Today, Grammy Award-winning producer Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Solange, CeeLo) and Jon Brown announce their new group, Kill The Motherboard. The improbable collaboration came together when Jack Splash happened to hear an old demo tape of Jon Brown, a Milwaukee singer/songwriter who had set aside his music career and become a firefighter in order to provide for his family.
Premiered by Complex yesterday, the lead single “Waaaaay Gone” reveals the first glimpse of Kill The Motherboard’s debut album, The Legend of Picasso Jones (due out May 21, 2019). The sound of Kill The Motherboard, guided by Jack Splash’s expert production and Jon Brown’s poetic lyricism, defies genre in a way that only such an unlikely collaboration could.
“‘Waaaaay Gone’ is a recording that speaks to the pitfalls that come with searching for happiness in things that don’t feed your soul,” explains Jon Brown. “We often try to define ourselves by our accomplishments and our material successes. I’ve seen too many amazing people I’ve idolized growing up fall victim to this lie, and I wanted to write about it.”
Jack Splash chimes in, “The lyrics in this song are so human to me and remind me that everyone has their own demons they are fighting. It’s really the first song that made me want to do a whole group project with Jon because his poetry really got straight to my heart.”
The project turned into a full album: The Legend of Picasso Jones. As a firefighter and first responder in a city with one of the highest murder rates in the country, Jon Brown has witnessed firsthand how gun violence tears families and entire communities apart. The message of Kill The Motherboard is far from hopeless, however. Jon wants to heal his community—not just in the literal sense as a first responder, but also using his music as a platform to tell the story of his city. Jon and Jack agreed that their first album would reflect what Jon sees every day—the good and the bad captured in a love letter to the city and to the youth who struggle to survive and thrive at all costs.
Kill The Motherboard pulls stylistically from hip-hop, progressive R&B, new wave, and indie rock. “I don’t think that hip-hop in its purest form can really be categorized,” says Jack. “I mean if you look at Kendrick’s music, it would be hard to confine it into one genre. Same thing with OG’s like Outkast, Lauryn or GoodieMob and CeeLo. I think with Kill The Motherboard, we’re just carrying on that tradition of music without borders.” Florida rapper Eric Biddines contributes his stylistic flair as a co-star on five of the album’s tracks.
The group’s sound and name reflect the undeniable humanity that shines through Jon’s lyrics. When asked how they decided on Kill The Motherboard, Jack offers, “I think someone needs to spill a little somethin’ on technology every now and then to make sure that the music stays alive and human.”