Saturday Night Session 040: BLVK JVCK discusses his reaction to the political climate as a black American and the moniker’s shifting group dynamic
Few moments are more sacred than the reprieve Saturday night provides from the daily grind of school and work. Its importance is meant to be emphasized, and thus, a feature dedicated to “doing the night right” was born. Saturday Night Sessions are set around energizing mixes meant to get the party started. New or old, each episode has one cornerstone thing in similarity: they serve as the perfect backdrop for the weekend pregame.
It’s been over 20 years since Andrew “Dru Brett” Harr and Jermaine “Mayne Zayne” Jackson starting producing music together, and their production monikers have evolved alongside their creative output. The Kindergarten friends turned music production duo started producing Hip Hop in 2000 under alias ‘The Runners,’ and their careers took off. Harr and Jackson have worked with artists such as DJ Khalid, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Usher, Rihanna, and the list goes on.
After their successful stint in the Hip Hop world, the producers took notice of the blossoming electronic music industry, where music producers and the forward-facing artist were one and the same. They then started their next creative endeavor by launching a new alias, BLVK JVCK. After immediately signing to Big Beat Records, Harr and Jackson proved they were a force to be reckoned with in the electronic music scene. Their style blends their Hip Hop expertise with a heavy hitting flair resulting in monstrous trap and dubstep releases that translate seamlessly into live performance. As the duo’s music evolved, though, so did the group’s dynamic.
Performing as the fan facing artist came more naturally to Jackson, and the business side of things came more naturally to Harr. After realizing what each member felt best contributing to the moniker’s success, Harr and Jackson made the decision that BLVK JVCK will continue on as a collaboration of the artists, but with Jackson being the primary face of the brand.
The duo’s latest music video for “WHVT,” which features Jackson as the sole protagonist in the video, was a natural launch for Jackson as the face of the brand. “WHVT” is a cutting commentary on the state of race in America today, with a specific focus on police brutality and how that impacts black Americans such as himself. Jackson speaks about his reaction to the current state of affairs in the world, unveiling, “I FEEL ANGRY, disappointed, and sad. At the same time, I’m proud of this generation for standing up against this type of hatred, and we’re seeing every country….. every BIG country around the world make overdue changes.”
He continues, “I hope to see more compassionate, unselfish people in power to hold others accountable for their wrong doings. I understand there’s a long road that’s ahead of us because this country was built on hatred and entitlement. Try to tell your grandparents to change their routine after 90 years or some shit….it’s hard to break habits, not to mention the systemic habits this country was built on.”
During times like this where people are consumed by the negativity and inequality in the world, while also feeling the hope of long-overdue progress, an artists’ creativity can be impacted. Jackson reveals that his creativity has almost certainly been influenced by the state of the world, but that he feels he is still able to channel excitement for the future alongside his mixture of emotions when he is writing. As he puts it, “Nothing can steal away my inner joy.”
Although Jackson and Harr are responsible for different parts of the BLVK JVCK project now, the artists emphasize the success that comes when people of two different races, such as themselves, come together with the same goal and the same drive. Jackson leaves readers with a parting message, which is, “Look, I love my country, and I love every opportunity we have here. Dru and I navigated through this game with one objective… ‘To Win.’ We represent what can happen when people of a different race come together and make shit happen.”
Can you talk to us about your personal reaction to everything going on in the world right now?
I FEEL ANGRY, disappointed, and sad. At the same time, I’m proud of this generation for standing up against this type of hatred, and we’re seeing every country….. every BIG country around the world make overdue changes.
What changes do you hope to see in the future from our government, the people, etc.?
I hope to see more compassionate, unselfish people in power to hold others accountable for their wrong doings. I understand there’s a long road that’s ahead of us because this country was built on hatred and entitlement. Try to tell your grandparents to change their routine after 90 years or some shit….it’s hard to break habits, not to mention the systemic habits this country was built on.
We understand that BLVK JVCK has gone from two of you- you & Dru, to just one of you- Mayne. Can you talk to us about why that is and what went into that decision?
Dru and I are still and will always be in this race together. Standing in front of the music comes more natural to me, and his mind for business and dealing with people comes more natural to him. It’s how we’ve always ran our business.
You recently released the music video for ‘WHVT,’ which was bold and expressive. Can you talk to us about the video and tell us more about what you want people to take away from it?
People have to understand that just because you might not see police brutality in your area or community it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Many American’s still believe the victims of police brutality must have done something really bad for that cop to restrain him/her with such force. We’re only seeing a fraction of the brutality goin on in America. So, on behalf of the victims and the public that don’t have a voice… I’m using my voice to show the world how fucking fed up we are.
What do you want people to know about your own personal experience living in the United States and working in the music industry?
Look, I love my country, and I love every opportunity we have here. Dru and I navigated through this game with one objective… “To Win”. We represent what can happen when people of a different race come together and make shit happen. Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine is another great example.
Do you foresee the current climate of our country impacting your creative process and making music in the future? If so, in what way?
I definitely see the current climate change affecting my creative. My emotions come out through my music, especially my writing. I’m excited for the future despite everything that’s goin on. Nothing can steal away my inner joy.
What do you want listeners to get out of your Saturday Night Session Mix? What is this getting us ready for?
You know, I always like to play lots of hard music. I think this mix will get people hype and ready to “peacefully” protest on Monday morning!
Make no mistake—dance music is born from black culture. Without black creators, innovators, selectors, and communities, the electronic dance music we hold so dear would simply not exist. In short, dance music is deeply indebted to the global black community and we need to be doing more. Black artists and artists of color have played a profound role in shaping the sound and culture of dance music and now more than ever, it is necessary for everyone in the music community to stand up for the people that have given us so much. Dancing Astronaut pledges to make every effort to be a better ally, a stronger resource, and a more accountable member of the global dance music community. Black Lives Matter—get involved here: