John Keenan is a rapper and producer from Great Bend, Kansas. John sprung onto the music scene with “The Mind of A Madman” Mixtape in 2010 which was followed by “One Day At A Time EP” in 2011. In 2012, John released his first full produced album “Where I Went Wrong” followed by “Imagination to the Nation” in 2013. Keenan’s latest effort “The Illusion of Logic” was released on June 3rd 2016. 1 In Music met with the music artist to talk about this new release and his intriguing journey.
1inmusic: How would you sum up what your music is and what makes it unique, especially what it brings to the musical scene in general and the hip-hop scene in particular, that you thought was missing?
John Keenan (JK): I’m a rapping producer and that’s less common. I really looked up to guys like DJ Quik as a kid because it was all him. So I didn’t just write a verse to a beat but wrote the melody and baseline, did the drums, etc.
1inMusic: What shaped your music?
JK: My mom has great taste in music, cool funky stuff. A lot of Earth, Wind and Fire, Steely Dan stuff like that and my Grandma is a classical pianist. I listened to a lot of rap so I sort of try to merge the three I think.
1inmusic: The illusion of logic is an intriguing album title. Tell us more about what it is about?
JK: I don’t want to attempt anything logical. If we only did what seemed logical we wouldn’t have anything. Faith got us to the moon.
1inmusic: In terms of musical inspiration, does the album “The illusion of logic” fuse hip-hop with other genres as your Imagination to the Nation did? What genres does it mix in?
JK: I try and hit the widest spectrum of music I can. I’ve tried to make all my albums that way. Eventually I want the albums to have every genre distinctly represented from song to song. I’m far from that goal but working towards it.
1inmusic: Do you continue to draw the lessons of your past experiences into this album and what particular stories do you elude to here?
JK: Some songs are really personal but from a writing standpoint I’m really trying to get away from me. Rap songs are often about rapping and I want people to relate to their lives. I’m here to inspire you, not talk about me.
1inmusic: What drove you into the worst of those experiences and what got you out of them? How do you successfully include this journey and its lessons in your new music work The illusion of logic?
JK: I’m a drunk and the song “Father Martin” is totally about alcoholism and addiction. I tried to write that in the shoes of someone trying to get clean or sober.
1inmusic: When did you realise you were going to make music professionally?
JK: When in 10th grade maybe. I took legal files, big accordion folders full of music documents to school instead of books. I didn’t know how hard it was to be paid in music but I’ve always acted professional. I have equipment and supplies inventory reports from like 2006 that crack me up when I run across them.
1inmusic: Do you still work with your brother and do you have any plans together for future work?
JK: For sure. We’re much better together. We push each other and sound nearly identical. Nobody wants a K-Ci cd, they like K-Ci and JoJo. Rapping is hard for me but he makes it sound easy.
1inmusic: Who, to you, is the most undervalued music artist?
JK: There are a slew of artists I never shut up about. Grieves is amazing. Tech N9ne is astonishingly good. Chromeo and Haim are really awesome too.
1inmusic: Is there a tour to coincide with your new release The Illusion of Logic and could you tell us some of the dates/venues/places?
JK: I take any opportunity to perform but my focus has been on producing. However it’s not productive or healthy to spend 10 hours on how the kick drum sounds.
1inmusic: What ignites your (song) writing flow in general?
JK: The music. Maybe 1 beat of 20 I actually write to and generally they write themselves. I forced myself to write back in the day and now I wait until I make the beat that tells me what to write.
1inmusic: What do you do when you don’t do music and that you are passionate about?
JK: Exercise and learning. I go through weird phases where I get obsessed with a subject. I just went on an ancient Egypt binge big time.
1inmusic: Success to you is…
JK: My dad once told me to never judge how successful a day of hunting has been by how many birds you get. Judge the hunts success by the effort you gave. More effort and being better than yesterday is success.
1inmusic: What do you wish you were told when you started out and that you think would help anyone who starts out?
JK: Take more risks, trust yourself more. Be imperfect. Don’t worry about then next guy. Get just a little bit better everyday.
1inmusic: What is next for you and The illusion of logic?
JK: It felt like a big test to me. Once it’s available, I’m over it. I learned a lot and I’m already on the next thing.
1inmusic: Where do we find The Illusion of logic and your other music projects?
JK: iTunes, Amazon, all music retailers like that.