of myself into this world.

Really, music is just the primary avenue I take to create art. So maybe it's not just music that I'm specifically obsessed with, but more so just the act of creating. If my worst fear ever came true and I lost my hearing, perhaps I would pursue filmmaking or painting or the culinary arts. Whatever it is, I do believe that creating is just as vital to a human being as consuming. We must consume in order to nourish our bodies, but the act of creating will often nourish everything else.”

We’ve got lots more exciting content coming up, so stay tuned for more of What Music Means To Me, and music and life, generally!

What Music Means To Me: Mochi Robinson


One of The Hook’s most favorite music makers, Mochi Robinson, delighted us when he agreed to participate in our What Music Means To Me Series. The experimental artist has been one of our favorite to review, to talk about, and for almost four months stayed as our featured album!

Here’s what Mochi had to say about music’s impact on himself & growing up!

Mochi Robinson (Artist/Musician):

”Music wasn’t something I always had, it was something I had to find. But, once it gripped its teeth into me, I haven’t been able to look the other way.

Music has been a source of identity for me since middle school. As an interracial kid, growing up in a predominantly white area, I was able to shed the burden of trying to identify myself through race from music. It gave me an identity as an artist, and as a creative, which has been empowering ever since. Painting landscapes with sound, and being able to connect to so many people globally through one common denominator have been the most powerful tools given to me.

On the other hand, listening to music has become a tool to either narrate my own adventure, or to help sort through thoughts, always cathartic along the way. When the wintertime blues hit, Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago will always make its way to the top for a melancholic morning. Or if I need summertime energy, Kendrick Lamar’s to pimp a butterfly has the hits that slap and bring energy to the forefront. There seem to be songs and albums that surpass being songs, and remain in your life forever and never being obsolete however many times you listen, usually always because of its nostalgic connection. I.e songs your parents played growing up, first car mixed CD, Etc.

Recently, I’ve been able to add a good friend, Sam Bekt, to that list of songs. In his new record Selfie, the second song, “Switzerland,” is an absolute bop that brings a sense familiarity for me. Would absolutely recommend listening to the whole record, each track feels like its own character.”

What Music Means To Me: Eoin Murphy

Photographer: Aaron Jenkins

Photographer: Aaron Jenkins

Eoin Murphy has been a collaborator, peer, and heavyweight supporter in the experimental, jazzed up, indie scene here in Philadelphia. An audio engineer, instrumentalist, and lead in his own project, Brushstroke, Eoin is a come one, come all type of guy - and that’s just some of the stuff we love about him!

Check out his thoughts below on what music means to him!

Eoin Murphy (Audio Engineer/Instrumentalist/Singer):

Music to me has always been a form of communication, it allows me to say anything and feel anything in ways I could never put into words, it also allows me to truly meditate on my life and recenter my focus!

Currently, Eoin is bumping along to “Crispus Attacks” by Killiam Shakespeare, check it out below!

Artist Interview - One Gone Thus


Recently, The Hook had the opportunity to talk with One Gone Thus - especially after the recent release of their EP, Impermanence! Check out their answers below on how they got started, where they're going, and what's happening!

1. From the get-go, how did you two meet in the first place?

Greg: Prior to starting One Gone Thus, we were both part of another project. Ryan had worked with one of the other members in the band for a few years before we all came together. I became part of the project after replying to an ad on Craigslist about a group looking for new members. After an audition it felt like our styles complimented each other and we haven’t stopped writing since.

2. What made you decide you wanted to work together?

It actually happened really organically. After the dissolution of our previous project we spent the next few months working on ideas for songs independently and at first that’s all they really were; just ideas. We would send one another everything; chordal progressions, lead lines, digital arrangements, and all sorts of pieces to skeleton-songs. These would help to lay the foundations for further tracks. We would then let the other add their own ideas into or on top of those rough tracks. We finally came to a point where we had amassed enough new material and had become evermore invested in the idea of pursuing something new. Collectively, we felt that these songs were a fully realized vision of what we had been working on the years prior.

3. What music sensibilities does either member bring to the table?

Ryan: I have always envied Greg’s approach to songwriting and composition! He is without a doubt one of the most emotive musicians I’ve ever played with. He is the euphoric element to everything we write. He’s like an alchemist who turns lead into gold. Aside from his nascent abilities as a musician and his technical proficiency as a guitarist, he always manages to add a unqualified sentimentalism to our music and it’s something that I could never do alone.

