Spaceman Jones launches ‘Smoke Break’ video podcast from quarantine

LIGHT IT UP: “I’d been looking at how to expand what I do, because I’m always bugged by ideas,” says Davaion "Spaceman Jones" Bristol, left, with Cliff B. Worsham, aka MOTHER HOOD, of RBTS WIN. Launching his “Smoke Break” podcast “gave me another outlet to express myself, to connect with people.” Photo by Erick Lottary

It was fellow Asheville-based hip-hop artist Larry Williams, aka Po’folk, who suggested to Davaion “Spaceman Jones” Bristol that he offer his audience more than music. Williams moonlights as a comedian, and his versatility inspired Bristol to develop “Smoke Break” — one-minute videos offering philosophical insights and vaporous exhalations — on his personal Instagram account.

“I tried it one day, and it worked. People connected with it,” Bristol says. “Everything in those ‘Smoke Breaks’ was something I was immediately going through … something I was struggling with, trying to accomplish or needed to work on in my life.”

Though the episodes present like the chillest life coaching ever, “I’m talking to myself through the form of the video,” he says.

Bristol works as a cook — he previously parlayed another version of “Smoke Break” into a smoked-food pop-up — and is therefore stuck at home during quarantine. He’s also involved with the locally based hip-hop/wrestling series Urban Combat Wrestling, which hasn’t been able to host an event since March 7.

“I’d been looking at how to expand what I do, because I’m always bugged by ideas,” he says. Launching “Smoke Break” as a video podcast “gave me another outlet to express myself, to connect with people.”

This is Bristol’s first podcast, but he has radio experience, a similar form of broadcasting. Editing the video component of the “Smoke Break” shows has been a learning curve, he admits, “but it’s been making me want to do more with the medium.”

So far, the series — released on Mondays via Bristol’s YouTube channel — has included 40-50 minute chats with the likes of pro wrestler Dillon McQueen (they start with a breath meditation and discuss the therapeutic aspects of wrestling) and Asheville “village witch” Byron Ballard (they discuss tarot cards). The guests on the show “are all my friends,” Bristol says. “They’re people I’ve had great conversations with and people I’ve learned from.”

While Bristol plans to continue producing the podcast (he’s already locked in interviews for upcoming episodes) and hopes to grow the “Smoke Break” following, he’s also still hard at work creating music. For his recent birthday in late April, he released the track “$100 Blunts” through the Spaceman Jones and The Motherships’ Bandcamp page. The project is a collaboration with Cliff B. Worsham, aka MOTHER HOOD, of RBTS WIN.

“I want to continue to speak from my truest self,” Bristol says of his varied creative outlets. “I want to be precise with how I use my energy these days.”

Subscribe to the podcast at avl.mx/74k

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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