In this nascent era of bedroom Soundcloud production boom and DIY social media rampage, many artists are using the Internet as a medium to channel their art forms. At the forefront is 21st century club kid, music producer, visual artist, and all-around nice guy Jerome Potter, a.k.a Jerome LOL. If the world is our oyster, then the Internet is Jerome’s cosmos. With more WWW loving than any amount of ‘Likes’ could measure, cyber culture is part of Jerome’s everyday life, from sporting AOL varsity jackets and Twitter chains to rocking multimedia dance parties. BeatRoute previously caught the Cali native headlining Esc, Ctrl, Shift, a new media dance-off at Fortune Sound Club, and chatted about his record label Body High, Rihanna allegedly ripping him off and ex-collaboration with Vancouver transplant Markus Garcia on Internet-based electronic duo LOL Boys.
“LOL Boys started when I was in college via message board and blossomed into something that became real life. Me and Markus were just fans of each other’s tastes and initially started producing online but really grew from there,” says Jerome. “Since it was not based on real life friendship, it was an experiment to see what we could do with music born on the Internet via an audience from the Internet.”
After four years of channelling buzzworthy bangers from their LCD monitors to global dancefloors, LOL Boys released their jazz-influenced dance EP Changes on L.A. label Friends of Friends last year and announced an indefinite hiatus.
“It was always difficult for us being bicoastal and based on the Internet. I think with producing the Changes EP and releasing the record on vinyl, it was the climax of that project, and we felt like we reached a goal in where we wanted to go.”
Since then, Jerome has continued where the LOL Boys left off, as a greater whole rather than just half. Having maintained his signature Internet-fuelled aesthetic, he’s also been exploring uncharted spectrums in dance music alongside fellow Los Angeles based producer Samo Sound Boy, co-founding their Body High record label.
“We were sick of labels just spawning from blogs and how people weren’t taking it seriously like how it used to be. So me and Sam (Samo Sound Boy) wanted to respond with an outlet that released quality American dance music, something club-driven that you wouldn’t necessarily show your mom,” exclaims Jerome. And so they did. In just over a year, the fledging imprint has delivered more than 10 releases from house legend Todd Edwards to Jersey club kingpin DJ Sliink, crisscrossing genres while focusing on raw body-moving sounds.
Away from the decks, Jerome’s appeal to cyber culture is exhibited through his unique aesthetics surrounding web 1.0 visuals. Creating music videos for the likes of the LOL Boys, Crookers and Marble Players, his production might initially come across as random GIFs and ‘90s imagery regurgitated from janky 16-bit graphic programs, but they cohesively play tribute to the Internet’s earlier days.
“Some people may think it looks shitty, but there’s a certain type of beauty on an aesthetic level that’s visually pleasing, maybe because it’s nostalgic but it still makes sense in a modern context,” says the artist. Jerome’s work has received nods from pop culture icons like Rihanna and Skrillex to ‘90s revival artists in the seapunk sub culture. Consequently, last year Rihanna performed her single “Diamonds” on Saturday Night Live backed by animated visuals based on Jerome’s style, which infuriated the online artistic community. “It’s cool that people took note of the correlation. While I don’t think it’s necessarily a ripoff of my stuff, it’s definitely borrowing from this whole scene,” he says. “I don’t want to sound whiny or preachy, but at the same time, what if it wasn’t Rihanna? What if it was Grimes that did that? Would it be cool then? Would there be any controversy?”
Whether it’s Rihanna or the online community, Jerome LOL is a viral force to be reckoned with, and there’s no question his work is influencing creative outlets reflecting contemporary new age culture. Keep your eyes peeled on the artist, as he’s about to blow up faster than your speediest CPUs.
Jerome LOL headlines Fortune Sound Club alongside Kaytranada and Groundislava in Vancouver on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013.
By Thomas Bray