At a young age of 19, Avstin James has gained a big success with his Rap/Hip-Hop, EDM mashups. He discusses his influences, the Vancouver music scene and what he has in store for 2017.
Q: How old are you?
A: 19 years old
Q: Where were you born/currently live?
A: Born and raised in North Vancouver!
Q: When did you start taking producing seriously?
A: I started taking producing seriously when my mashup “Bound Me 2 Church (Kanye West X Nomero)” hit 1 Million plays on Soundcloud in 2015. This really opened my eyes as to what I could do with mashups, and now, hopefully, my original pieces.
Q: What has been your most popular mashup?
A: Definitely “Backseat XE3 (Kendrick Lamar X Whethan)” which takes an Iconic rap track from Kendrick and mashes up with a Future-Bass banger from Whethan. The song has gained a ton of popularity on Soundcloud with over 4 Million plays as a “re-upload” by a fan, and over 2 Million views on Youtube.
Q: For people who don’t know can you explain what exactly mashup means?
A: Basically a mashup takes the Acapella from one song (Lyrics) and is layered over another song’s Instrumental (The Music). The manipulating of the effects, loops, tempo etc. comes from the “Mashups Artist” to make a track that has mixed two tracks into one.
Q: You create mashups with Rap/Hip-Hop and EDM tracks -what makes your mashups unique?
A: I take my two favourite genres, Rap/Hip-Hop and EDM. Rap is feel good music that you can party to with all your friends. EDM is a culture and the type of music that makes you get up and dance. The two put together makes for a mighty fun time.
Q: Have you considered creating your own vocals on your beats?
A: In terms of singing, I really don’t have a good voice. I am currently working with vocalists on some of my original pieces. It’s a goal of mine to really master using voices as an instrument in my songs.
Q: Who are your top musical influencers?
A: Post Malone, Chance The Rapper, J. Cole, Flume, Louis The Child, Flosstradamus, and Troyboi.9.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Vancouver music scene?
A: I think Vancouver’s music scene is constantly growing and I’m really happy to see that. Lately, there has been some crazy work to come out of this city. I’m really excited and can’t wait for the future of music in this city. Gotta love Vancouver.
Q: What has been some of your most memorable performances?
A: The first live performance I did in the United States at Indiana University’s Sigma Alpha Epsilon (Fraternity). I was brought down to open for Travis Porter and couldn’t believe when I saw 1,500+ kids going wild to my music. To date, this has been the best experience for me as an artist in playing live music. I’ve been back to that University for some more shows and I love it there. A really great school with a huge appreciation for music.
Q: What is your process when creating a track?
A: The process has changed a lot. At the start, it was a ton of trial and error with songs that I think would work. Now, it has become more that when I hear a song with a dope instrumental portion that I vibe with, I start to rap lyrics of a popular rap song in my head. Then I take the two on my program, Mixxx, and go to work. All my songs are recorded in live time. It usually takes around 100 recordings until I get the full track I’m looking for. I love the feeling when you finally get the track right.
Q: Do you have any new projects coming up for 2017?
A: 2017 is a year of original music, live shows, and hopefully a ton of fun. I really want to take my music to the next level this year and grow as an artist. Lots of learning, and a lot to look forward to.
Q: Do you have anything else you want your viewers to know about you?
A: I want to thank everyone who’s been supporting me on this journey and I can’t wait for what the future has to offer. Much love to the AJ fam. Check me out on social media: @avstinjames