By Jesse Trautmann
When Jon B describes his Diarya (dy-UH-rEE-UH) he says it’s “spastic, bumping, retarded, and awesome.” But just before I start feeling sorry for his roommates he tells me more about Beat Diarya, his latest project- a compilation of rap tracks he produced that features other local artists from Canada.
The album’s style is based on traditional rap sounds. “I am inspired by the drum and beat sounds that came out of the golden era of rap from about ’93 to ’98,” he says, “but I like to incorporate more electronic sounds, making it eclectic.”
Jon B, real name Jonathan Balazs,, 21, is a film studies student at Ryerson who came here after studying film at the University of Alberta. The rap scene in Alberta is much smaller then Toronto’s and doesn’t have the diversity either. He loves that the artists here range from free style, spoken word, political to poetic because it inspires him and his work.
Right now he is working on shooting videos for some of the tracks off the album using knowledge from school. “It’s all tied together. My professors really encourage us to use our own music in our work,” he said.
Jon B got into music through DJing only couldn’t afford the equipment. He has released two CDs independently because he still had the ambition to learn production and how music is made. Even at five bucks a disk, it’s a hard sell. “Nobody is buying music anymore,” he says with frustration “so I’m working on getting the tracks available online for download purchase.”
Reactions to the album are mixed. “People either really like it or they’re indifferent,” he says “but it is getting a lot of air time on different college radio stations.” This summer he also got attention from Edmonton newspapers.
Currently, you can hear his work online at www.radio3.cbc.ca or visit his website at www.jonb.ca.