men in music

What Music Means To Me: Tyson Evans

Credit to the photographer, please contact us

Credit to the photographer, please contact us

Longtime pal & talented musician, Tyson Evans, (you know from Crooked Teeth), took time out of his busy schedule to enlighten us on what music means to him!

We’re super stoked to share Tyson’s thoughts with you, so check out what he had to say down below!

“What does music mean to me? Literally everything. It’s been with me since I was little kid listening to Matchbox 20 and Dixie Chicks driving to school with my mom. It drew me in completely when I saw Green Day’s music video for “American Idiot” at 13. I knew at that point I had to do whatever it took to get my hands on a guitar and write songs of my own.

I started my first band at 15 with some friends from my hometown. That band took me across the country countless times, was the vehicle that led me to new friendships near and far and ultimately threw me into a sense of community I never found in church or sports or school. 

Today, at 26, it still holds the same weight. I still get excited when someone introduces me to a new band or artist and I still love getting up on stage whether it’s in front of 5 people or 500. 

Right now, a band from LA that has my attention is Mermaed. The alternative punk band fronted by rightful cool kid, Arielle, is everything I wanted and needed from a band in 2019. They’re bringing the nostalgia of bands I grew up listening to such as Hole and Green Day while offering  up their own massive pop hooks to the mix. I first heard Mermaed on the KROQ Locals Only hour that Crooked Teeth was also featured on. They’ve released two undeniable bangers so far and I am so stoked to see where they grow the band from here!”

We never know what’s next (well, sometimes we do) so stay tuned to find out with us, and thanks for reading!

What Music Means To Me: Jay Sakong

jay.jpg

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: Jashon Bell

59693916_804567923252674_4957522712156176384_n.jpg

Former Hook writer, and current friend, supporter and music maker, Jay Bell is a jack of all trades. Jay decided to sit down with us and take some time to think about What Music Means to him, and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you!

Short & sweet, check out what Jay had to say below!

“Music is who I am. 

When I say that, I mean that music so deeply ingrained into who I am as a person that it’s figuratively impossible for me to describe myself to others separately from it. Ever since I first picked up a recorder in elementary school, or picked up the violin at 12, or picked up the guitar at 14, it’s been a driving force in my life.

Everything about it took me over completely. All the sadness, the pain, the loneliness, the happiness, the love; all of things I could express through sound made me feel like my life had become purposeful. Every noise has meaning and intent, and every composition is a piece of another person I can connect to. I could never draw or paint, but I could turn my overflowing emotions into symphony of art that everyone could understand. And as I grew as a musician, I found myself growing as a person. Therefore, if the things I can learn to do musically are infinite, then the ways I can learn and grow are infinite as well.”

Jashon recommends single “Insomnia” by Philadelphia locals, 4vr & SAD Marquise, check it out below!

What Music Means To Me: Jimmy Lo Fi

Photographer: Rachel Malvich

Photographer: Rachel Malvich

Jimmy Wilkens of The Sonder Bombs & Jimmy Lo Fi (as well as countless other music endeavors like Drag Daze & The Scuzzballs) is making his second appearance with The Hook Journal! The first being a gig back in Philadelphia, and now to share his thoughts on what music means to him!

Check it out below!

“It's hard to describe what music means to me because music is so abstract. I can't explain why myself, and thousands of other people, are willing to risk their health & financial livelihood all over 12 notes rearranged in different-yet-sometimes-the-same pattern. But for me, it's the only way I've ever truly been able to express myself. I tried drawing, I tried writing, but none of it stuck the way music did. Music allows me to connect with other people, to learn new perspectives, to discover things I like and don't like about people in a safe, constructive way. It also helps me make friends as an adult. I'm not in college anymore but I'm still in a community where I get to meet new people all of the time and that's pretty cool. Also, it's such a weird feeling listening to a song all the time and then meeting the creators of that song. You feel like you know them, but in reality you don't. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on the circumstance, but it's an amazing feeling when you meet that person and then end up being really good friends.

Music also means I get to help others.

Playing in The Sonder Bombs has been wonderful because the songs we put out have connected with people in ways that words alone may or may not have. Willow & I started this band a little over 3 years ago and it has grown beyond something we ever thought it would, and having people come up to us after shows to tell us how a song of ours has helped them through something, it's incredible. Willow is a superb songwriter and the excitement I feel when she says "I have a new song" cannot be contained because it means I get to find a way to add a piece of myself to it and then ultimately share it with others.

I guess all of this can be summed into on statement: Music means to me that you'll never be alone.

A local artist I've really be into lately is Teamonade. They just dropped an EP, THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING and they have this song "Wreck" that literally wrecks me. The lyric "...so much has changed in the worst way" has me doubled over because it had effectively ripped my guts straight from my body."

You can check out Teamonade down below & stay tuned for more artists as we delve into What Music Means To Me!


