Before we wake up and dance for our Austin,Texas launch✨ … let’s get to know our new ATX producer, Jonathan ‘Chaka’ Mahone. He and his wife, Qi — aka legendary hip hop duo, Riders Against the Storm— just released their latest single (#casual).
Here’s how he stays inspires, creates mischief … aaaand how he fell in love with his wifey.😍
What inspires you to create music?🎶
Life inspires me to make music. Color and light. Struggles. My wife. Love. ♥️ Conversations with friends. Everything.
What inspired the song and video, Mali?
The hook came to me one day when I was sitting on the couch at home chilling out. It stuck, and I recorded it on my phone. We had a bunch of beats from our friend, Reggie Coby, on my computer, and as I was listening to one — the hook came back to me. I recorded it on garageband, and then started writing the verse immediately. It just flowed. The first line of my verse comes from a Prince interview with Tavis Smiley. I was feeling strongly at the time about writing a verse about how people try to get in your way, or ignore you, thinking that somehow they can ‘play you’ or stop you — but nobody can stop what is destined for you. That’s yours by birth if you’re willing to fight for it.
A lot of people pop pills to escape because it’s hard to ‘tap in’ to yourself, and believe in your own greatness. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t. In the video Qi (my wife) and I play spirits that are resurrecting two individuals that are close to death. Both are in bondage: one physically, the other psychologically. Our lyrics are inspiring them to fight, and break through the torture they are experiencing in the present moment.
The image of the African that resided behind us at the end of the video is an image we see a lot when we first learn of slavery in school. We took the scars off his back to symbolize what it would be like to start your life without the embedded traumas we are inflicted by, socially and culturally.
Tell us about a time you caused mischief!
I stay mischievous, and live for breaking norms. It’s in our name, ‘Riders Against the Storm.’ When am I NOT mischievous? Probably when I sit down at my computer to do work.
We can’t not ask — can you please tell us the love story between you and Qi?
Our love was forged working together in the community. Before we were lovers, we were partners in social change and community work. Both of us have a deep commitment to leaving the planet a little better than it was when we got here. This is a tall order, obviously — but we are driven to be a force for good and light.✨
Before there was music, there were years of connection and meaningful passionate creation in our community. All that led to music, and love.There’s so much to say. I think the best thing to do is to watch this 2013 PBS documentary about us, called ‘Masters Of Ceremony.’🙂
Why are you so excited to be bringing Daybreaker to Austin, Texas?
Daybreaker is so connected to the work we already do here in Austin. We believe in the power of art, dance, and music as a healing force. We all need healing, and I think Daybreaker is medicine. Come as you are. Feel alive. Bring that feeling into your daily walk.
What does community mean to you?
The responsibility of community is to nurture, respect and protect the purpose of individual members. We are taught individualism, but community celebrates the uniqueness of each individual while reminding us of our commonality and oneness. We foster community to awaken our gifts and share them for a collective greater good. Without it, we float as individuals and miss out on some of the best things in life, but especially connection. Community should always remind you that you are not alone.
Share with us Chaka’s personal morning routine in 3-5 sentences … GO!
My morning routine varies as my schedule is very fluid. I don’t have a regular bedtime, so I try to wake up after 6 hours (if possible). Beyond that, I sit for a few moments (5-10 minutes) in meditation after getting out of bed, visualize my day, and get things started. Sometimes I throw some yoga or stretching in the mix as well. My wife is generally asleep, so I try not to make too much noise! 😉