Press Lives Matter: Jake Markow, Dirty Glove Bastard + Elevator Mag

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Written by Greg Harris 

In another edition of our interview series, "Press Lives Matter", Modern Life Mag is here to unmask the genesis and the motivation behind some of these remarkable individuals who are making their mark in their respective industry. As much as these individuals remain in the sector of music, we tap in on the editorial end where we cross paths with the trail-blazing writer, Jake Markow. 

Growing up in California and now residing in Houston, TX, Markow has made a name for himself in many sections of music. First creating a foundation for himself with his production skills, then while working among different individuals in different camps it allowed him to connect with Pooh, one of the visionaries behind Dirty Glove Bastard, one of the leading southern based digital platforms for hip-hop. That led to his opportunity to working with Elevator Mag, and since then he's been wheeling and dealing with artists in a way that propels their notoriety from a press point of view and allows to flourish with creating relationships with different platforms along the way as well. 

In this interview we had a chance to talk to Mr. Markow about his upbringing, his transition from Cali to Texas, being a producer and blogger, and more. 

Read below.

How’s Your Modern Life?
My modern life is great. I’m extremely blessed so I don’t have any complaints.

What are three things you have to do when you first wake up?
Every day I hop up out of bed, turn my swag on, look in the mirror and say what’s up.

Assuming you also want a more serious answer as well; I have to catch up with the world
outside, so I start off my day on my phone – texts, social media notifications, emails, etc. Then I
need coffee, and I also usually start listening to music right away. So phone, coffee, music.

How would you explain your upbringing?
I was raised in a really supportive household, both of my parents are really hard working. When
we were growing up in Northern California I remember my parents working and going to school,
they were really doing as much as they could to take care of us and make a better life for
themselves and their kids as well.

Some of my earlier memories of my dad were of him and one of his friends recording music in
our garage in San Leandro. My dad has always been really involved in music so I think that
music has been ingrained in my life from the jump. My mom is also extremely artistic – she’s a
really talented painter, so I’m really blessed to have been raised by parents who were musically
inclined and artistic themselves.

Coming up, what were some influences that sparked your interests in music and style?
The first CD that I remember owning was a Britney Spears album. My dad had played guitar in
bands around LA during the 80’s, so he had put me onto classic rock and sparked my interest in
playing instruments pretty early on. When I was in Jr. High I started getting into both rap and
metal, and my parents were not cool with me blasting Slipknot so I think them not being ok with
what I liked made me like it even more.

Going into High School I started to get more hip to smaller metal bands, and I had a friend put
me on SpaceGhostPurpp when he was playing warehouse shows in LA with Trash Talk. I was
honestly really into hardcore bands at the same time, I still started developing a huge interest in
rap. I definitely knew every word to most Biggie Smalls songs, but would still go with my friends
to local hardcore shows and would be stage-diving and moshing.

Living in the West Coast in this day and age, how would say the nature of the city affects
the culture and people there?

I think that a lot of people really look to the West Coast, LA specifically, for what is going to be
hot next. Between the majority of the music industry being based in Los Angeles, and every kid
who is too cool for their Mid-Western hometown moving to the LA area to chase their dreams,
there’s a lot of talent in a very small area. The culture is definitely affected by the city in that the
West Coast has a really relaxed vibe compared to a lot of the major cities in the country.

Since you’ve moved from California to Texas, how would you describe the differences in
the modern sound of both music scenes in both states?

Without talking down on the rap scene I first got involved in, being Dallas, I think that Texas is a
little behind on the times without knowing it. When I first started getting involved in the local
scene up there, artists thought that it was absolutely groundbreaking that people were moshing
or ‘raging’ at their shows. The crossover between metal and hardcore had been beginning to
take place a few years before and it was starting to become more widespread.

A big thing that I’ve really been noticing in the last few years in Texas is the musical impact that
Post Malone has had. When he first really started to blow up, a lot of people felt some type of
way that he wasn’t representing Dallas or Texas, in general, the way that they wanted to. Now if
you listen to some of the most promising emerging artists from the area that he came from, you
can hear the influence as clear as day.

In what ways you think, both of these scenes have progressed in the area of music and
culture?

I think that the scenes of California and Texas are becoming more connected due to how fast
information is being spread on social media. A few years ago, when something was starting to
get cool in LA, like underground warehouse parties, it felt special because you had to be there
to experience. Now someone can have a great idea, whether it’s a sound or clothing idea, and it
can be spread almost instantly if it catches on in the right way online.

In addition to you being familiar with various scenes, this has also allowed you to have a
very broad sound when it comes to your efforts as a producer. What inspired you to start
producing music?

I started to produce music in order to cut down the cost of production for the band that I was
playing in when I was in California. We would spend so much time in the studio programming
drums and tracking guitars, and it led me to want to learn how to do those things on my own so
we could be more prepared when we actually got into the studio.

The band I was in eventually split up, but I still needed a creative outlet and I turned to making
beats. At first, I was just making stuff that I thought that sounded good, and it took a while for me
to get stuff placed with artists but once I got the hang of it I was in love. When I first got to Texas
I had an entire summer before I started going back to school, so all I did was go to the gym,
work at a store in the mall, and make beats. I left all of my friends in California so I didn’t have
anything to do other than sit on my computer at home and make beats.

What are some essentials you personally need to create the right sound while
producing?

Personally, I don’t need much at this point other than my laptop. It’s a lot more comfortable for
me to make beats at home, and since I have so much going on with being a full-time student
and writing for two blogs I’ve started to develop a system of collaborating with a few other
producers that has made my workflow a lot easier. If I can spend a few hours making melodies
and focus on that, I’m able to send them out and have a ton of finished beats back in my email
in a few days. When I’m making beats specifically for an artist, I like to do everything myself but
right now team work is really essential for me at.

In this day in age, the role of the producer is so undermined in a way where the true
value of the producer is not appreciated. What do you think producers need in 2018 to
implement that importance for artists and other people to recognize?

I’d personally have to disagree with that. I think that producers did have a period of time in the
last few years in which they weren’t being appreciated in the public eye, but now I think
producers are starting to wake up to the fact that they need their brand to as big if not bigger
than the artists that they are working with. Labels aren’t cutting checks like how they did when
you didn’t need to be in the public eye to survive, but now you can have an extremely strong
brand presence online and pay your bills off of leasing beats.


What I do think producers need to recognize the importance of is protecting themselves when
they start to work with artists that are beginning to emerge in the industry. You might be
randomly sending out beats to a rapper that’s getting some attention on SoundCloud, and the
next thing you know there are labels calling you trying to buy the rights to a song that you
produced – and they want it for the lowest price. It’s sad seeing producers lose out money due
to labels knowing that they don’t have a lawyer or anyone who’s been in the game longer than
them looking out for their best interest.

In the simplest way possible, how would you describe your style as a producer?
If I had to use a single word, it would be ‘dynamic.’ While it may not have gotten a ton of
attention on SoundCloud I’ve produced for a metal band out of Dallas that spent a majority of
2017 on tour, as well as getting songs with rappers like $teven Cannon. I’ve gotten songs with
some up and coming ‘emo’ artists like Lil Lotus as well as Wicca Phase and Jon Simmon from
Balance and Composure’s new group Coward – while developing a dark RnB/trap singer from
LA.


My musical background is really diverse, and I’ve never wanted to box myself into working with
a certain style of artists exclusively. While it might be a little bit of a set back because I’ve never
really locked in exclusively with one artist and consistently developed a sound together, I’ve
been fortunate enough to progress forward with each artist that I’ve worked with regardless of
the specific style of music.

Aside from your efforts as a producer, you have played an instrumental role in being a
writer for Dirty Glove Bastard and Elevator. What drove you to take these opportunities?

When I began producing in Dallas I was spending a ton of time in the studio with a rapper that
was being managed by Lil Pooh, who is a major player at Dirty Glove Bastard. He’s a huge
figure in the rap game throughout the South and I would constantly annoy him about sending
beats to the artists that I would constantly be in the studio with. Over time, he saw me go from
producing to road managing an up and coming artist, to eventually working as an assistant for
one of Ear Drummer Record’s in house producers. He saw that I was consistently working.


Last year I was going to school in College Station, and I had been consistently assigned 10-15
page papers. Around mid-spring semester I was beginning to look for internship opportunities
and I had always thought that writing for a notable outlet would help me take a big step in the
direction I wanted to take my career in music, so I reached out to Pooh and asked if there were
any internship type opportunities writing for DGB. I sent over my resume and some papers that I
had written for school and he was extremely excited, called the whole team, and got me set up
not too long after.

I was so excited to finally have a platform to write for, I went as hard as I could with music the
entire summer and it caught the attention of one the editors at Elevator. That was around the
time that I had started to work with Lil Lotus, and I reached out to him to pitch the music we had
done for LVTR and he said he loved it. From there we stayed in touch and I developed that
relationship over Twitter while still focusing on school and DGB. Then around October of 2017
the same editor at Elevator asked if I had any interest in writing for them and I told him that I’d
start as soon as possible.


I’ve read so many interviews from people who work in the industry at labels doing marketing or
working as an A&R and the common denominator for a lot of their early career paths was them
writing for a notable outlet while in college. The opportunity to write for both DGB and LVTR has
been absolutely life changing and I’m really trying my best to help both platforms grow while I
am in this period of finishing up college and focusing on where I want to be when I graduate.

Being a jack of all trades, it must be draining for you to manage your time on all
cylinders. What have been some of your best practices to be the most productive
throughout your days?

It has been extremely draining and at sometimes I’m unable to manage everything that I have
going on. One thing that works for me is to keep my calendar on my phone up to date. I used to
joke with my ex about having to schedule time to go out with her, but I actually have to that now
so I can remember that I have commitments to keep otherwise they honestly will slip my mind.
I also have a whiteboard that’s hung above my desk that I schedule bigger things going on in
the week on like LVTR video uploads, meetings, scheduled calls, etc. Being productive is really

the only thing that keeps me happy at this point, it might sound weird but if I’m not doing
something productive then I feel like I’m wasting my own time. Being a full time college student,
producing, and writing for two blogs has been an extreme challenge for me this school year but
I’m going my best to balance everything and the hard work I’ve been putting into it has been
slowly but surely paying off.

"When I see someone talented making great music that needs help, whether it’s covering them on blogs or connecting them with someone who they need to know – I’ll never hesitate to do it because I really believe that being an honest, good person will get you far in this world. "

Playing a role of a person who connects many dots between different people in the
industry, what do you feel like your
responsibility is when it comes to you being a
tastemaker?

I feel like it’s my responsibility to put as many people as possible in a position to win. Through
the years that I’ve spent in the music industry, I feel like I’ve made enough connections to really
have friends that are doing anything. Whenever I come across anyone from an up and coming
artist to the owner of an emerging clothing brand, I try to make myself as much of a resource as
possible. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few extremely influential mentors in the last few
years, and I have learned that the people in this industry who are winning are never afraid of
losing their position due to helping someone else succeed.


The position that I’m in as a tastemaker at both the regional and national level is one that I’m
extremely grateful to be in. I’m not from Texas, I didn’t grow up in Houston, I have no bias
towards anyone in the South that is making music. When I see someone talented making great
music that needs help, whether it’s covering them on blogs or connecting them with someone
who they need to know – I’ll never hesitate to do it because I really believe that being an honest,
good person will get you far in this world. Many people are scared to help people out in the
music industry, and I believe that comes from an underlying sense of insecurity. When you are
not afraid of where you stand and where you are headed, helping those who are deserving to
move forward with their career will never set you back.

What are three goals of yours in 2018?
On New Years Eve of 2017 my three goals for this year were: produce a song with Maxo
Kream, have my writing published in an internationally recognized outlet, and get a summer
internship in New York. As of today, I’ve done all three of those things so maybe I need to start
making bigger goals for myself. If I had to make 3 more goals for the remainder of this year,
they would be: getting a beat placed on a major label album, manage an artist and break them
on a national level, and keep my GPA above a 3.0.

When it’s all said and done, what do you want to be remembered for?
When it’s all said and done, I want to be remembered for the impact that I am working to make
on the music industry and on the lives of the people that I interact with. For as long as I can
remember I have had one dream job, I’m so close to making that dream job a reality and to me
that will really be the beginning of my ability to make the greatest impact as possible in the
music industry. I want to make my family and friends proud of me, and I want to make other
people’s family and friends equally as proud of them by bringing their music to light.


Music has been my passion since birth, so nothing would make me happier than people
remembering me for making a noticeable impact by creating something that will live beyond my
time here on earth.

Follow Jake here and here