What Music Means To Me: Mochi Robinson

image1.jpeg

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: Evan Balikos

Evan has been a good friend of mine since the days of Tumblr (hah). We bonded over our mutual love of music & writing, and have continued to remain friends since! Evan is an avid music listener, blogger, journalist & member of his college radio station! We had to ask him what music meant to him, and in return he gave us a poem interpreting the questions!

Check it out below!

Evan Balikos (Writer/Music Listener):

press play

It’s not magic but it’s cosmic

what can happen when our heads

connect to heads that are empty

pitchers waiting for sugar water

How they plead for meaning

How they fly across 10,000 globes

sharing their secrets lightning up the skies

cracking a ceiling they could never see in silence

And the words that drive those heads

up tall mountains born from fertile soil

are banners that demand to be hung from the sun

These sirens are unique Gods

They squeeze us into boxes or catapult us into bliss

their voices bind our eardrums to their lips

Never would we dare to try and stop them

We allow stringed weapons to rock us into submission

We are happily bending forward to an anthem

Demanding beats and kicks and strums and licks

that throws bodies into bodies and hands into hearts

Stirring the air into a twister of footwork

Creating colored effigies from ponderous banality

melting and buzzing and glowing all the time

They are able to feel and heal us by holding us in song

We bathe in earthquakes and headaches and mistakes of youth

We stand tall as an invulnerable world shakes within us

We spectate a battle of energy with no end in sight

And so it stands and so it remains

pressing play releases the army

pressing pause halts the war

Evan currently recommends Miami, FL locals - Palomino Blond.

What Music Means To Me: Sam Gellerstein

unnamed.jpg

Sam Gellerstein plays trombone, but not just any trombone, the most beautiful trombone playing to hit your ears! Whether it was for Cute Girl From English or Jazz Performance, Gellerstein is a powerhouse in the Philadelphia, PA area if you want impeccable live sounds, and to hang out with a stellar & kind human being! We had to get his take on “What Music Means To Me” because music is such a huge part of Sam’s life, so we did!

Check it out below!

Sam Gellerstein (Musician/Dog Dad):

I think as humans, we are consistently striving, pushing, and struggling for the most we can get with the time we’re given. Now, in no way do I think it’s a bad thing, in fact most beautiful things are created for that specific reason. To create not for fame, or money, but because we the artist, absolutely HAVE to do it. Once we move on past the initial phase of deciding that we want to become artists for a living, we give ourselves some options. We can become jaded, and fall out of love, and forget what we got into this path for, or the path which I have chosen and hope to retain; unabashedly, and unapologetically grateful for what we have.

Music has given me so much more than just a “career”, it has given me a purpose. We are able to communicate love, sorrow, pain, and everything in between, when people can’t think of what to say, or how to say it. Now we are given the daunting, but incredible task of recreating that for someone else. So, I implore to the other young creatives, be grateful, be humble, and never forget why we did this. Reach down before the anxieties, the comparisons, the deadlines, and the bills. We do this, not only because we want to, but honestly we never had another choice.

Please listen to Max Swan's "The Fisherman", while I do play in his band I think this is an album that everyone needs to hear. He has poured his soul into this and I think you will all love it.

What Music Means To Me: Tre Turner

57076954_1947424125363176_6677408920929042432_n.jpg

Vocalist of Spirit Breaker, and generally good person, Tre Turner gave us his take on what music means - not only to him, but to scenes as a whole!

Check out what he had to say below!

Tre Turner (Musician/Vocalist):

“Most of our lives are filled with the strong and constant longing for something more. No matter how much we dive into things that make us happy, most of the time these things end up being conditional, predictable, materialistic,and unfulfilling. At least until one day you stumble upon something that consumes you.

For me, its Progressive Metal. A genre that is so unpredictable, unconditional, and breathtaking. If I could put it into a visual, it's a sky full of overwhelming colors, shape-shifting clouds, a vibrant burning sun with a soothing warmth, and lightly frosted moon with a calming wind in the evening air. For years, I've bared witness to bands expanding on their craft, uniquely redefining their sound and song structure. Periphery, Invent, Animate, and Veil of Maya are all examples of this. The odd time signatures, the complicated guitar-work, the ferocity of the drums, and the soul-infused jazz breaks speak love into this tired body. To me, this genre is love.

Nothing compares, though, to watching someone you know do it in your backyard. Blank Slate: a band paving bright sounds into a gloomy, oversaturated Michigan. What started off as a simple, experimental band has now grown into a storm of color that I've had the pleasure of watching rain over me side stage and intimately from a beautiful home. Something about a Frontwoman gliding her voice in and out of electrifying riffs and drum-work with elegance and charisma. I find myself in awe at the beauty of my local music scene.”

Check out Blank Slate on their Facebook page!