Interview: Everything is Punk for Jonah Roy

LA based singer Jonah Roy

We interviewed St Louis raised, LA-based up-and-comer Jonah Roy! Scrunchie first met Jonah when he opened for Bleach in July of 2021, at Earth Surf Skate Park in St. Louis. He’s come a long way in his career since then. 

Jonah Roy began as a teenager in St. Louis playing shows with his friends. In the span of less than a year, he’s taken the plunge and moved to LA, along with amassing over 70,000 monthly listeners and over 450,000 streams on his single “Fuck That!”. 

In this interview, we discuss his recent single “Shapeshifting”, the streaming success of his track “Fuck That!” and his recent LA show “Everything is Punk”. He also takes us through how moving to LA has carried him further as an artist—as well as having a few drawbacks. We also explore his relationships with other creators like Jackwoods and Paco, as well as how artists like Tyler the Creator have inspired him. 

What’s your go-to gas station order?

Definitely a yerba mate if they got it. If we’re talking like in the morning or afternoon, like if I’m pulling up to the gas station, I’m probably gonna get a yerba mate and a honeybun like 11am, 12pm. But then once, six or seven o’clock comes around, definitely some Sweet Tart Ropes. Blue Gatorade, Chester’s hot fries, and Cool Ranch Doritos. Those are my go tos for sure.

Tell us more about your latest single, “Shapeshifting”, and how it describes where you are with your current artistic direction.

So that was one I’ve had for a minute. I made it with my homie Jackwoods, he produced that one and wrote a lot of it. And he showed me that song. And we went in on it and worked on it. And that one… I feel like it really shows everything that I’ve been trying to do when it comes to my specific sound, I guess. It has elements of dream pop, hella synth-y, hella just floating in a cloud type music. And then it’s got the crazy high energy shit that you could mosh to type instrumentals. I feel like it’s got a good mixture of what I like personally, like really hard, high-energy shit while also having really floaty, kind of like dreamy sections, and everything. But yeah, that one was just honestly, I don’t know if you guys can cuss, but that one was really just like, “Fuck it. Let’s just drop this one.”

It definitely sounds like you consider how it would sound live, but at the same time, how it stands on its own.

100%. I just love shit that I know people will listen to and fuck with, and also will play really well. Like in a live setting. I’ve been playing a ton of live shows lately, in LA and it’s nice with that one. I was promoting on Tik Tok and on Instagram. People were fucking with it. That song gets the most love, every single time after I play it live. They’re like, “Yo, what’s that second song you played?” Or like, “Bro, ‘Shapeshifting’ just goes insane.” A lot of that sort of thing. I’m just really glad that one’s on my discography. And it’s just there forever.

LA based singer Jonah Roy

Your single “Fuck That!” passed 420,000 streams. Did you do anything to celebrate?

No, I’m not stopping there. But I’m very grateful, very happy that my name is getting, shared around within the whole music world. And I’m just really happy that people are actually listening. Like people not from St. Louis. Because before “Fuck That!”, it was really just only people from the St. Louis area that were really hip on what I was doing. But after promoting on Tik Tok, and just promoting the fuck out of that one. It just really paid off. And I’m super happy with where it’s at right now. But I always am pushing myself. So yeah, it’s just a baby step.

Your Spotify bio describes you as “music for everyone.” What does this mean to you?

In my opinion, this is just like my own personal belief, I feel like every single person, not every single person, but like 95% of people…I feel like if you played them my whole discography, they would like at least one song. That’s basically what I meant by that. Like a 60-year-old could listen to “Dreams” with Joanna and be like, “Oh, this is cool.” Like it’s kind of a nice, melodic, guitar, a very classic singer songwriter type song. And then you have songs like “Shapeshifting” or “Fuck that!” that’s some punk rocker would fuck with. Or you got songs like “Good Night” with Rome that’s got this crazy rapper. Shit like that, I feel like I’m trying to expand into a bunch of different niches, not one specific niche.

 I’m probably going to keep it like that for a minute. That’s been my Spotify bio since like 2018. I just haven’t really thought to change it, but I think it’s cool where it’s at.

LA based singer Jonah Roy

Since we last saw you in an abandoned mall/skatepark last year, you’ve made the big move to LA to further pursue your music career. How has this change impacted you?

Dude, being in LA is one of the greatest and worst places to be for an artist. It’s the greatest place in the sense of like, 95% of the people I meet out here are doing something in the creative field. If it’s music, or photography, or videography, or just playing art. They’re drawing, painting, everyone’s doing something. Like making clothes. So, it’s really sick to always be surrounded by like-minded people and people that are on your same wavelength. But also, I feel like the downside to it is that it’s so impossible to stick out here. Because everyone is doing something creative. Everyone’s making music, everyone’s just doing shit. So it’s good in the sense of like, it pushes me to go that extra mile. What I’m doing right now is cool, and people realize that it’s cool, but I’m trying to exceed that, and stand out over the next guy because it’s so hard out here. It’s such a competitive place for what I’m trying to do. But it’s amazing for just like linking up with people and just meeting random people.

Also, dude, I’ll just be walking around. And I just see my biggest influences of all time. Like I was literally at lunch with my girlfriend. We were just in West Hollywood with her parents. And I walked into the fucking restaurant and Tyler the Creator and his girlfriend are just sitting there eating. And Tyler the Creator is my guy. Like that is my biggest influence of all time. Number one, nobody competes with that dude, when it comes to like my inspirations, and just seeing this dude in the flesh. It was like, it was just a random morning. I was grumpy as fuck, no coffee, no food, and I walk into this restaurant, and my biggest influence is just sitting right there. And it was such a surreal moment.

Being in just a normal state of mind. It’s just going to lunch with girlfriend’s parents. And then it’s like, “Okay, yeah, here’s your biggest inspiration sitting right across you.” LA is cool for that sort of shit. But after a while, that sort of shit becomes less and less cool, I guess. Which sucks. But I’m never ungrateful for anything that happens out here. Because it’s I’m so much happier to be out here than in St. Louis, for what I’m trying to do right now.

I knew it would come with its challenges. I knew it wasn’t going to be all sunshine and rainbows, moving to the second biggest city in the US, the entertainment capital of the world. I knew it was going to have its downsides to it. But it’s got it’s got a lot of upsides to it that I feel sometimes overweigh the downsides and just make it more worth it, make me feel okay, like I belong here. That sory of thing.

Despite these life changes, you continue to maintain a close circle of friends/collaborators like jackwoods and Paco. How have they been important in the production of your music?

Dude, they’re just there to listen and make music with me. Love those guys to death. That’s really who I came up with, who I moved down here with, and yeah, we’re always making music. They’re making music on their own. I’m making music on my own. We’re collaborating. We’re collaborating with other people. It’s dope. I feel like this is what we’ve been wanting to do for the past two years. Now we’re finally out here, collaborating with people, making new friends, artists friends. Those are my guys. I’m really glad. Those are the two dudes that I stuck around with and came out to LA to pursue this music shit with, because it’s all support from all ends. Love those guys.

LA based singer Jonah Roy

It’s great that you have an established community when you move to a place like LA, because at least I’ve heard from other people because it’s so big, and some people say it’s clique-y. Depends on who you ask.

Oh, it’s clique-y, they’re very clique-y for sure. It’s cliquey to the point of like, it’s damn near impossible to endeavor yourself in a friend group, unless they see you benefiting them in some way, shape, or form. Which is stupid, but it’s just the hard truth of living out here.

At the end of April, you put on a show called “Everything is Punk”. What does that statement mean to you, what do you think it means to be punk today?

I think punk is like, I don’t think punk means anything, per se. I feel like everything simply just is punk. And, people can take it however they want. It’s kind of like the F word. It’s got no specific meaning. It’s got a bunch of different meanings, but no specific meaning. Everything’s punk. That’s really the only way to describe it. Because it’s not like punk music. I’m telling you a lot of people think like, “Oh, everything is punk rock, like Sex Pistols?” or some shit like that. But it’s like, “Nah, it’s just the motto.”

Like punk is what you make it?

Yeah, everything’s punk. Like, this Celsius I’m sipping on right now. Everything is punk in my opinion. But ya know, the show was a moment for sure. That was one of the greatest nights of my entire life. I can’t even lie. Yeah, the show was fun as fuck. Just a good ass time, a lot of people there. A lot of supporters. Just a lot of just a lot of bods, a lot of energy, a lot of moshing.

What were your biggest takeaways from the LA show? What was the most exciting thing that happened?

I always put on a fire show, because you never know who will be in the crowd. I’m not gonna say his name. But I had someone that I’m a fan of, and I look up to, in the crowd that night. And it was just crazy, performing, and then he came up to me and was like, “Yo, that show was sick.” Followed me on Instagram. That sort of thing is really sick to me. Just giving it your all, we were just like, “Fuck, we can’t hold back. Like, we just gotta go go go, go as insane as possible.” Because it’s you never know what can happen from putting on a fire show. But yeah, that was a moment for sure. A moment in history.

LA based singer Jonah Roy

You talked a little bit about how Tyler the Creator is a huge inspiration for you. But are there any other artists or producers or any other musicians that you really look up to and you take influence from for your music?

Right now, I’d say one of my biggest influences musically and visually is Jean Dawson. If you guys have ever heard of him, he’s just insane at everything. He does music visuals. Musically also, Binki. He’s like this artist from New York. He’s really sick. And then also just a lot of the new wave stuff that happened in the 80s I’ve been kind of influenced by The Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode, like I’ve been making a lot of music like that lately. But uh, yeah, it ranges from all different plays. And it’s like, I’d be getting inspired by PinkPantheress one day, and then I get inspired by The White Stripes the next day, or some shit like that. I got so many influences and inspirations and I try to put them together to make my own shit.

What can we expect from you moving forward, any plans you have your heart set on?

Um, yeah. So moving forward, I would say just more music, of course, probably going to drop it sometime in the fall. More music, just music videos, every song, I want every song that I drop for the next fucking, I don’t even know how many years, to have some sort of visuals behind it. Because I’ve realized how important it is to have really fire visuals along with a song, because just it makes the listener and the fan it makes them feel more close to the artist. And they actually get to see the artists face, and them performing the song. And it’s very important, in my opinion, and also some sort of mini tour. Like, my manager and I have been talking about it, but just doing some sort of six, seven show tour, random cities,  LA, San Diego, St. Louis, New York, just a ton of different cities where we know we can bring a good amount of heads. And yeah, that’s really it. Just more music, more videos, and a tour.

Don’t forget to check out JOnah Roy’s website!

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