Kajo releases “Cold Places” via Bobby Boy Records
It seems fitting that a cold front blew in the week of Cold Places release. Kajo released Cold Places via Logic’s label Bobby Boy Records. I was able to ask him what lead him to finding a home for his music on Bobby Boy Records, to which he replied,
I just knew when he told me that he was starting a label. I had been touring with him and we became friends. It was all about being taken care of, which he’s done. He’s been true to his word.
In regards to this release, I asked what he was most excited about with sharing this project. He replied,
I’m excited for people to pick their favorites and pick it apart, for all the producers to sample me. That’s the reason why I did a multi-genre project and sampled nothing, hoping it would inspire others to learn about genres you don’t really hear about these days such as drum n bass. I even have a classical piece of music in there, so we’ll see what other people come up with.
Kajo is a very sincere artist, truly sharing messages about the world that shaped him. He shared sentiment that the importance to him of his father’s garage was it was a place for him and his peers to play music after school – which was a safe place for them growing up in a neighborhood in California where without good activities, kids wound up participating in less-than-great activates. This track captures the essence of youth and creativity with it’s light-hearted feeling and exciting featured verse by Rebelle Perle.
On SFO, he really showcases his humble upbringing and heart by chanting “don’t take it for granted” – making it the stand-out point of the song and the message to takeaway from listening. The Curve is probably my favorite track production-wise, as it’s extremely dynamic. With interesting transitions, and a variety of vibe curations demonstrated, it does a great job keeping the listener surprised. On Hibernate, the song serves as one of the most raw tracks, almost as a brief ballad – hoping that his partner doesn’t fall out of love throughout the trials and tribulations of a relationship. This song opens up the listener to a very direct way to his heart, demonstrating his loyalty in love as well as his understanding side – not wanting to trap his lover should things change. In A Week carries on the same sentiment, in a colder way with guitar that coos along to the beat for a very relaxing listening experience.
This album certainly confirms Kajo’s love for history and the worlds that came before us – which is a common theme throughout the album. I’ll touch more on this in depth if you keep reading, but for now, to share my thoughts on Babylon – this song seems to be an interlude for the album. With the first seven tracks being extremely personal to him and highlighting his vocals, this one focuses more on instrumental aspects with minimal use of his voice. From an outsider’s perspective looking in, I would say that the first half of the album is very introspective for him, and the second half is very extrospective. This sets the pace for the tracks that lead you to the conclusion of the album.
Ygdracil really hit home for me – being Scandinavian. Stemming inspiration from Yggdrasil – a sacred tree central to Norse cosmology. The title is a play on the word, and I can’t think of anywhere else he would’ve come up with a unique name like that. It makes me wonder if he’s read or studied the Prose Edda? While he is a Filipino-American artist, his love for the world is showcased throughout this album as he plays with ideologies from around the world. This is one of my favorite aspects of his creativity, as I’m also extremely curious about the cultures that make up the world.
UPDATE: Kajo shared the following about the track Ygdracil:
Ygdracil is about a couple in a cabin in the woods who slowly turn into zombies during a pandemic. It’s a play on the Norse tree of life, ‘Yggdrasil’. In this case, it is a pharmaceutical ad commercial about life being a drug and it’s various side effects. Shout out to Klara Gadd for the voiceover!
I don’t want to reveal all the treats this album has, you’ll need to listen to the full album to make some opinions of your own, so I’ll fast forward to my favorite outro-track, Ötzi. As I previously mentioned, Kajo clearly loves history. For those who don’t know, Ötzi is a natural mummy which was found in the Ötztal Alps which are on the border between Austria and Italy. This song is a beautiful way for Kajo to bring the “full picture” full circle, singing “this is what it means to be human” as the primary chorus. With it’s release, there is a beautiful music video available to enjoy out on Youtube now:
All in all, Kajo’s latest album is definitely worth checking out for any fans of hip-hop and R&B. Bringing a more conscious approach to the genre, he is a unique act with more than plenty stories to share to leave his mark on the world.
Genre-bending songwriter Kajo took the long road to music and, now, he’s writing his own rules. In each of his songs, you can hear the kind of intentionality that comes from an artist fine-tuning their craft across years, knowing exactly when to defy expectations and when to offer something comforting and nostalgic. He has a special knack for making familiar strains feel otherworldly — using soft synth, sharp percussion, and syrupy vocals as the fuel for journeys to distant musical planets. One way he adds to these vividly realized musical worlds is through the visual side of his work. Kajo is sitting on a treasure trove of self-directed music videos, each a burst of controlled chaos. Fueled by a striking sense of humor and an eye for the fantastical, his new work is an ecstatic summation of his boundary-pushing impulses, slamming together energetic shoegaze, delicate chillwave wisps, and heavy hip-hop rhythms. It’s the perfect introduction to his vision. Kajo is set to release his first singles and EP, Cold Places, this fall. Counter to the name, though, Kajo used his cozy bedroom studio and online collaboration to craft these songs. He moves the way old-school producers do—he cares about freshness, but he’s also aware of how trends come and go, and how new ideas are often steeped in history. Even to the most trained ears, his music will sound like nothing else. Kajo has a foot in the past, sure, but his music feels entirely new.