Interview taken from The Floor Magazine Issue 001 (2019)
What does the AQ in your name stand for?
That’s part of a collective I’m part of, stands for ALQAE but AQ specifically stands for ‘all around quality’, its like family, its like a brotherhood so yeah that’s pretty much what it is.
So you grew up with a bunch of friends and then you guys started making music together?
I didn’t, they were making music before me. Jimmy Jim and Floss were already a duo. I was just a friend hanging around; I was really into their music and I used to feed them beats. Since the age of 7 I’ve been into Hip-Hop and just music in general . So I’d suss out beats on the internet and be like “you man should write on this!” And then there was just one time literally where we were all chilling in the car, smoking and everything like that and everybody was freestyling but when it came round to me I punked out, ‘cause I don’t like looking like a fool. So it was one of them ones where for a good two weeks it kinda messed with me. ‘Cause when my friends do banter, they do banter crazy.
So you wrote a couple of bars showed it to your friends and they said yeah this is good…
Yeah before that I had tried to write but it didn’t turn out good. Even when I done that Rap to them it wasn’t good, but it had potential, and then I just worked off of that potential and just moved like a mad man. Since I was a kid I’ve always wanted to be a rapper but I had no confidence to want to pursue that. I even created this… This is a lil’ secret… I used to create a character in my mind called J Flipper and he used to be this rapper where every year he would come with the album of the year, topping charts, always a platinum selling artist and I’d create a tracklist of my favorite songs at the time, could have been from D-Block, DMX who is my dad’s favorite rapper, and just different artists.
What was the turning point then? When you decided to confidently pursue it?
Ever since that day, when my boys mocked me because I didn’t freestyle, I just started writing and that’s where it stemmed from, and everytime I wrote a new song or freestyle I became better and better. That’s how I knew this shit was meant for me, no doubt about it.
Do you write all your stuff then?
Of course! I think its deadly important to write your stuff. I don’t put down people who don’t write their stuff because for you to even…say like Rihanna for example, Sex With Me, PARTYNEXTDOOR wrote that but the way she executed that was fucking amazing and that’s still a talent itself. But I’d rate you when it comes from you, and it’s like how did this person write that? When it comes to my raps and my verses I take that really seriously because in my opinion I’m one of the best rappers in the world so that’s how I carry myself and I take pride in writing my raps because its personal.
What’s your creative process like? Do you set time aside to come up with stuff or does it just come to you?
It could come in different ways. It almost always stems from a beat. I find it weird to write without one, the beat tells me the story. I’ll start with the flow first. So no words, just mumbles on how I want it to flow. Once I’m done with that I’ll listen to the recording. If I’m not addicted to the recording then I fuck it off, but if I am then I’ll try find the words to fit. But just from hearing the mumbles from the recording I can usually tell what song is meant to be about. I take time with my writing though, I don’t whip it out in one day, sometimes it will but I like to take time because I want it to sound like me as much as possible.
What’s your favourite song by you?
It’s a song that’s not out yet…its called It’s a New Year. It will be dropping in 2019, around January. Near my birthday and the reason why that’s my favorite song but with the songs that are out right now, I would say probably Sick Individual.
This time next year, where do you see yourself at?
Mhh, well obviously I would have released my debut project, and I would be one of the biggest artists of the UK by the end of the year, if not the biggest artist. Or it will be one of those things where I have a much bigger fan base.
Listen to JonnoAQ's latest project F.E.A.R: