How to NOT get lost in the sauce with J. Ohm
Jason Holm aka J. Ohm aka DJ Spruce Bringsteen is the founder of 300 Club Records. He was kind enough to give his time over the phone. I had a chance to ask a few questions. He is at the forefront of the up and coming record label 300 Club, but even being on the front lines 24/7 he tells us how important it is to step back and get away every once in awhile. We talk about home cooking and almost signing Anderson .Paak. This is how to NOT get lost in the sauce with J. Ohm.
TK: Tell us who you are to anyone that doesn’t know.
JO: My name is Jason Holm. I’ve been a DJ over the years since 1996. At a certain point, I noticed I seemed to have a knack for discovering artists before they blew up. So, eventually I decided it was time to get a label going. In fact, I would tell my friends about an artist and months later they would blow up. For instance, Anderson .Paak, he just started to become popular. And I thought about owning a record label years before I took the big step. At the time I was nervous and didn’t do anything about it. When Anderson .Paak came along I knew there was something about him but I didn’t have the label. I didn’t do anything about it and months went by, then a year went by. I thought well, I need to do this record label thing. That was about the same time Dr. Dre scooped him up.
TK: Did you reach out?
JO: I sent Anderson a message on social media and I could see that he had read the message but never responded. It was one missed opportunity. Had I started the record label a year or two sooner, the moment I discovered his music, there could have been a chance for us working together. It’s more of a regret to not go for it than not doing it and seeing artists come and go that need to be shared with the world.
TK: I saw a video of yourself hand painting record jackets. (find here) Is this a typical part you hold in the process of putting out records?
JO: I give direction for the record jackets, working directly with the musician and artist, and tend to be hands on as much as I can with each release. I consider each a piece of art. When I put out a record, I want it to be something special. I like to imagine how it would feel if I came across one of these records while digging. I want to be blown away by every level of quality from the music, to the jacket artwork, to the record itself. That’s where I stand with everything when I work on the label. I want whoever receives it to see that a lot of work went into it and appreciate the music, the packaging, even the shipping materials.
TK: What keeps you going?
JO: Music keeps me going, when at work, in my headphones or speakers, I gotta have music. It helps with ups and downs. Like anyone else, I get down a little once in a blue moon. Music is the one thing that changes emotions. Occasionally I’m feeling super high and hear a song that brings me down. Or maybe I’m feeling down and a certain song gets me out of my rut. I even bring my phone with me when I go backpacking. I used to bring a little speaker, but it got to be too heavy. In the mountains, I’m not trying to crank it and have a party, but it’s a nice treat you know, a few jams, not on the whole time. It’s usually a late at night thing, while hanging out watching the stars.
TK: How important is it for you to get out into the wild and hike these insane, miles long trails?
JO: I don’t go to the gym or workout regularly. The mountains are my gym and my therapist, and church so to speak. I’m not a religious person, but it clears my head and I get a good workout, and I feel in touch with the planet and appreciate the state I live in. Washington State, such an amazing, beautiful part of the world. Honestly, I tend to get cranky if I don’t get into the mountains at least once a month. I try to get up every weekend if I can, but life gets busy.
TK: So your plan the whole time, was to move here and hike and start your own record label?
JO: Nah, I moved here temporarily for a job back in January of 2000. When the job was finished, I was supposed to continue on with the company in either Austin or Ft. Lauderdale. After only living here for a short period of time, it felt like home.
TK: Do you remember when you first listened to hip hop?
JO: Back in the 90’s, the first definitive moment that I heard hip hop that really opened my eyes to what hip hop is and what it can be was “Blowout Comb” by Digable Planets. I was working at Godfather’s Pizza, right, with the whole crew. It was the summer of ’93, and everyone was on summer break. My co-workers and I, we all enjoyed each other’s company. We fucked around, but we were still about making sure we did our job right, while having a good time, and still getting good pizza out there. One of the delivery drivers had a late 70’s Lincoln. It was a huge white car with sub woofers you could hear from 4-5 blocks away. I would go deliver pizza with him. He put in “Blowout Comb” by Digable Planets. After about half an hour I heard a good chunk of that album, and it was within the first few seconds that it captured me. My mind was blown away. After that, it was A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, Biggie…
TK: Any other passions?
JO: Cooking for sure. My special dish, fish tacos, everyone loves them. I just got myself a tortilla press and I’m learning to make my own tortillas. I’m working on a homemade pizza with my own dough and my own sauce. I make a couple decent pasta dishes, like cacio e pepe.
TK: You get up at 4 am to make tortillas?
JO: That’s tamales. I’m not getting up that early for tortillas.
TK: What would you travel across the world for right now?
JO: I wouldn’t say any specific thing but more so the experience. I love records, but I wouldn’t fly just for that. The food, music, culture, and overall experience are my kind of journey.
To find out more about 300 Club Records follow the links:
300 Club Records Website – http://www.300clubrecords.com/
300 Club Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/300clubrecords
300 Club Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/300ClubRecords?ref=hl