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New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Hip Hop Rock


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"Johnny Voltik Interview with"

OCTOBER 9, 2009

“Whats up! Its your girl, Raven THE BLAZIN Eurasian, representin’ and The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and Brooklyn Bodega Radio. I’m here with JOHNNY VOLTIK! You like how I yelled that out? I gotta yell it out because it sounds kinda like a superhero name. It does. We were just talkin’ about it. Right? Like you got like, cuffs and stuff. So tell me ‘bout your stuff. Tell me where you got your name and what you’re trying to do in the music industry. Why are you coming out as an artist? What is going on? Whats the deal?”

A blank expression takes hold of Johnny Vo’s face whenever he finds himself posturing for the press. Partly incredulous. Always contemplative. To the uninitiated, if only for the briefest of moments, possible frustration. On this night, however -- standing backstage in Littlefield’s (more-like-blueish) Green Room -- one specific expression subjugates the rest: fatigue.

Bold jail-striped black and white hoodie zipped to his chest. Hood pulled over a black skully hiding his drenched in sweat Huey Freeman-style “nappy afro.” Eyes low, focusing on the question. Seventy-three minutes following another high voltage performance, and Johnny Voltik can barely stand.

Its rare to see him this way. Relentless energy is a necessity for any artist attempting to successfully navigate through The Underground, and Johnny Vo packs it like ConEd. You see it when you see him running down Flatbush Ave leaving his day job (New York Sports Club), heading to his night job (the studio). You see it when you see him hand peddling a backpack loaded with fliers -- building new relationship after new relationship -- promoting his next live show. You most definitely see it when he’s on stage, the place where he’s always already home. So to see him spent to this degree, after this show, you know nothing was left on the table. There were no leftovers in Littlefield on this night. No room for desert.

AUGUST 24, 2009

A “do it yourself” mentality has taken hold of today’s generation. Labels started in dorm rooms. Classics crafted on laptops. At Home Emcees and PC Producers clicking while they work, honing the sound in tomorrow’s headphones, making magic out of minimal.

JHU Productions is located in the basement of a single family home off Brooklyn’s Kings Highway. Its a working class neighborhood. Fruit stands and bodegas and other family owned businesses line the main avenue. Second generation Americans migrate to Manhattan daily, a product possible only by the determination of the first. The Melting Pot personified.

Finally nearing the completion of his first full length LP, The Red Album, Johnny Vo is expectedly upbeat. Considering he’s spent the past year and change shaping and layering its sound, sharpening its potency with an absolute emphasis on the album’s overall feel -- now that the finish line is finally visible, he has reason to be excited.

Leaning forward on one of the two matching beige couches facing the production equipment and obligatory forty-something-inch flat screen TV equipped with XBox 360 and digital cable. Talking with his hands. Kool-Aid smiling. Animated, eager to preview his labor. Taking a cue from Voltik, J Hu swivels around in his producer chair to play lead single “Switch Lanes” -- a raucous, trunk thumping cypher cut featuring frequent collaborators Trife Reality and DJ Enki -- exclaiming “‘that shit’s retardo!”

“Remember that Masta Ace era when heads were just making beats for cars? Like “I got the woofers in my jeep” type shit? Remember when heads had battles? Who had the illest system? Thats what this is reminiscent of. Thats what the idea is.”

Voltik creates and engineers all aspects of his music, tinkering with the snares and strings and bass drums and acoustics until it all blends perfectly, conveying that exact emotion he wants the listener to experience. Thats what matters most to Johnny Vo. The Feel. He’ll quickly extend a hook, or croon a verse, or stretch out a track -- playing the beat backwards if need be -- just to include a trippy, chest rattling attack to the senses like the one heard on the psychadelic “Higher.”

“It became one of those things where less is more. I really try to let the music speak for a lot of things, you know what I mean? Which I think is important and a lot of artists don’t do so much. You get Emcees who come spazzing the fuck out on a song. But its about wielding it, you know? Busta Rhymes is a great example. When he first came out with [The Coming], the energy level on every song was like [off the charts]. Shit was dope as hell. But when you hear his second album, he’s like wielding his style now. So when you hear “Hand Where My Eyes Can See”, he’s like working the beat. Rather than just coming and spazzing the fuck out.”

“Some mutherfuckers don’t use the beat, they just want to shine as much as a rapper can. But your music takes on a life of its own when you’re in it.”

OCTOBER 9, 2009

“I got Post-Traumatic Syndrome, from Babylon shit pumping in my earphones. / But I love it. I be shaking when I spit poems. / Like a fiend trapped in a Her-ron (Heroine) dream.” -- “Turn Around”; The Red Album (continue after jump) - Justin Hunte. DX Magazine, Brooklyn Bodega, The Quotable


Jim Caruso's Cast Party presented SOUL DEEP: AN ANTHOLOGY OF BLACK MUSIC, a Broadway Inspirational Voices benefit concert aiding in the preservation of African American music on Monday August, 18 2008 at 7:00 p.m., as part of the long-running, Nightlife Award-winning concert series Broadway at Birdland.

SOUL DEEP: AN ANTHOLOGY OF BLACK MUSIC was a benefit concert aiding in the preservation of African American music. Top Broadway talent payed homage to the likes of Bo Diddley, Sarah Vaughn, Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, Public Enemy and many others. The concert also honored the incredible Phylicia Rashad and raised money for Broadway Inspirational Voices, a gospel ensemble comprised of actors performing on and off Broadway, whose mission is to bring people of all races and religious backgrounds together.

SOUL DEEP is produced by Amy Birnbaum and DOMINIQUE SHARPTON. Starring LALA BROOKS (The Crystals), Chuck Cooper (The Life, Tony Award- Chicago), LILI COOPER (Spring Awakening), Asmeret Ghebremichael (Legally Blond, Wicked), Chad Goodridge (Passing Strange), Rebecca Naomi Jones (Passing Strange), Justin Keyes (The Apple Tree, High School Musical Tour), Adriane Lenox (Tony Award- Doubt, Caroline or Change), rapper JOSHUA MELVIN (JOHNNY VOLTIK), ALAX COOPER, Maurice Murphy (Spelling Bee), Harry Thompson, Destan Owens (RENT, Chicago) and Sophia Stephens (The Lion King).The evening also featured a 9 piece band and members from Turntables on the Hudson.

- Genevieve Rafter Keddy

"Song 'Exhibit V' Review by I are Conscious"

I was so ready to write a rant, an open letter even, to all emcees responding addressing their terrible attempts to rock over Jay Electronic’s Exhibit C aka ”The Song That Single Handedly Saved Hiphop’! (as if Hiphop actually need saving) then I click on this link that leads me to the Bandcamp page of Johnny Voltik, an artist in my opinion who is one of the best in NYC...

Johnny Voltik creates Exhibit V (ode to electronica). Instead of writing a self absorbed verse and rhyming for the sheer sake of riddling he actually produces his take on Jay Electronica’s masterpiece Exhibit A. He writes an interesting song. This is what epitomizes what a good cover variation you’d find in other genres, but wouldn’t expect in Hiphop could be. When you do one you’ve gotta do it perfectly, resulting in a piece the original artist can not help but respect. I don’t know if Jay Electronica has heard this but he needs to. I’m sure he will appreciate this tremendously.

I try to be open minded and I understand that kats get open and everyone wants to get on that beat. But sometimes you need to just let it be. Create your own song that can move people like Exhibit C does. Seriously. At least if you’re going to make that attempt, go all the way in like Johhny Voltik did. Really make it yours. Make it something that will move the dude in that first place that moved you to make an attempt. - Conscious Walker


Johnny Voltik's projects:


- III KINGS 'Salvation' LP 2004

- HOOPLA 'Natural' single 2006

- Johnny Voltik presents 'Mi$$ile Factory, Vol. 2' 2008 mixtape.

- Cannibal Ox, Super Chron, Pastense, Voltik 'My Cypher' 2009

- Voltik presents 'Return to Planet Rock' instrumental album 2009

- Johnny Voltik 'V' single 2010

- Johnny Voltik 'Open' feat. Richie Kimble single 2010

- Johnny Voltik 'Do You' 2010



JOHNNY VOLTIK, aka THE ALPHA LOVE enters the New York metropolis to emerge as one of the most innovative Hip Hop/Indie Rock artist of our time. While previewing tracks from his first solo installment "The Red Album", which is set to release in 2011, he describes his sound as "rising out of the ashes of popular and under ground music.” It is a blend of hip-hop, dynamic indie rock and psychedelic R&B.

As an emcee his style of rhyming can best be described as a hybrid of graffiti and calligraphy. His sound is eclectic mix of Andre 300/Busta Rhymes/ Gnarl Barkley/Santigold…on acid. His onstage performance is truly a live spectacle. Accompanied with live musicians Voltik wields energy unmatched by the average headliner. It is an experience that can’t be missed.


After years of anticipation, Johnny Voltik has re-invented himself and is the dawning of a new era in music and life. Breaking barriers and crossing genres, Volitk truly embodies the word ‘change’ that the music world is desperately waiting for.