An Interview With: Owen Bones

Chicago producer Owen Bones is constantly pushing himself to new limits of creativity, from his original works to his recently released Chance the Rapper bootleg. Listen below and read our chat on Owen's sound and innovative liveshow.

Chicago producer Owen Bones is constantly pushing himself to new limits of creativity, from his original works to his recently released Chance the Rapper bootleg. Listen below and read our chat on Owen’s sound and innovative liveshow.

Hey Owen! Really great to chat with you. You’ve been incredibly busy releasing new music – can you tell us a little bit more about the Owen Bones sound?

The Owen Bones sound is definitely changing all the time. Pretty much the only thing that remains the same is my aversion towards sounds that have already been explored…one of my biggest drives to make music is to create something that hasn’t been heard before, even if it sounds a bit outlandish.

Your “Social Experiment” bootleg was released at record speed, just a few hours after fellow Chicagoan Chance the Rapper’s collab album “Surf” dropped. As a producer, is it easier for you to create in spontaneous bursts, or do you prefer to plan time for your work?

It’s funny, I’m usually the guy to poke fun at artists with quick turnaround times for bootlegs/remixes like that, but inspiration struck and I went for it. I definitely work best in bursts…if I hear something with an outstanding sample or accidentally write an interesting chord progression, I’ll work until I’m no longer feeling inspired, or I remember that I forgot to eat.

Earlier this year, you released a statement saying you would not facilitate the glorification of drug culture or misogyny in your music, which I felt was a really positive move for a producer to make. Do you feel that artists have a responsibility to promote social justice in their work? What drew you to make that decision?
That’s definitely a question I have been struggling with for a while. Personally, I believe that the artist has at least a reasonable degree of responsibility to not necessarily enforce social justice, but rather to promote content that is positive or healthy for society in some way. My decision to work this way came from my own moral compass…I just feel very strongly about the influence, subconscious or otherwise, that music, lyrics, and art have on our minds. I feel like it’s my responsibility to promote positivity and growth. 

The live show you debuted this year showed audiences that the creative space between visual and aural performance is merging – and it wowed everyone who got a chance to view it! What was the inspiration for the show? Is digital reality the future of electronic music?

The inspiration for the show came from my desire to do something so different that it would warp reality. I have been fascinated by augmented and distorted depictions of reality my whole life, so using technology to create a space of suspended disbelief on stage was a logical conclusion for me. I definitely believe that electronic musicians will incorporate more and more elements of digital reality into their performances as time goes on. Audiences and performers seem to be getting bored with standard DJ sets, so there is a push towards giving people something to look at. Whether this means a fancy graphics display or more instruments on stage is inevitably up to the artists.

Lastly – any words of wisdom for producers looking to define their sound?

There’s no way to say this without sounding cheesy, but work from the heart. It’s okay to teach yourself to make music by copying and reverse engineering other people’s work, but when you are trying to make something for yourself, allow yourself to create with no judgement. Record whatever comes out of your head, even if it doesn’t sound like much of anything. As long as you’re not trying to sound like someone else, you’ll make something unique.