JB, also known as jaydotb, is a designer, entrepreneur, and much more. He’s currently working in operations and development for Lyrical Lemonade. If you’ve come across a concert flyer from them, JB probably designed it. JB and I dive into his childhood, music, SXSW, and so much more.
Ben: To start, can you give readers a brief introduction of yourself?
jaydotb: My name is JB, jaydot, or jaydotb (no one calls me that in real life). I’m 26 and I run operations and development at Lyrical Lemonade. When I was 5 months old I was adopted from South Korea. I grew up in a small city called Kalamazoo, MI, right between Chicago and Detroit. I just recently moved to Chicago full time. When I was a kid I was super into skateboarding, it was everything to me. I found a lot of great music watching skate videos. That’s definitely what made me passionate about music.
Ben: How did you get into design? Was it designing music style stuff from the beginning?
jaydotb: Nah not necessarily...but design and creative problem solving always came naturally. I was super into LEGO’s as a kid. I was meticulous as hell laying out those science fair poster board things. I was in journalism all throughout high school and designed our school paper and all our student section merch. Just shit like that I always naturally gravitated towards. I was also really digging into the streetwear scene at the time, and wanted to make clothes really really bad. I think it was my sophomore year of high school I took like an intro to photoshop class. That’s when I realized like damn, there’s classes for this. There’s jobs for this. There’s a need for this type of shit. And that’s when I started taking it seriously.
Ben: Seems like it was really organic! Especially combining that with your passion for music early on. How did you get into doing music design work?
jaydotb: Yeah it definitely was. Around the same time I was really getting into streetwear I was also consuming everything I could about the rap industry. I’m telling you, it all starts with skating though. Skate brands turned into streetwear brands, streetwear aesthetic got picked up by the high fashion designers. That grimy shit, the VHS filters to look like a DX camera, vans, thrasher, it’s all rooted in skateboarding. So skating led me to all this cool shit. When I graduated HS I started fucking around with managing some local talent. I was just their renaissance man. No one had heard of them, so I’d set up shows where they were headlining to get them some perceived buzz. I would make all the flyers for these shows and all their single and project covers. Eventually I started trying to book bigger shows, and I ended up booking Maxo for his first ever Michigan show. I think 60 people came. But his manager Toby fucked w the flyer I made for it and we started working a lot. Toby threw me a lot of lobs and fucked w me even when he knew there was better talent out there. I owe a lot of my early progress to him.
Ben: I can definitely see how skating and music + culture align in the ways you said. That's really dope how you started working with local guys, I've been doing the same. Sometimes it takes one person to believe in you to take things to the next level. What was next for you after working with the local talent and booking bigger shows?
jaydotb: Yeah forreal man. Everything I’ve ever succeeded in can be attributed to networking.
Once Maxos team started fucking with me they had me on retainer for a while but then I actually went to jail for like 5 months. Thru connections I made from working with Maxo I met this dude who was doing SXSW shows. Shortly before I went in we had talked about doing one together, and when I got out he was ready. That’s when I really started going crazy with the events. SXSW introduced me to a ton of people and really helped me learn how to manage multi-day events and learn to appreciate properly curated ones.
Ben: Networking is super important and people fail to realize that sometimes.. SXSW seems like a really dope place to be especially for the music industry! How did you connect with the guys at Lyrical Lemonade?
jaydotb: Yeah SXSW was so big for me. You just know everyone’s gonna be there, and how the layout of the festival is it’s super organic and interactive. It’s lost some merit over the years but I would strongly suggest anyone who wants to work in the music industry to attend and use it to the fullest.
That’s how I met cole and all the lyrical guys. We did a show together at SXSW, and I continued to work with Lyrical doing show flyers and other graphics stuff. We did SXSW again this past year on a larger scale and then went on to produce Summer Smash with SPKRBX in August. It’s been a really great past year working with Cole and lyrical team. They’ve all been really welcoming and empower me to do a lot of things beyond design, some of which I feel is my best work up to this point.
Ben: That's amazing dude! I'm definitely trying to get out to SXSW this year. It seems like you're really big on meeting people organically and that shit is so important. It leads to more impactful relationships.. too many people are just trying to make connections to make them nowadays. Can you touch on what you do for Lyrical Lemonade?
jaydotb: Yeah super big. I used to be so focused on the internet until I started realizing that’ll only get you so far. you really gotta be out here when you’re in your real “grunt phase,” that’s what I like to call it. Everyone has a chapter in their journey where life forces them to work hard as hell for way less than what they’re worth. But how you navigate thru that phase is so crucial. When you can’t get the monetary value for your work, you gotta get some value out of these relationships. It’s so key. But that’s a whole nother subject. But yeah. I just recently was named Head of Operations at Lyrical. It’s a whole new set of responsibilities but I think it’ll give me a chance to maximize all my skill sets. I’ll still head the design dept too, and I’m also a partner in the Summer Smash Festival that we produce with our homies at SPRKBX.
Ben: What other passions do you have? I know you touched on a few but if there's anything else you're into I'd love to hear about it!
jaydotb: Even though I’m gonna probably sound like a huge cornball, I’ll always have a passion for sneakers. Sneaker and streetwear culture definitely drew me in early on and I think no matter how people try to change the perception of that niche, people are still always gonna care about what’s on their feet, and there will always be levels to that game. You can’t tell me sneaker culture isn’t still relevant today. Look at what Virgil’s doing, everything Kanye has done with Adidas, every rap artist wanting a sneaker deal, rocky with Under Armour, the Travis Scott stuff that has been going crazy. These guys are all front runners of our culture and are pushing sneakers harder than ever.
Ben: What advice would you give to someone following their passion?
jaydotb: Honestly, as cliche as it is, a strong work ethic and desire to get better is the number one thing that’ll carry you far in this industry. That advice is only cliche because it's true, and it is advice that’s given often but not often applied. Part of it is being honest with yourself. If you wake up tomorrow, take my advice and think that it means go take on a million new projects, that’s not how it’s supposed to translate. Know what you can handle and know what’s going to drive you. Stay consistent with those things and don’t leave out any details in your execution. Present a product you would put your name on, that you’re proud of. If you do that, you’ve put everything on the table.