Interview // Jansport J
Jansport J has been building a solid rep as one of the dopest producers in underground hip hop over the last couple of years. This progression has allowed the successful digital and physical release of his latest project ‘MoveMeants II: The Reprise’. We were blessed enough to be able to interview the man with the great beard. Groovement’s DJ A-UP provided the questions.
1. You’re latest project, ‘MoveMeans II: The Reprise’ has just dropped. It’s available on your Bandcamp page as a digital download or a CD. I ordered a copy of the CD because I love physical music but how have the sales figures compared between the two formats?
I couldn’t tell you how it’s doing digitally, because I haven’t gotten any numbers back yet from the distribution company. It’s early. What I can say is that the Physical Copy has been selling very well. In fact, better than any other project I’ve released. I’m very much a pessimist with an optimist’s work ethic, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the support for the CD. I think it’s a testament to people still wanting to have a personal connection with music they like. The mp3 is very impersonal to me. Is that a word? Probably not. The artwork has been a huge draw as well, since it’s been kind of an interactive thing with my fans. My boy Garrett from LA Lemon keeps pushing me to do a vinyl release. We’ll see how the CD’s continue to do first. It’s 100% independent on my end, so I’m very grateful.
2. You’re from the LA are, which is a hotbed of musical talent right now. How does it feel to be in and around the scene and does it help you as an artist?
It’s very humbling. The LA scene has been bubbling for years now, and it’s nice to have my name amongst these artists/brands. Especially since I’ve watched alot of careers grow from their first released projects. Watching my peers progress keeps me motivated to build my fanbase and brand. It’s a special resurgence going on in the area, and it’ll be an honor to look back at it one day and know that I contributed a small part to the sound of this era in Los Angeles.
3. Networking and working with artists in distant lands has become more and more common over the last few years. Are you a fan of this or do you prefer to work with others on a face-to-face basis?
It’s crucial to reach out of your comfort zone. Technology has allowed for the indie artist to truly become global, and you’d be ignorant not to embrace that. The fact that I’m able to do an interview with your site out of the UK, and for you to even know who I am is a prime example. Of course, it’s always nice to work with an artist in the flesh, but I feel like we may place too much emphasis on that at times. The reality of the industry now is that everybody is very mobile, and time is even more precious than it was before. You have to take advantage of the opportunities you have to become global and make the best music possible.
4. Are there any artists you plan to work with in the foreseeable future?
I’m up to work with any dope, professional artist. I really want to work with Ghostface Killah and DOOM in the future. Also another joint with Ab-Soul would be dope. We’ll see what happens.
5. Has hip hop always played a major role in your life and who were the artists who inspired you the most when growing up?
One of my earliest memories was watching the Salt N Pepa “Push It” video with my older sister, so Hip Hop has always played a major role in my life. I was a HUGE Timbaland fan. He’s the reason why I even started producing. Pac was my hero growing up. Outside of that, Dilla, Premier, Pete Rock and 9th Wonder were the producers I really studied to mold my own sound.
6. I’ve read, in the past, that you sample from MP3s alone. A lot of older heads feel that sampling should be done strictly from vinyl. What is your response to that particular attitude?
That’s why older heads are thought of as older heads. Closed-mindedness. If you look at an artist like Jay-Z, he doesn’t tell you how he use to do it in 96. He’s remained relevant throughout his career because he’s always adapted to the times while remaining himself. I sample mostly off of mp3’s simply because it’s an easier way for me to dig and get more material. I’ve sampled from vinyl as well. If there’s a joint that I needed that was only on vinyl, then give me that. Ultimately, none of that kinda stuff matters. In the end, is the beat dope? If not, it doesn’t matter if Eddie Kendricks himself was in your booth.
7. If you had to describe your sound in one sentence, what would it be?
I think the best way to describe my sound is the reflection of an average male Hip Hop fan born in 1986. I create the type of music I grew up on. I’ve done the boom bap, the soulful joints, the 808 heavy, the b-boy breaks, all of that. It’s only natural for me to project in my music what I like listening to myself.
8. Finally, what is your studio set-up and what is the one piece of equipment you could not be without?
I got the Sony VSL 29 processor with Pro Tools 17 and an Akai 3500. That’s all made up. I work off of FL Studio 9, soon to be an Akai Midi Keyboard, Virtual DJ and 2 small ass ears. And even with that setup, the ears will always be the most important equipment you can have.
Thank you for your time and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we see you on the Groovement site.