Things We Love: Picks from Knock Five's Josh Miller

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Life is good at the moment for Josh Miller. His monthly hip-hop music and art event, Knock Five, has been around now for 14 months, and his weekly hip-hop event, The Break, recently found a new, permanent home at Rehab Tavern. His visual art, marketing, videography and photography business is doing well enough to pay some bills. And it’s almost summer bike season. We caught up with Miller prior to this weekend’s Knock Five at The Summit to chat a little about his favorite things.

Bike rides at night on High Street

I have a road bike, a single-speed, and just being able to ride, man — summer nights, there’s nothing like it. Being on High Street is the perfect stop-and-go traffic, so I don’t feel like I’m going to die from a vehicle going 50 mph at me. It’s just nice to cruise down [High Street] — there’s people everywhere, lights on everywhere. You can really soak up the city and all that’s good about it while on two wheels. There’s no better feeling than being on a bike, especially at night.


Cardboard is the greatest creation in the world. It’s used for everything. I’ll use it for typography projects, video stuff, or whatever. I save all the cardboard boxes I have, cereal boxes and stuff. It’s my ideal material when making something, whether it’s lettering, a sculpture or a trophy.

Rehab Tavern

When I was trying to do our monthly events with the Knock Five stuff, it took me forever to find a venue because as soon as I said hip-hop it seemed like everybody had a bad taste in their mouth. Rehab doesn’t care what genre of music it is as long as you’re a good person; they don’t care if you’re popular or cool. If you’re a good person and you’re chill, they’re cool. That, for me, was very rare to find in this city for some reason, especially when it comes to hip-hop. If it wasn’t for Rehab and The Summit, I wouldn’t be doing events at all right now. Those are the only two places that are stand-up places that I’ve dealt with that will allow us to do what we want to do.


The community feel is perfect, this like small-knit, everybody-knows-each-other thing. It’s a great vibe, right by Downtown and close to the Short North. It’s a perfect place to raise a family. It’s close to art. I can ride my bike to meet clients. It’s all around the perfect place to live in Columbus for me. I was on a walk yesterday with my wife and son, and we were walking through and I was seeing all these people I knew and it was like, “This is it. This is why we’re here.”

Working for myself

I’ve worked horrible jobs. I’ve worked in warehouses, I’ve waited tables, I’ve sold cellphones, used cars, and I absolutely hated all of it. About two years ago I made the plunge and went to work for myself full-time. It’s an amazing feeling to bring in an income doing what you love to do and not dreading waking up in the morning. I’m actually paying some bills now so it’s good; I’m not waking up feeling like a failure.

Creating music

I’ve been playing drums since like sixth grade, and I was in band in high school. Come freshman or sophomore year in high school I met a guy in study hall who was into hip-hop and he was like, ‘We should start hanging out,’ and I found out he liked freestyle rap, so I tried it one time and was hooked. From then on, every Friday in high school we’d go to a friend’s house and freestyle from like 9 o’clock at night to 4 o’clock in the morning. Once I got into doing that I got into writing more. It’s like my therapy, the way I deal with life in general. It’s not a way to express myself; it’s a way for me to get out what’s on my mind. I got super bad ADD, so my mind’s always in a thousand places, but when I’m working on music, that’s when I got focus. If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself.

Josh Miller

Co-founder, Knock Five and The Break