J-Kwe$t is ecstatic. He and his band just rocked Lollapalooza’s Bud Light stage alongside LA’s CR-V crooner, Cuco, and the Chicago crowd devoured every note. Watching them up close, they’re more of a family than a band. The LA style, the energy on stage, and the musical message reveal a close knit group stepping into the spotlight. Sweating for style in sweltering Chicago, me in a vintage Elvis pullover jersey and Kwest in his green Supreme x Playboy kit *Brit for jersey*, we met backstage to talk synths, style, and the band turning Lolla into L.A.lla. Sitting next to drummer Julian (Liano), the viral-verse-spitting keyboard player is ready roll one up and talk synthesizer sounds. “This the only motherfucker I’ve seen who admires synths. He’s gonna interview me. I’m J-Kwe$t.”
What got you into synths in the first place?
“I started listening to James Pants. He had me like ‘YO this is tight’. Then it was a lot of artists from Stones Throw. They got me into shit like that. I listen to an artist named Retrospect, don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but he’s into that synth shit. And I like incorporating a lot of jazz progressions in my synths. They just sound a lot better in my opinion.”
Synths and the band’s dynamic
“Honestly, I just take what Cuco gives me. A lot of the chords he and I use are similar. I don’t know music theory. I can’t write chords and shit, but I play by ear. If you ask these guys, they literally just have to show me once and I’m good.
It’s more than a band… It’s family.
“I just dropped an EP, but I love collaborating with Cuco. We’ve been working on a lot of shit together, but I’m working on my own on the side. We’re all in a band, but we’re all working on our own shit. This is just how we do it where we’re from man. I’m from Pamona. They’re (gestures to Eastside, Cuco, Julian) from Hawthorne. I linked up with them back in the day and we’d do backyard shows feel me? In the community you make your own shows. People wouldn’t even come; it would just be the homies. The performers. Even though sometimes it was just us, seeing and hearing those different sounds from other people made it funky.
Major Band Inspiration?
(Julian chimes in) “Yea you know that one… “Fiyaaaaa, fiyaaaa” that George Clinton? I love that sound dude! It’s so sonically crazy. It’s like a funk orchestra.”
The dope Supreme x Playboy soccer “kit”?
“Cuco got it for me.”
Listen to J-kwe$t’s new shit and look for new music from Cuco and the boys soon.
This interview was edited by the CommonPolished team for brevity