Danvers Bred JFX Releases "The Papal States Tapes Vol. 2: Eden" & Exclusive Q&A
Danvers-bred artist JFX has been applying a lot of pressure of the last couple years. We were fortunate enough to recently talk with JFX about his recent album, biggest influences, creative process, hungry mentality and much more! Make sure to subscribe to his YouTube Channel and Run Up his latest album!
Boston Culture: Where did you from/ grow up?
JFX: Born and raised in Danvers, MA baby. It’s a small suburb just north of Boston; right next to Peabody and Salem and all that. It’s a pretty quiet town despite the bicycle gangs of middle schoolers everywhere you look. But I was very lucky for my upbringing. To be honest I don't have a whole lot to complain about. I went to a private catholic school my mother teaches at until I was 12 and then made the switch to public school. Wasn’t the easiest transition but it definitely wasn’t the worst.
Boston Culture: Talk to us about V1B3 and The Papal States Vol 1 + 2
JFX: The Papal States Tapes were all written since the lockdown and quarantining started in March with probably the last song on Volume 3 being finished in October-ish. I had a bunch of songs that didn’t really sound like they could be on the same project, so cutting them up into 3 EPs with different vibes to each one would be the best way to get them out there. V1B3 was the first song I wrote when we first got locked in. The idea for “The Papal States Tapes” came to me when a lot of my friends were using the term “pope”. Like let’s say your buddy asks you to pick him up from work. Saying “pope” is the equivalent for “you got a better chance of seeing the pope”. All kinds of variations of that were rising like “popey” and “the papacy” but eventually “the papal states” became a thing, so I figured I’d make a sort of mixtape series type of thing that pertained to the people around me and that people would kinda get. It was mostly a marketing thing to be honest. But it does have a nice ring to it right?
Boston Culture : What was the best advice you got early in your career?
JFX: I’ve been making music for a few years now but I’ve only been taking it seriously for a year or two now, so I’d say I’m still pretty early in my career. But I just spoke with a super talented local artist recently, Latrell James, (shoutout Latrell everyone should check him out) just asking for some advice on how to keep my motivation and inspiration in check. Just being around more things that make me happy and bring me back to my childhood. There’s something too genuine and innocent about a laughing, smiling kid, and that has helped me take a step back and realign.
Boston Culture : What do you dislike about the art world/music industry?
JFX: The music industry is a tough topic for sure. It can make you feel powerless at times when you sit there with music you just made that you love and think everyone else will love, too. But if you don’t have the fan base that could bring them money then you’re nothing to them. At least that’s how I see it. People who’ve “made it” and get signed with large contracts, Megan Thee Stallion, Taylor Swift just to name a few, also feel powerless with what’s actually theirs and how much control they have on their own careers and property. It can get pretty fuzzy and it shouldn’t. It’s not about the music there.
Boston Culture : Did the pandemic affect any plans you had?
JFX: Well I’m currently unemployed but I did have an office job lined up, but I’m not sure if I dodged a bullet on that one though. In terms of music, I was just starting to do more live shows and trying to get my name out around the city and state, but obviously we had to stop for a while. Although shoutout BarsOverBars media for still holding it down with livestream shows. They’re killing it. On the other hand, I don’t want to sound ignorant when I say this but being on lockdown and quarantine has been one of the best things to happen to my music, solely because of how much time I have to truly work on myself and craft. I’m lucky enough to have not been personally affected by it. My grandmother lives in the house with me so I’ve had to be extra precautious. I really haven’t left the house lol. Shoutout her though.
Boston Culture : Who are your biggest influences?
JFX: Mac Miller is my biggest influence when it comes to making music and living life with a smile. I first heard his music at a tough time in my life and helped me get out of that rut and be who I am today. Kota the friend, Alex Wiley, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Logic, Felly, Earthgang, and Blink-182 are some other artists that I learn a lot from in their flow, delivery, bars, style, what have you. My parents also are big role models for me. My father leaves for work at like 6:00 in the morning and gets back at 6:00 at night. He’s got a few jobs and he’s got a great head on his shoulders and heart in his chest. My mom is an elementary school teacher and that in itself is enough to applaud as she deals with brutal kids everyday, especially over zoom and all that bullshit that comes with it.
Boston Culture : Walk us through your creative process.
JFX: It’s rare that I write before I have a beat in front of me. I enjoy producing myself, but sometimes I feel that can limit my creativity when writing, so I pick n choose beats from youtube and other producers from around the area. The only time I’m in the STUDIO studio is when I’m ready to record. Obviously gotta have fun but I’m there to work, and that’s why I keep going back to Khoality Beats Studios, big shoutout to Khoa. When I produce, anything and everything could come to me. Writing is definitely the harder of the two for me because I try to think too deeply of metaphors and clever bars, but making melodies and drum patterns, I try to keep it simple to give me enough room on the track to tear it up.
Boston Culture : What do you think of the music scene in the State? Are there any other Boston producers or artists you'd potentially like to work with for the next project?
JFX: Massachusetts is a hidden gem man. Like yeah we got Stizz and Bia and Joyner, Millyz, Coi Leray, but my favorites to watch grow and hopefully also join them here and there are the Brockton collective Van Buren. They’re a handful of artists, and I say artists in the fullest extent of the word. They’re super talented with rapping, music production, fashion, they got it all man and I don’t know how anyone else isn’t up and hype about these guys. I also mentioned prior a dude by the name of Latrell James. He’s in the same ballpark as them. He’s got it and he does a lot for the community and city. Dom Bruno and Tanj TV are also big visual artists that I’d love to work with in the future some day.
Boston Culture : Tell us about your goals for 2021.
JFX: I really hope to learn more about myself so that I can put out music that others can connect to whether I’m upset, sad, happy, vulnerable, everything felt is valid and most likely other people feel the same way. I need to learn a lot more about music in general though and how to get more involved with the scene. Like I mentioned Van Buren, Ricky Felix of the group sends out beats to some well known artists and Lord Felix of the group has collabed with Sony Michel of the Patriots as well as the Celtics with fashion. I’ve got to learn more about marketing myself and showing people what I have to offer, because I feel though I am a creative dude and I could help others obtain a vision of theirs.
Boston Culture : What brands should sponsor you?
JFX: I’ve been ripping the same Thick Ass Glass bong for years now so I think now’s about time to hook me up with some new pieces. I also fuck with Saltines heavily. And oyster crackers. Just a bland, salty cracker is my shit. So hit my line market basket.
Boston Culture :Anything else we missed you want to tell your fans?
JFX: Well I mentioned all three volumes of The Papal States Tapes were finished in the beginning of the fall. But since then, I’ve made some of my favorite songs and beats ever, and I’m just pumped to get through this tape series to show y’all my most recent work.