When Joe Sobolewski takes the stage as King Joe, there’s a sublime energy in the air that’s almost indescribable. Intending to deliver a unique experience with each set he plays, the Philly producer guides the crowd down a powerful journey through darkness and light. Like a shaman directing you through a spiritual awakening, King Joe uses sonic frequencies and deep bass not only to blast you into the void but to have you come out with a new profound perspective.
Inspired by all things extraterrestrial and harnessing a deep love for wubs, King Joe has transcended bass music and created a sound entirely his own. After dropping his debut EP titled Bike Ridding in mid-April, the Philly producer has been busy touring the U.S. spreading positive vibes and dropping infectious bass.
The Daily Frequency caught up with King Joe between shows to discuss aliens, tour life, and much more!
Read the full interview below!
Let’s start from the beginning. How did you get into music production, and what is it about bass music that made you say, “this is what I need to make”?
My friends, really, if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am today as both a person and an Artist. I started off by learning from my homies, Jesse and Tawanda, who both are dope artists themselves. After seeing the way they mix and how they work on Ableton, I really just started to find my own flow and sound that fits me. I saw Prophet back in 2017, and after going through the experience with the visuals and the sounds he played, it really helped open a picture in my mind of what I wanted the King Joe project to be like.
Do you have a specific routine once you hit the studio, or does it vary each day?
I ALWAYS meditate before a studio session. When I do meditation, it really puts me in a mindset where I can focus and really do my best work. My workflow when I’m in the studio varies though, some days, I can knock out a track in 8-10 hours, and some days I will spend 8-10 hours on the intro. I always try to get better every time I am in the studio, and each time I am in there, I wanna create something that sends a message. I also LOVE to move my studio down to my grandpa’s beach house on the weekends, I always feel like I have the best mindset there and the least amount of distractions, and I have made some of my best tracks down there. I’ve learned that getting comfortable is the best way to create music.
You say your musical inspiration comes from extraterrestrial origins. Do you believe in the power of muses or tapping into certain frequencies other than the self while you’re in the studio?
Absolutely! I have had some experiences that gave me a true love for Aliens, and I believe that when I’m in the studio and working on sections in songs, I can look back on the experiences that I have had and what I could hear and make the sounds sound exactly how I want too. People love to ask me about Aliens, and I always tell them to be loving and kind, and eventually, you will be able to feel good vibrations from them<3
Philadelphia is such a unique and artistic city. Do you feel your hometown has played a role in the development of your sound?
Philadelphia is a cool place to visit, but when you live here, grow up here, be around here your whole life…you see some really dark shit around the city. I definitely use the experiences I have had living here to play a role in the sounds I use. I have so much unreleased music that really dives into dark places and use a bunch of dark different bass lines/synths that can open a picture in your head of what the song is about. I plan on moving out of here very soon and relocating to Denver or down to south Florida with some homies, and it will be a much-needed change in scenery.
You came out of the pandemic swinging, playing a bunch of shows all over the country with more to come. How does it feel to be back on stage?
It has been indescribable. Before the pandemic, I wasn’t getting many gigs at all, but when I finally got comfortable with the tracks, I was making and producing more of my own music, it really made a difference in where I have been playing. I love being with everyone again at live music events and seeing people happy. It’s one of the best feelings looking out in the crowd seeing people dancing with one another and spreading love and good vibes again.
What has been your favorite show of the year so far? Any crazy road stories?
I played a festival in Virginia called Wonky Wonderland, and it was filled with dope artists and a great crowd. I met the homie Rylo there, who is one of my close friends now, and we have been playing a bunch of stuff and plan to go b2b in a couple different places sometime soon. The craziest part of that festival was the winds, the tent almost snapped the night we arrived and got all set up, and it was 4 am. Me and the homies were running around trying to make sure we didn’t freeze our asses off that night.
You tend to take the crowd on a journey with your live shows. How important is it to provide an experience rather than just playing “party music.”
The vision in my sets is to really take people through my mind and my feelings and things I have felt in my life in the past, and what I feel in the present at the moment. I have a whole routine before I perform. When I play a set, I give myself 2-3 hours to be by myself to really focus my energy on all the things going on in my life. I usually have 2 different setlists made with about 40-50 songs each on them, and whatever energy I am feeling, I go off that setlist. My style is very different, the goal for me is to make the audience feel and think about the darkness in life and in the world, and throughout the set, I will always add some acapellas in there to remind you that life isn’t always dark and it’s important to smile and love. I have also added visuals done by the homie Ashes from Florida for my sets now. You will really be able to see the light and the dark throughout the whole set through that visual experience and see more of a story.
I really dig your Bike Riding EP that just dropped in April! What was the inspiration behind the record?
This project has been in the making since 2019. Each song on that EP is named after places and things that I would see and do at my beach house. I always would ride my bike to the beach, see the crows on Central ave, and hammock in the shadows right under the boardwalk by the water. It was really a beautiful thing putting that project together. Central ave is my favorite track on that EP, and the EP as a whole holds a special place in my heart.
Not only do you perform as King Joe, but your also one-half of the group King & Queen Sounds with Yenny Music. How did that come about, and what can fans expect from the project?
Ahhhhh yes! Yenny music… She is truly one of the most talented, loving, beautiful, and genuine humans and artists that I know. She’s my best friend, and the goal for that project is to expand out of both of our comfort zones and to put on all different types of sets’ that are full of good vibes. Fun fact about King Joe … I LOVE DRUM AND BASS. This project is going to have a lot of different vibes that both Yenny and I don’t usually get to play during our regular sets. This project is going to be very uplifting and FUN. We’ve released 2 different mixes on our SoundCloud page, with a 3rd one coming out later this year. We have both been working on tracks and getting ideas ready for our first big release (Album?) (;
The both of us have had a ton of bookings this summer and have a lot of events coming up in the most recent months, so this project will be like a roller coaster climbing to the top before the drop, and we are so excited to share our music and love with everyone who supports us.
What are two albums in any genre that you can’t live without?
Swimming and Faces by Mac Miller. I grew up on Mac. I felt like I even knew him and could relate to him in the songs that he would write. His lyrics tell a story, and throughout his career, you could see him transition into deeper and darker stuff in his mind. I’ll never forget the day he passed away. I could go on and on about it. I hope that we can learn from what happened to him to help others with mental health issues and getting help through therapy.
Lastly, if you could accomplish one thing with your music, what would it be?
I have some really big dreams and goals with my project. I have a bunch of artists I wanna play shows with and collab on tracks with. But at the end of the day, the main goal for me is to play each set the best that I can and inspire people to chase their dreams. I want people to come out of my sets and feel relieved from the darkness and try to channel the energy towards their goals…. OH, and if I could play at the mothership in Hampton, VA one day, that would be a dream come true (: