Jase Harley on New Jersey, Hip-Hop, Fashion, & American Heathen

Jase Harley has been making music since he was a teenager and has recently become a true multi-media artist using fashion, photography, writing, vlogs, videos and many other mediums.  Jase recently sat down with The Pop Break to discuss his influences, creative process and what’s next for one of New Jersey’s most promising up-and-coming musicians.

You are pretty clear that you represent New Jersey.  Where were you raised? Where do you live now? How has the Garden State influenced your music and overall creative output?

I was raised in Burlington, and I’ve lived all over the state throughout my life. Now I’m in Jersey City and run a studio in Hoboken. But Jersey taught me how to hustle and network. It’s mandatory for survival here. It’s a very fast paced and mixed culture, plus the cost of living is stupid.

How does music enter your life and when do you become a fan?  At what point did you decide you wanted to become an artist and make your own music?

My uncle moved away and left a piano with my parents when I was 12. I always felt like there was something about the piano that I could unlock, so I took lessons and learned the mechanics. I got really good at the classical side but I always wanted to make beats. So when I was 15 I started tracking sounds and recorded my first record.

What is your creative process? Do you write first? Beats first? Home studio? Notebook vs. Phone vs. Off-The-Head?  How has it evolved over the years? 

All of the above. There’s no right or wrong formula for the creative process.

Your online presence is bigger than music and includes blogs, photography, fashion, advice for aspiring artists, etc.  Explain the “American Heathen” brand and why do you think it’s important to provide your fan base with content in multiple forms? 

American Heathen is how I see more conservative cultures looking at Americans. I’m representing how we’re perceived – for better or for worse. It’s grown into a lifestyle, doing what I love for a living, not abiding by any specific rules of how to be. Providing those experiences via different platforms just helps me reach all the people that could or would relate to me. That’s what this is all about, connecting – so I make sure I nourish those potential relationships.

Fashion is obviously a big part of the Jase Harley brand and you recently collaborated with Francios Duperval, who are some of your favorite designers/brands?

I like whatever looks dope. No name or brand has to be attached, it’s like diggin’ in the crates for vinyl samples. To me, style is more of an artwork, piecing things together – if it’s dope, it’s dope.

You currently have over 5,000 Instagram follower and only 9 posts.  That’s an incredible rate of efficiency. How did you build that kind of following with so little IG content?

I have 100s of posts but I archive a lot and switch them up. I like to keep my page fresh and interesting. But most of that traffic comes from my music. People hear Between the Lines on Pandora or Spotify and find me on Instagram.

What are you working on now and when can we expect to hear it?

The follow-up album is being completed as we speak. It will be an extension of what you heard on FREE PXRN, but also an evolution of my sound and the American Heathen project. You’ll be hearing a lot from me before the end of the year.


5 Rapid Fire Questions:

Five Designers/Brands you’d like to collaborate with:

My Team-

  1. Jay Troupe
  2. Ryan Metcalf
  3. Rose Hart
  4. Paulo Salud
  5. Eddie Grand

Check out the homies.

Four artists you’d like to have as guests on your next project:

  1. Ryuichi Sakamoto
  2. The ghost of Prince
  3. Neil Degrasse Tyson
  4. Paul McCartney

Three things aspiring artists should know about establishing an online presence:

  1. Be real
  2. Have fun
  3. Be smart

Two best live performers you’ve seen:

  1. The City Music Project
  2. City Rain

The first album you bought/downloaded/streamed on your own:

Jay-Z: The Blueprint

Look out for Jase’s next release and find out more at www.jaseharley.com

Angelo Gingerelli has been contributing to The Pop Break since 2015 and writing about pop culture since 2009. A Jersey shore native, Gingerelli is a writer, stand-up comic, hip-hop head, sneaker enthusiast, comic book fan, husband, father and supporter of the local arts scene. He likes debating the best rappers of all time, hates discussing why things were better in the “Good Ol’ Days” and loves beating The Pop Break staff at fantasy football. You can catch up with Angelo on Twitter/IG at @Mr5thRound, at his website www.FifthRoundMovement.com or interviewing rising stars in NJ’s Hip-Hop scene on “The A&R Podcast” (iTunes/SoundCloud).