Greg: Ryan has a writing style unlike anyone that I have ever worked with. The amount of not just technical skill but worldly knowledge that he incorporates into the music has always inspired me. You can hear within the lyrical message of the songs just how deep and emotional of a mind he has. The imagery that he can create personally takes me into the story of each song. Musically he always finds a way to take what you would expect out of a song and make it something completely unique. Whether it is a chord that you wouldn’t expect that changes the tone of a song, or the lyrics that will paint a picture with incredible depth, Ryan always finds a way to have me in awe with what he does next. I can honestly say that I would not be the musician I am today if I had not started working with Ryan.

4. The message of One Gone Thus is that “All things are impermanent and subject to change.” What makes you want to share this message?

Most of what we write is often cryptic, this message however is explicit by design. There is no subtlety, no allusion, and nothing subliminal. It’s meant to encapsulate all that we are as artists. What we wish to share is only what we observe. It seems as though all the world is burning and that people would rather go about their lives in quiet, naive acceptance of the flames. We look outside of ourselves in the hope that we might find something or someone that will make us “complete” and as such our self-worth is determined by external conditions, WHICH ARE ALWAYS CHANGING. We want to confront, investigate, and illuminate the cause of suffering in the only way we know how; through music. However, what we assuredly do not want is for people to mistake our message for any absolute truth. Our music is like a finger pointing to the moon; so often people become fixated solely upon the finger, all the while ignoring the moon itself.

5. How is this message special/personal to you?

Ryan: I love my mother more than anything else in this world but she is sick and getting sicker, because she is old and growing older, and she is dying and will one day die. This fact, this natural order, is a purely objective reality. It’s neither right or wrong nor good or bad but I have suffered immensely because of it. It’s a reality that we all share and that we will all one day face. However, I intimately grasp this truth and I wholly EMBRACE all of life's transience “...and that has made all the difference”.

Greg: To me it’s a way of life and understanding which you have to be conscious of at all times. It can seem like a very distanced notion but has been a driving force behind a mindset of “one way or another” that has fueled a passion of pursuing what I love.

6. So One Gone Thus is a self-labeled “experimental studio project." Does this denote your seriousness about future work on the project at all?

There is a sub-textual message to all of this. In fact, running beneath all that we do, both musically and lyrically, there is an undercurrent of often allusive meaning. In regards to the “experimental” nature of what we are currently doing, it is NOT meant to imply any insincerity. We love what we do, we love what we’ve made, and we hope to have the opportunity to pursue our passion for as long as conditions are sufficient to do so. The fact is, we already have our sights set beyond “Impermanence”. Conceptually, there is a myriad of avenues we’d love to explore and there is no doubt in our minds that these will manifest themselves sometime in the near future. Having said that, we feel the name of the EP puts it rather concisely; this is all impermanent.

7. What are your immediate plans for the group?

With the release of our debut EP only a few short weeks away, our focus has been primarily centered around promotion in every conceivable way. However, we’re going about things in a rather unorthodox manner. The industry and the scene exist in a vacuum and function in very paradigmatic fashion. We are looking to stand apart from that status-quo and our goal is relatively singular; all we want is for people to hear what we’ve made.

8. Do you have any long-term goals for the project?

To be perfectly honest, our goal is to stay focused on the present, as there is nothing that truly exists beyond it.

9. You released your first single, “Porcelain," back in February. What kind of reception was that met with?

It was and has been overwhelmingly positive! Months before the release, we had been building our network, establishing new connections, and more generally just expanding our brand. We set out to grow an online presence in the hopes that when it came time we wouldn’t just be throwing stones into the abyss. Porcelain was made as a free download and when the numbers started coming in, when people began streaming and downloading and even purchasing the track we were a little taken aback. The comments, the shares, the likes, and all the rest, had us both genuinely surprised because we had started with nothing. We had no name recognition, no (up to that point) finalized mixes, no shows, no tours, no press coverage, no merch, and no marketing other than our burgeoning social media feeds. Success is subjective though, but for what it’s worth we are both very content with the reception.

Thanks so much to One Gone Thus for this really rad interview! Check out the band’s FacebookTwitter, and Instagram to keep up with the latest One Gone Thus news and follow them on Soundcloud to hear more of their music as it comes out.

Stay tuned!