FUZZ Spotlight: James Parker
James from Massachusetts is fresh off the release of his first EP as well as the buzz he's getting around it. He stops by to give us the rundown of how he came to be who is today and how he's handling the recent attention:
"...the inspiration i got to start a serious career in music came from seeing [my uncle] so happy in his music career."
F: Thanks for joining us James! Let’s get into it. What is your earliest memory of music having an impact on you?
J: My earliest memory of music impacting me was probably when my uncle would sing for me. he was a part of a big time band and still is a part of it and sometimes he would play for us. his genre was a lot different then what I make but it would still get me really interested in performing and making music really. I learned guitar because of him but i think over time the inspiration i got to start a serious career in music came from seeing him so happy in his music career. F: Epic! Ya I can't imagine how cool that must have been, having someone to look up to like that who was literally doing that dam thing for a career. What was the first song you learned on guitar? & May I ask who your Uncle is?
J: My uncle is Chadwick Stokes who is the lead singer for Dispatch. The first song I learned was probably blackbird. it was really hard since it was my first song on guitar but it was a good one to start with because i kinda just had to work over the fact that fingerpicking can be incredibly hard and frustrating sometimes.
F: Ohh boy, ya that one's a doozy, but so great for getting that dexterity locked down! Nice. So between Blackbird and Dispatch, we've got quite the departure with your new EP (congrats on the success it's having btw!!). Where did you start to transition into the hip hop realm? Any records stick out as transformational for you?
"i remember making that beat and it gave me so such a vibe from a lot of sampling i had studied recently."
J: i think my transition to hip hop was honestly just getting into “The Chronic” by Dr. Dre and “1999” by joey badass. those are two of my favorite albums of all time and when i got them on vinyl i started trying to get into that genre immediately. i had messed around with trap music a bit before but after i started listening to those two masterpieces i was so locked into the elements of old school style hip hop. those albums probably had the biggest impact on my EP in terms of individual projects i take inspiration from. F: Ya 'The Chronic' tends to have that effect, haha. Very cool. Also very brave considering trap is ubiquitous in the music industry right now. I am definitely here for it though, You tapped into that era iconic era that seems to have been lost in today's charts. The analogue instrumental feel of the beats, the powerful lyrical flows. I actually got a whiff of that Styles P song, 'I get High' on your track' PAYMENT.' A song I've always had an affinity for, so kudos for tapping into that energy. Made me feel warm and cozy.
What's your production process look like? Are you recording any live instruments? How did you find your lyricists?
J: Yeah absolutely with the payment song tho. i remember making that beat and it gave me such a vibe from a lot of sampling i had studied recently. that was the song i think i got most hype from in terms of like how excited i was after i made the beat.
But with my process it’s really tough especially with the type of hip hop i make i just think a lot of the time with making more old school beats you can really just listen to a sample for hours and mess around with it only to never use it. That was honestly the thing that made the process of my EP so hard the whole thing ended up taking about around 6 months to finish mainly because of moments like those but those moments are the things i kinda live for with music those times when your just listening in really close for so long and you can start to dissect the different elements every time you listen to it whenever i’m trying to record live instruments though i usually get my buddy max who plays guitar and bass he didn’t play on the album at all but i’m planning on doing a lot more with him in the near future in regards to recording live instruments on tracks
F: Ya that's really the beauty of sampling. Being able to find gems that otherwise go under the radar. Only way to find them is hours of repeated listening. The songs came out great, so well done! It seems as though this EP really caught a nice attention wave, I think something all of us artists kinda strive for. Could you give us a taste of what it feels like to be on the receiving end of it? And how you're planning to handle it?
J: well it was scary at first. not really actually it was just a rollercoaster of emotions. i was insanely shocked and excited and then i was terrified thinking about what i have to do to maintain this attention. and now i’m at a point where i’m incredibly grateful that it happened i’m just trying not to stress out about what it’ll do to my character and how i go about my music career. i’m just tryna make music and if people listen to it that’s cool too. i am trying to have some more media presence tho just to make sure people who are my fans don’t lose interest in case i decide to take it slow with releasing music F: Yeah, that is quite the juggling act. Thanks for sharing that, i think those are all completely rational emotions that we don't often get a glimpse of. it seems like you've got a good handle on it though, so you'll do just fine. :) We're excited for what's ahead in your adventure!!