Checking In: DJ Chicken George Rolled Out Coconut Air Fresheners
“Rather than let [it] get the best of me I shifted to hyper creative mode”
By Raoul Hernandez,
10:10AM, Wed. Aug. 26, 2020
Jazztronic MCs Third Root dropped Passion of the Poets 24 hours before this year’s summer solstice, its lithe hip-hop matte proving the coolant to humid raps aided by Black Pumas, Grupo Fantasma, Bavu Blakes, Kam Franklin, and Mad One. “The Last Triumvirate” always rolls a stacked posse. Ditto their DJ, Henry Jeffrey, a one-man ATX soundtrack in any space.
Austin Chronicle: At what point did C-19 shut down operations for you, and what went down with the ship, so to speak, both personally & professionally?
DJCG: COVID-19 shut down operations for me at the beginning of SXSW and like many others, unfortunately I lost a considerable amount of work. Rather than let the situation get the best of me, I quickly shifted to hyper creative production mode. I immediately began working on and producing new merch for my personal brand and my band Third Root.
We released our fourth album, Passion of the Poets, on June 19 along with two different vinyl LP offerings, T-shirts, embroidered hats, and CDs. For my brand, I rolled out new and fun DJCG merch items including a cool interactive enamel pin, hemp Tote bags, and custom CG Coconut Air Fresheners.
AC: As a global culture, people employ music for every purpose imaginable, obviously spanning religion to entertainment and everything in between. What happens to communities like ours when people can no longer access it in person?
DJCG: When people can no longer access entertainment in person, it forces artists to restructure how we perform our art. For many of us, it is a time of reinvention, innovation, and acquiring and developing new skills. Social media became even more essential in helping us find creative ways to continue to reach and engage with our fans, like hosting livestream shows or facilitating panels and round table discussions.
AC: Everyone’s had to shift or drastically alter their work situation. What does that look like for you?
DJCG: I went from playing shows and performing regularly to none at all, so I had a lot of time to revamp and refocus. Outside of music and merch, I’ve been able to dedicate more time into honing my video creation and editing skills. I’ve had the gear and software for some time, but I never could find enough time to put it all to use.
It's been really nice to dig into all of this again and I’m learning more and more each day.
AC: What’s your soundtrack for the apocalypse and what role does music play for you as a fan and scholar of it in times of hardship?
DJCG: During this time of action, I’m listening to lots of new protest music like Third Root and Run the Jewels, as well as revisiting classics such as Gil Scott-Heron and The Last Poets. For me, this music has always served as a vital space for reflection, information, and documentation, while also providing the inspiration we need to make the healing process a bit more bearable.
Check out the entire Checking In series.