We recently got a chance to chat with the amazing Fleaux where we gained insight into his craft, various influences and his upcoming release “Like Water” out 2/11/2014.
s.o.t.r.- “Like Water” is a beautiful marriage of various styles from new age to hip hop that you’ve described as an organic music experience without limits, can you tell us more about the upcoming release?
Fleaux- Honestly the project(s) stemmed from me having so many tracks that I felt I’d been sitting on for way too long, but still not wanting anything to go to waste. I’m not really big on creating within a realm of what someone else requires. I have and will produce that way, but only when I feel it’s necessary. Right now I’m focusing on just branding myself by releasing my work as the artist, regardless of the fact that it’s instrumentally based. In my opinion, the producer/beat maker’s work and worth are highly undervalued these days. It’s been made normal to give beats away for credit (which is understandable in some cases), or a $20 “lease”. I don’t think the singer/rapper is always the key factor. In fact, these days they definitely aren’t. People will tell you “just sell it, you can make more beats” or whatever, but I don’t think it’s always necessary to just be thirsty for a little cash. Painters wouldn’t do that, sculptors, composers, directors, but hey, you just make beats! Right? Na, not me. There are plenty of people out there who say “I just like the beat”. So basically, music is valuable to me, with or without words. Genre limits natural expression and allows for expectation instead of appreciation. I try to keep a healthy balance of style throughout this one to break the ice, but can’t wait to keep it going. I’m excited for what’s to come from walking this path.
s.o.t.r.- For all the gearheads out there, can you give us insight into your “tools of the trade”?
Fleaux- I started out making tracks with FL Studio 4 back in the 8th grade (2004), previously I had just been looping the ends of songs by artists like Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Music Soulchild, etc. So to this day my workflow is best on that DAW, but I’ve tried a lot of different ones. On a Mac I like Logic, never really got the hang of Reason, been working on the Machine a lot more as of lately but have to keep a keyboard around for sure. I like to tap into the resources of a bunch of “tools” because they all have something different to offer creatively. My homie let me borrow his Kaossilator for a week at one point and that was fun to use. I made of few tracks with that, “Chaos” is one on Volume I. I’ll definitely have a lot of toys to play with in the future.
s.o.t.r.- Can you name some quintessential artists that have inspired you? What are you currently listening to?
Fleaux- Man so many artists have inspired me. I grew up on Funk, Jazz, R&B etc. so I can never let go of the Soul. Hip-Hop wise? Artists like Nas, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Gangstarr, Digable Planets, ATCQ, J Dilla, Madlib, Outkast, Kanye, Lupe, Common, Little Brother, etc. Then there’s artists like Flying Lotus, Toro y Moi, Neptunes/N.E.R.D., Ryan Leslie, Kid Cudi, Nujabes, Will.I.Am, etc.
Then there’s Reggae, Alternative, Folk, House, Drum & Bass, Downtempo. Grime, EDM, etc. It may sound like I’m just naming stuff but I really enjoy it all. I’d have to go through my Soundcloud/Pandora likes to name specifics. But let’s just say the first CD I ever bought myself was Linkin Park’s “Hybrid Theory”, and that was because my mom wouldn’t let me get the Gorillaz album. Life would suck if I had to listen to the same type of music all the time. I just say I want to be like Pharrell, to just be great at being me, regardless of what that entails, even beyond music. I want that freedom, forget the titles.
s.o.t.r.- How did you hook up with Sony, whats your job description?
Fleaux- Let’s just say it was the first job I landed that I never even thought to apply for, which led to me realizing most of the coolest jobs are that way. But I do marketing, pretty much creating awareness for the label roster. Obviously, this means that I spend a lot of time helping other artists become successful.. but I’d rather be doing that than something that has absolutely nothing to do with what I’m working toward just to pay the bills. Plus, I gain better insight and perspective, meet a lot of really cool people am allowed access to information, location and conversation that not many people like me get the chance to experience. I’m gonna continue to put in work on that end, but ultimately seek to dedicate my days to the creative processes, while continuing to build the bridge connecting to the business end of the industry.
s.o.t.r.- Any shoutouts or plugs for any of your homies?
Fleaux- Whenever you get tired of people rapping/screaming/singing/bragging/complaining at you and just want some space to clear your mind and think your own thoughts, or have meaningful conversation among friends, or enjoy and admire your surroundings, go ahead and throw that “Like Water” on, and stay tuned for the follow-ups. Shoutout to everybody who doesn’t base their taste around what’s on whatever’s being shoved down their throats at the moment via television, the radio, or even the internet – To all my homies in/from Ohio on the comeup, everybody I’ve met in Chicago and beyond that has embraced me thus far, and to all of you who I have yet to cross paths with but connect through this beautiful thing we call music, hit me up, share your thoughts and whatnot. Thanks for listening. Be water my friends!