[Locals Only] Damien, Jesse and Gianna From the BLOK

Damien, Jesse and Gianna From the BLOK

ItNs easy to spot the three siblings who make up Irvine-based, avant-garde hip-hop act BLOK. Meeting them for this interview at the Gypsy Den in Costa Mesa this Tuesday afternoon, theyNre the only ones wearing black-and-white-striped pajama pants and slippers (main vocalist/producer Damien B), a white nightie with leopard-print tights and hat (backing vocalist/hype woman Gianna Gianna) and a black-and-yellow blazer with a Joker pin (vocalist/hype man Jesse St. John, also sporting a plastic tiger snout affixed to the side of his head). Their audiences get an up-close look at such sartorial splendor—with Damien B frequently stepping offstage and spitting lyrics from well within the audienceNs personal space as St. John and Gianna tirelessly jerk about in nonsensiscal, spastic dance moves. A BLOK show is as much performance art as concert.

OC Weekly: Where does the inspiration for the live show come from? Is it just an extension of your natural personalities?

Damien B: It is an extension of our personalities a lot. I like to combine the energy of a punk show, that kind of of intense energy, but at the same time, I like just the entertainment aspect. It singles you out. “INm playing the music right in front of you.”

Jesse St. John: The live show is sort of a visual interpretation of what the music hopefully sounds like. It wouldnNt make sense if we were just standing there singing it.

Gianna Gianna: I just let my inhibitions go completely so that everyone feels comfortable enough to let theirs go as well.

Do you ever worry people will see all that during your shows and think itNs too gimmicky, or just a novelty act?

Damien B: We dress like this in real life. I listen to music thatNs kind of like our music; they listen to music thatNs variations of our music. ItNs just us. WeNre not doing anything beyond ourselves. WeNre not forcing anything. ItNs really what we are—amplified through a speaker system.

Musically, what led you toward the direction of BLOK?

Damien B: INve always liked hip-hop/rap since I was little. I liked Busta Rhymes, Rage Against the Machine and 311 back then. Pretty much immediately, I got into electronic stuff, as well as roots music and world music. Taking sounds from everywhere and mixing it all together into one sound and trying to make it sound cohesive . . . BLOK are really derivative of what INve always liked.

Where did the name come from—with no C?

Damien B: I wanted something that was very blunt. Everything is straight to the point, pretty much. The word “BLOK” has, like, a city-street connotation, kind of an urban connotation, as well as the geometric shape, so itNs combining design with urban. I took out the C because itNs stronger, I think, without it.

ItNs more distinctive. Otherwise, itNs just some word.

Gianna: Or a mall.

St. John: Or an action, I guess?

Damien, youNre fast when delivering your lyrics, especially live. Do you worry that people arenNt grasping mucH N Mdash;or any of it?

Damien B: A lot of times with the recordings, too, people ask me to still write down the lyrics for them. TheyNll get a phrase here, and because they just processed that one, they miss the next one. My lyrics are very conscious. I want to combine the elements of underground—like the normal elements of intellectual underground hip-hop—and at the same time, I want people to just go and dance, and they donNt have to listen to the lyrics.

WhatNs it like working in a group consisting exclusively of siblings?

St. John: ItNs so easy to make music together because we all know one anotherNs references, weNve all been exposed to the same things. All of us know everybodyNs intentions.

Damien B: I can skip a lot of steps—I know how to explain to them whatever INm thinking, and vice versa. They know how to communicate with me, just from living together all of our lives.

BLOK with Pop Noir and the Polyamorous Affair at Detroit Bar, 843 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-0600; www.detroitbar.com. Mon., 9 p.m. Free. 21+. BLOK can be found online at www.myspace.com/theofficialblok.

Hey, Orange County/Long Beach musicians and bands! Mail your music, contact info, high-res photos and upcoming show dates for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Ste 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. Or e-mail your link to le*****@oc******.com.



2 Replies to “[Locals Only] Damien, Jesse and Gianna From the BLOK”

  1. Pingback: blote tieten
  2. CBD exceeded my expectations in every way thanks https://www.cornbreadhemp.com/collections/full-spectrum-cbd-oil . I’ve struggled with insomnia in the interest years, and after tiring CBD in the course of the first age, I lastly practised a full eventide of pacific sleep. It was like a force had been lifted off my shoulders. The calming effects were merciful despite it scholarly, allowing me to roam afar naturally without sensibilities woozy the next morning. I also noticed a reduction in my daytime angst, which was an unexpected but allowed bonus. The taste was a flash shameless, but nothing intolerable. Blanket, CBD has been a game-changer for my slumber and angst issues, and I’m grateful to keep discovered its benefits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *