GET TO KNOW: Rjhoff
After breaking through with his highly-impactful debut single 'Driving' back in 2020, emerging artist Rjhoff has made his glittering return with the euphoric new effort 'Love For The Summer'.
Channelling more of that warm and vibrant pop-rock direction he is known for, 'Love For The Summer' makes for a wonderfully fun listen. With its rich and soaring energy, killer hooks, and catchy vocals layered throughout, this is one you won't forget in a hurry.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and influences over the years.
What was the first band or artist you fell in love with?
Typical guitar player bro answers like Green Day and John Mayer, but I think the MP3 player my older brother gave me with like 25 songs had the biggest impact on my life. It’s like 2005, I’m eight years old and have no idea how to load new songs on this old Toshiba MP3 player with maybe 1GB of storage. I’m listening to Punk Rock Princess by Something Corporate, Miss Jackson by OutKast, Toxicity by System of a Down. Oh, and there was this incredible Sean Kingston remix of Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. Those are like my first memories just being lost in music. And I really believe those specific songs probably have had more of an impact on me than any single artist ever did.
Did you ever form a band when you were younger and if so, what did they sound like?
I tried and failed to form many bands, one called static life, it makes me smile to look back on all of it. I was really into bands like Walk the Moon, The 1975, Cage the Elephant, a drummer buddy introduced me to the music of Jack White and the Arctic Monkeys. We had some cool moments at local festivals and venues around St. Louis. Playing shows for my friends and hearing people sing my songs with me at 17 helped me discover a high that I don’t think I’ll ever stop chasing. I was definitely a tyrant singer-songwriter type *laughs*. I came to realize how much I cared about creative control and I kind of ended that experience realizing, “ok, next time I do this I should just be a solo artist and go with it”.
What has been your primary inspiration in writing music?
I previously mentioned the rush of singing songs with others can be so addicting, it makes you go to extreme ends of sacrifice just to get that feeling back. Recently, moving to LA and working for other artists as a guitarist and engineer/producer, my songwriting and production has become a confession for me to sort through the things I’m going through. A lot of growing pains that come with turning 25, experiencing a breakup, my first couple rjhoff songs were really for me to get through some negative emotions I was dealing with if anything. I still do this but I’m in a better place now where my music can be both down and up. Right now I’m kind of on a kick where I feel like it’s easy to write emotional sad songs, but writing super happy songs that grip you the same way a sad song can make you cry? That’s the feeling I’m after.
What is a song you wish you had written yourself?
I instinctively start racing my mind with all kinds of lofty music snob choices like Velvet Underground or some Prince classics. “Backstabbers” by The O’ Jays deserves recognition. But I’m really still just appreciating “Stay” by the Kid Laroi feat. Justin Bieber. I remember driving around LA just smoking in my car on like a Thursday night after a day of work. 9pm hits and Spotify recommends this new song. At that moment, first hearing it I was floored. The way the synth part and the vocal writing work together. The lyrics directly related to what I was feeling in my romantic life at the time. That’s what I love about pop music, songs that everyone can understand and bond over that are both simple, but incredibly genius at the same time.
If there was any moment in your career you could relive, what would it be?
A lot of incredible moments touring as a guitarist playing for artists I love come to mind. But if I’m being honest, my favorite musical memory will probably always be my band's junior year of high school. We had a bunch of people packed into a venue called Cicero’s, which has been closed for 5 years now. That was the first night I really experienced the rush of sharing my music with a room of excited people. It was sweaty, messy, and euphoric. As I’ve been in the industry longer, I’ve noticed that the same rush as the first time is harder to come by. That feeling when you’re 17 and you’ve been counting the days for months for the night of the gig and everyone’s just excited to be there.
Which artist would you most love to share a stage with?
There are definitely a bunch that come to mind. I can’t honestly say there’s one person I’ve thought about in particular. Both are not alive, but Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix stick out. I believe that the creation of rock n roll and guitar music, and Western pop music as a whole, should be credited especially to black American artists like Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Hendrix, Big Mama Thornton, back as far as Robert Johnson, and so on. Chuck Berry holds a special place for me, growing up going to shows and playing occasionally at his club called the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, where he performed consistently until his death.
And is there an artist you would love to collaborate with as well?
Right now that would be SZA.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I’d love to continue working with other artists as a producer, music director, and guitarist, but right now I see myself focusing on writing and touring my own music full time in this next chapter. As I develop my sound and genre more as an artist, I think I’ll always have that desire to keep a varied portfolio of musicians in different genres that I’m working on behind the scenes. I love the way working with other artists inspires me; it informs and feeds my own work as an artist and songwriter.
Rjhoff's new single 'Love For The Summer' is available to stream now. Check it out below.