The Plain James Interview
Author: Maxwell Pugh
Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way?
I am from St. Louis, Missouri. Living in Missouri you kind of have to be creative cause there really isn’t a ton of fun things to do to be honest. I have been through some good things and some bad things and that definitely manifests itself in my music. My grade school and high school years brought me some pretty shitty mental illnesses but I’m dealing with that in unhealthy ways and that definitely manifests itself in my music. My surroundings are me and my music is me. I cannot separate them.
What’s your background like? Where do you stand on the music scene in your area?
For a few months I ran a hip-hop blog where I was doing Q&As with artists I liked, reviewing songs and albums and a whole lot of other stuff. It was awesome and it’s a project that I plan to revisit in the future. However, my knowledge on the music scene in St. Louis is kind of limited. I know there are a ton of young hungry talent out here so you can expect to see some St. Louis artists blowing up any day now.
What did you start doing first, producing or rapping? How did you get started?
I definitely really started rapping first. I had always messed around with both but once I dropped my first song I was hooked. I just got this incredible feeling. The only way I can really describe it is that I felt healthy after making that first song song. I wasn’t depressed. I wasn’t anxious. I just felt healthy and happy and of course that feeling didn’t last or return until I dropped the song after that.
Do you have anyone that you consider your mentor? How has their help or advice shaped you?
I don’t actually have a mentor. I have gotten great advice from some really cool people that I’ve met on Twitter though. A producer, JustWalkBeats, helped me clean up my flow quite a bit. Ever since then I’ve been able to really develop my sound and I still am.
What is one experience in life that, without it, you wouldn’t be the artist you are today?
I was bullied for most of my life. I wouldn’t be an artist if I wasn’t for them.
What do you hope to accomplish this year?
This year I really just want to find my sound and make some really great music. Pretty much everything I’m doing now is new to me so it’s hard to say. I want to drop another tape and a lot of singles before 2018 ends. 2019 is going to be huge though and you can take that to the bank.
What does your work aim to say?
My work is kind of like my therapy. My head is a very loud place but once it quiets down it becomes a very very dark place. So my music is that loudness and darkness coming out. I also really hope people hear my music and just realize that they aren’t alone. I hope people hear my music and realize that being crazy, or feeling crazy, is 100% okay.
Who are your biggest influences and what do you like about them the most?
Lil Peep, XXXtentacion and Mac Miller are my biggest influences. Lil Peeps music made me feel okay. It’s hard to explain. If I was feelin crazy, sad, anxious or anything like that I’d put on some Lil Peep and I’d feel so understood. It’s great feeling to be understood. XXXtentacion is who I think of when people talk about versatility. He could sing, he could rap, and he could both in any way imaginable. I could only dream to be as versatile as him some day. Mac Miller got me through my adolescence and his flow is smooth. It’s impossible not to respect that flow.
How would you describe your own style?
I’m like Naruto as a Genin if he were a rapper. Genin Style Rap.
In what ways has your newest music changed from when you first started?
From my first song to now I’d like to say there has been consistent improvement when it comes to the quality of song I make. My sound, has been ever changing and I do not expect it to stop changing anytime soon.
What are the main inspirations for the lyrics you write?
My main inspirations for my lyrics are my life experiences, my thoughts, my emotions and my mental illnesses.
What would be your dream venue in which to perform?
Definitely The Pageant in St. Louis. That’s my city so it’s only natural that it would be my dream venue.
What’s a song you have stuck in your head these days?
You could name anything YNW Melly and it’s been in my head for like the past week.
'why do angels die' is available now on Soundcloud, but will be available on all music platforms as of Nov. 29th.
Listen to Plain James now!