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Beats? Meet FLAPJAQUES!

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Beats? Meet FLAPJAQUES!

What first drew you into music?

I was always a long-time listener of electronic music but never really thought I was capable of doing music myself; I think Flume was my first introduction to the genre and I was hooked after hearing his Hyperparadise remix for the first time. I also grew up on the Grateful Dead and got super into the jam-band scene around my senior year of high school. Seeing bands like Phish and the Dead’s latest revival, Dead & Company, eventually led to me picking up guitar in college. I was too shy to even attempt joining or putting together a band and subsequently picked up the cheapest MPC I could find and started making my own backing tracks to play over. I quickly realized that I was far better at putting beats together than I was at playing, leading me to put the guitar down for a while and focus fully on producing. I think what really launched me into what I do today was when a friend showed me Louis the Child’s track ‘Weekend’. I became an instant fan and was awed to find out that not only were they just a few years older than me, but grew up only a couple towns over- close enough that I remember playing their high school in sports. At that moment, I think something snapped in my head that made me go “If they can do it, why can’t I?” and the rest is history. 

Your track “Melodreamatik” is absolutely amazing! How did you achieve such a great signature sound in such a short time? Also, what is your creative process like?

I think a lot of it’s been a matter of being true to myself and what’s in my heart, what my mind and myself have to offer the world. I’m flattered you feel I’ve crafted a unique sound in a short time, but it’s felt like forever to me! I guess all I could credit would be a deep desire to create and express myself and a dedication to doing so. I try to make a track a day. Some don’t get finished and some find themselves somewhere deep in my hard drive, never to see the light of day, but I think creating every day is immensely important in allowing yourself to experiment, learn new techniques, and refine the new things you’ve tried until you’re happy with them. My overall process is pretty relaxed and maybe a bit weird. I tend to mindlessly filter through my samples until one pop’s out to me or speaks to me in a way. Sometimes it’s a melody, sometimes it’s a certain drum hit, or sometimes it’s a chord or two; each track is always built around one specific sound though. After that point, I’ll continue to let it speak to me. I don’t really try to force it to do anything in particular or approach it with a specific rhythm in mind. It’s more of a mindless approach in which I’m letting the sample itself control how the overall track will shape out, telling me how it wants to be chopped, how it wants to hit, and the feeling it wants to convey. It’s weird focusing mainly on instrumentals because it takes away the ability vocalists have to more explicitly state their message, but I sort of like that my work’s open to interpretation and that you can assign your own meanings and feelings to each song. Often times I’ll be told that a beat I thought was sad made someone happy or something I thought was a great track to move to helps them sleep at night. I think there’s a lot of beauty in that. 

Going over your Soundcloud we can tell you love experimenting with new sounds. Can you tell us more about your studio setup and some of your favorite plugins/instruments? 

I have sort of a lot of things that I don’t really use or need at this point. I definitely went through a phase, as I feel most new artists do, where I felt like I always needed this controller or that plugin to take my sound to the next level and in reality, that’s not the case at all- for anybody. All I use at the moment is my MPC Studio (which I am and will always be in love with) and a variety of super basic filters that I’ve spent a lot of time learning in and out so that I can use them in unique ways that they perhaps weren’t intended to be used for. If people were to see my project files, they’d probably be surprised by how basic they appear at the surface. The complexities I try to incorporate are all very subtle in a way. 

Your music sounds very organic and authentic. Do you play any real-life instruments? 

I play guitar and piano, but only to an extent to which I can record and sample myself. If you handed me a guitar at a party, I wouldn’t play Wonderwall because I don’t know how to. I think what you’re describing is more the dedication and investment I spend towards curating an immense sample library of sounds from any and all genres. I’ll occasionally play onto a track myself, but I also think sampling in a manner that sounds organic and authentic is an art itself and is one I’ve put a lot of time into. 

What are your musical goals for the future?

It’s hard to describe any concrete goals I have because I feel opportunities can come in so many different ways. I try to keep my vision for the future fluid because I never can truly know what’s to come or when. I’d certainly like to do more collaborative projects because music’s generally been such a solo endeavor for me. Getting in the room with other artists, blending styles together, and creating something that’s a representation of us both is probably the thing I’ve come to enjoy most about what I do and has yielded some of my best work to date (although a lot of those projects have yet to be released). Overall, I think I just want to be heard and to make people feel something. How that’ll look down the line I can’t say for certain. 

What are your goals for the coming months? Any upcoming projects we can get excited about?

One of the great things about music for me is that there’s almost always something to look forward to. I have a handful of projects with artists I’ve met through Lüm, an app I’d consider the new Soundcloud and underground community of the future, that you can keep an eye out for in the coming months as well as a collaborative EP that should release sometime in December. I’m also working on developing a new live show, but I may share it as a mix as well- we’ll have to see! That’s just what I have planned though. I once watched a Keith Haring interview that had an immense impact on me in which he said “I think it’s more important to do a lot of different things and new images and things that were never made before than to do one thing and do it well. They come out fast, but it’s a fast world” and that’s kind of the mindset I’ve applied to making music. If anything, what you can get most excited about is that by keeping up with me you’ll never really know what to expect or when to expect it.

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