In The Mix: Flapjaques

It’s been a hot minute since I got to chat with one of my favorite LoFi artists, Flapjaques. A Chicago-based music maker, Flapjaques keeps it fresh and fun with every beat he creates. He was kind enough to make us another mix, and this one is a banger. We also had a small chat about what he has been up to!

Flashback to November of 2020 – that’s when you made the first Jam Hot Exclusive mix (that I couldn’t stop listening to.) It’s been a minute! How do you feel you’re sound has evolved since then?

Wow, can’t believe that was two years ago! Feels like just yesterday and you may be happy to know that whenever I find myself at an event or gig with some dead space to be filled, that mix will often make an appearance :). Since then, I feel my sound has evolved in so many different ways. I may phrase the quality aspect as it’s become more matured or practiced over time; that came mainly from a fundamental understanding of mixing/mastering over time and then taking the creative steps to use that base knowledge and decide what impacts I want different elements of a track to have. These days, I’d definitely say that I’ve become much more intentional and that you’re hearing things exactly as I want you to rather than in a way in which I feel I’m doing everything “correctly”. In terms of vibe and sounds, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have had the time and resources over the past two years to get my hands on some analog gear and it appears in almost all of my work as of late. I have to give a brief shout out to my main graphic designer and close friend Cody England for putting me onto the vintage Casios and Yamahas. I’ve definitely fallen down the rabbit hole since then! With that being said, I feel I’ve branched a bit away from being almost exclusively sample based and have moved into a lusher, synthier sound while doing original compositions more and more frequently. Recent tracks of mine like ‘bones’ and ‘desolatebeauty’ showcase this perfectly and are two that I’m incredibly proud of! This style has always sort of been what’s in my head and it’s just taken me time to learn and understand how to get that to your ears. I’ll definitely still be sampling for life, but you’ll probably hear me getting more and more synthy over time and maybe even branching into some chiller house and electronic at some point. 

Like most artists who love their craft, you seem to be creating new LoFi beats on a weekly basis. What does your creative process look like when you dive into a new project?

I certainly am! The weekly output has been great to me growth wise and a fun but enjoyable challenge that I aim to continue until I’m physically or mentally unable to, lol. In 2022 particularly, it’s been very collaboration based! I’ve found collaborations to be a great way to put myself out of my comfort zone and get into styles and cultures that I may not have otherwise ever explored. A great example is a smooth bossa nova groove titled ‘café solstice‘ that dropped earlier this year with Brazilian producer R U Steve. I had always been aware of that guitar style although it’s not one that comes naturally to me and pairing up with R U Steve on that occasion had allowed an opportunity for our styles and cultures to merge into something unique; I remember our pitch for that track had leaned heavily on the phrase “building a bridge from Chicago to São Paulo”. If there’s any advice I can offer to artists in the current streaming landscape, it’d be to collaborate with as many artists as you can! It creates incredible projects outside of what you normally may do and it’s fairly helpful in your algorithmic performance as well. 

I suppose I got on a bit of a tangent there, although my creative process has stayed more or less the same over the years. When creating a beat, I’ll typically start with a melody and build everything else around it. On rare occasions, I may start off with a drum pattern or particular vocal sample that I’d like to use however I tend to find it easier to fit into the swing I feel from the core melody. The only new aspect since we last spoke is that I’ll sometimes have days that are more like sessions where I’m writing melodies to sample later or creating patches and arps for that same reason. I’ll also have some days which I’ve termed “DAWless” in which I won’t open the computer and will focus exclusively on gear without recording much of anything. Days like these help take the pressure off and keep things feeling fun and less business-y. They also often lead to me learning new little tricks I may otherwise not have come across in my more streamlined producing sessions! 

Tell us a little bit about what we can expect to hear in this mini mix. 

Doing an hour long lofi mix of all originals can be challenging although I’m extremely happy that you get a little taste of everything! Towards the earlier half of the mix, you’ll probably recognize some classics of mine that appeared back in my first Jamhot mix. While not all, a lot of tracks from that era of Flap have remained staples in various mixes and gigs. Towards the middle, you’ll start to get a taste of some of this years releases as well as a few unreleased projects (some of which may or may not be coming soon, I haven’t decided on them all). Toward the end, the mix slows down a bit and you’ll get a taste of some of the more ambient, synthy tracks I mentioned earlier. I didn’t really plan on things shaking out this way but it turns out nice that you get a nice, almost linear progression. 

How are you spending the rest of 2022?

As you may guess, I’ll definitely be cooking up new stuff from today to December 31st and well after that! Apart from music, a lot of this year has and will continue to be pretty heavily focused on my personal life and self improvement. I think a decline in health and social life was common for many as a result of the pandemic and as a more introverted person I think I had taken restrictions as a license of sorts to reaffirm my preference to be at home almost all the time and because of that I feel it’s taken me a bit longer than most to get back into the swing of things. Thankfully, I’ve been back at the gym this year, eating healthy home cooked meals, and generally just feeling healthier, happier, and more confident 🙂 

Flapjaques is wise beyond his years, and it’s been such a joy to get to know him and his music. If you know me, you know I’m a fan of music I can listen to in multiple settings. Whether I’m working and trying to zone in on a project, or it’s the end of a long day, and I’m trying to zone out from it all, I know I can do that with the sounds of Flapjaques.

To stay up to date with Flapjaques, follow along on all streaming platforms here.

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