By Morgan James

Performance artist, Razor J, wows with impressive musical talents that span several instruments and genres of music. I first met musician, Juan Espino aka Razor J, almost 2 years ago when he played for an excited crowd at the CV Open Mic Competition. Since then, I have watched him continue to gain a fan base playing shows from The Hood, Plan B, and Schmidy’s eventually adding several band members, and musical award nominations along the way. I sat down with Juan to get the latest on his exciting career.

Morgan James: So what’s going on with the band?

Razor:  “I play today, most often with my band, The Blades, backing me, which currently consists of Tomas Granillo and Louis Rabago, with other musicians sometimes performing with me. Occasionally I’ll perform solo to tracks, but I prefer playing with my band. Everyone in my band has education at the college level in jazz performance and we’ll be going on tour with a Jazz big band next week where we will record at Oceanway Studios.”

MJ: Are you still performing as a DJ?

Razor: “I used to DJ more often, not too much anymore, but I will be DJing at Rue 21 from the afternoon to the evening in Indio on April 16th during Coachellafest.”

MJ: How about solo work? I have heard you rap to self-produced tracks and use technology in a way that sets you apart from other artists.

Razor: “I perform hip-hop but a lot of other influences come into play, like rock, electronica, and jazz. When I DJ, like when I perform hip-hop, I use music technology to augment my performance, I have a full midi and OSC setup I use that includes foot controllers, pad controllers, and motion trackers. I use technology to get textures that aren’t possible with normal rock instruments but still believe in traditional musicianship and virtuosic performance.”

MJ: How about your latest award nomination?

Razor: “I was nominated for best guitarist in the valley in the CV Music Awards which was really cool. And my band and I will be performing at the Hard Rock Hotel on May 7th for the CV Music Showcase finals which is really exciting.”

MJ: So we can see you DJ at Rue on April 16th and watch your band perform at the Hard Rock on May 7th. Any other gigs on the horizon where we can catch you?

Razor: “I don’t have any (other) gigs in the immediate future because of the tour we’re going on (with the Jazz big band) and because I’ve been taking time to write a lot of new material. I’m in the planning/writing stage of a new EP, but I hope to book some gigs for later this month soon.”

Good luck to you on your nomination for “Best Guitarist” at the CV Music Awards. Well deserved. Writer’s recommendation: If anyone out there has not seen Razor J perform, make sure to keep your ears peeled for this multi-talented musician. He puts on a great show!