May 31, 2012 in Features, Interviews by

Interview with Onry Ozzborn and JFK of Grayskul

grayskul
  

Onry

Grayskul has put out two albums on Rhymesayers, and they’re working on a third. Involved in both groups and solo work, they stay busy crafting that prototypical Northwest shit. Heavy on content and full of darkness. I was able to catch up with them separately over email to hear about the new Grayskul project, performing at Paid Dues with Oldominion, and everything else.

You can catch them performing June 9th at the Nectar in Seattle, and Onry Ozzborn tonight at Ted’s in Portland.

WOHM: In case we need to wake the dead or grow the young, who are you?

Onry: My name is Barthalomew Baltasar Bencomo aka Onry Ozzborn of the Grayskul, Dark Time Sunshine, The Gigantics, & the Oldominion posse.
 
WOHM: I’ve seen various internet rumblings about Grayskul’s forthcoming full length Zenith. Can you speak a bit about the record – about where you’re going with it and its progress?

Onry: Zenith is coming along great,  just taking our time with it. The concept of it is not that this will be our peak or pinnacle of what we do but rather it’s kind of how most everyone else has reached theirs, & are not willing to grow & explore other things therefore rehashing the same ideas &such.  

WOHM: Grayskul is a household name, no doubt, but in the last (approx.) 2 years, when I see the names Onry Ozzborn or JFK, they’re associated with your respective solo or group endeavors (namely DTS / Th3rdz). Was this time of musical separation a conscious choice? What’s it been like taking a seeming sabbatical from the Grayskul project? 

Onry: We just had other visions that we wanted to bring to life through solo material (&or) other groups. Grayskul is our outlet for certain types of topics &feels but Oldominion members as a whole have never been 1 trick pony’s. We just do whatever we feel like doing &support each other throughout.

WOHM: Speaking of these projects, you’ve both always had your hands in multiple pots, but can you speak about the Dark Time Sunshine process – how it differs from that of Grayskul, what’s next, and your upcoming tour? 

Onry: For me Dark Time Sunshine is what I’ve always strived for in music. Zavala’s production has been what I’ve heard in my own head since I can remember so when I was introduced to him &what he does it just worked. Everyone that hears our work says you guys have that Gangstarr chemistry, or that old Snoop &Dre, Outkast &Organized Noise, Loretta Lynn &Jack White ha ha, ect.. ect.. Far as tour DTS will be out this summer w/ my cardinal Aesop Rock (July &Aug www.darktimesunshine.com) &we will also be doing a few of our own dates solo accompanied by Crushcon 7 /Fieldwerk Recordings. Also our new album ANX drops July 24th worldwide on Fake Four Inc.

WOHM: Your collective Oldominion rocked Paid Dues this year – how did that come about? Since I’ve been paying attention, Oldominion has seemed to function more as a network of artists and subgroups. Is there anything going on with Oldominion the group, and what was it like to perform together? 

Onry: Paid Dues came about for Oldominion because that’s what we’ve done for 12+ yrs now. The almighty Murs called me up &stated that this years’ Dues was going to involve the best of the best posse wise, &we were asked to participate &so we obliged. We are VERY thankful &appreciative that we were asked to be involved. Far as new OLD music we have a whole new album about 7 or 8 vrs’s away from finished so stay tuned..

WOHM: What’s something that’s been inspiring you as of late? 

Onry: I listen every kind of music so I’m influenced by numerous stuff. Off hand right now I’m slappin new Aesop Rock, Danny Brown, Silversun Pickups, the Knife, Crystal Castles, Santigold, Busdriver, P.O.S., the list goes on.

WOHM: Last words? 

Onry: My last words are just this. Wait until you hear the new intro on Zenith, &who did it..  

JFK

WOHM: In case we need to wake the dead or grow the young, who are you?

JFK: I’ve always went by the name JFK. Also go by Grayskul’s FiddleBackRelcuse, Count Magnus, & Ninjaface.

WOHM: I’ve seen various internet rumblings about Grayskul’s forthcoming full length Zenith. Can you speak a bit about the record – about where you’re going with it and its progress?

JFK: Zenith is Grayskul’s 3RD album to come out of the Rhymesayers label, I look at it as our opus zenith meaning the furthest direction looking straight up. We are in the creative process right now of song conception from production to lyrics. Started on a few songs here and there, looking to buckle down on the record full force after the very close completion of other projects such as DTS & Th3rdz. We should have majority of the record by the end of the year hopefully. And expect to drop this time next year.

WOHM: Grayskul is a household name, no doubt, but in the last (approx.) 2 years, when I see the names Onry Ozzborn or JFK, they’re associated with your respective solo or group endeavors (namely DTS / Th3rdz). Was this time of musical separation a conscious choice? What’s it been like taking a seeming sabbatical from the Grayskul project?

JFK: After our last Rhymesayers’ release we had teamed up Maker from chicago and recorded a record called Graymaker. Shortly after, I focused on my solo record called “building wings on the way down”, which was my first solo effort, unlike Onry who has put out over a couple dozen albums out. Onry is always working on music whether it’s solo, production album, or grayskul. It was definitely a conscious choice, we make music, took a break to focus on other projects and to keep the ball moving, Grayskul is always going to be relevant and I am excited to work on the record.

WOHM: Your collective Oldominion rocked Paid Dues this year – how did that come about? Since I’ve been paying attention, Oldominion has seemed to function more as a network of artists and subgroups. Is there anything going on with Oldominion the group, and what was it like to perform together? 

JFK: Paid Dues this year was a “rap group” theme. Its simple, name a rap group from the northwest that has paid them dues, its oldominion. We were invited to partake in one of the biggest hip hop festivals to go down in the west coast and it was a great honor. It was fun to get on stage with long time friends and rock.

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  • Lana Trendov

    Talented individuals, together they make magic. Grayskul!