SHOESTRING // FELIX AMES (INTERVIEW)

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EJ SAFTNER: HOW ARE YOU TODAY?

FELIX AMES: I’M GOOD. A LOT OF GOOD THINGS HAVE BEEN HAPPENING. I’VE JUST BEEN DOING THE SAME THINGS I ALWAYS DO… I TRY TO NOT LET THE HIGHS GET TOO HIGH OR THE LOWS GET TOO LOW. I’M TRYING TO GET GOOD AT TENNIS, SO I’VE BEEN TRYING TO FIND SOMEONE TO PLAY TENNIS WITH ME. BUT IT’S GOOD, THINGS HAVE BEEN GOOD. A LOT OF GAME PLANNING AND LUCKILY I KIND OF PLANNED FOR THINGS TO HAPPEN THIS WAY, RELATIVELY, SO YEAH. I FEEL GOOD, I’VE BEEN FEELING REALLY INSPIRED FASHION-WISE, AND GETTING OUTSIDE A LOT SO MY SPIRITS HAVE BEEN HIGH. ENJOYING MYSELF. 

EJ: TELL ME ABOUT YOURSELF, HOW IS FELIX?

FELIX AMES: THAT’S A GREAT QUESTION… I’M A GUY WHO MAKES MUSIC… I THINK, I THINK, YOU KNOW, MUSIC IS A BIG PART OF WHO I AM BUT I’M ALSO A HUGE PEOPLE PERSON AND LOVE TO BE AROUND PEOPLE AND INTERACT WITH PEOPLE. SO THAT’S WHY I THINK IT’S A GOOD CAREER FOR ME. PLAYING SHOWS AND INTERACTING WITH PEOPLE AND MEETING PEOPLE OUT AND ABOUT. 

I’M SUPER EASY GOING, YOU KNOW, I’M A CHILLER. YEAH, I DON’T KNOW… WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?

EJ: SO, YOU’VE MENTIONED FASHION AND TENNIS, WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HAVE SHAPED WHO YOU ARE IN THE NOW? WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF MUSIC?

FELIX AMES: YEAH, SO I LIKE TO DO YOGA. SO WEIRDLY ENOUGH I LIKE TO COOK BUT I DON’T COOK VERY OFTEN. I KIND OF GET MY FIX BY WATCHING COOKING VIDEOS. BUT… WHAT ELSE DO I DO? THAT’S ALWAYS A GREAT QUESTION. I GO ON HIKES WITH MY FRIENDS, I LIKE TO SHOP AND LOOK FOR FASHION INSPIRATION. I THINK WHAT’S INSPIRED A LOT OF HOW I LIVE IS SEEING OTHER PEOPLE, LIKE, DO WHATEVER THEY WANT, AND REALIZE, ‘OH, IT’S POSSIBLE.’ I CAN JUST BUILD THE LIFE I WANT. 

AND I’M NOT THE KIND OF GUY, I’M NOT IN THE STUDIO UNTIL 3AM, 4AM, REALLY. I WORK DURING THE DAY, HANGOUT AT NIGHT. I’M TRYING TO BUILD A CAREER WITH LONGEVITY SO I TRY TO TREAT IT THAT WAY, YOU KNOW? 

EJ: WALK ME THROUGH THE INSPIRATION OF “SHOESTRING.” WHO FROM YOUR MUSIC INFLUENCES MOST INSPIRES YOUR STYLE AND PRODUCTION IN THIS TRACK?

FELIX AMES: SO I WORK WITH THIS PRODUCER, CALVIN VALENTINE, AND GUITAR PLAYER, LUCAS HEAVEN. WE JUST JAM. I MEAN, CALVIN PRODUCED MY WHOLE ALBUM AND ‘SHOESTRING’ IS THE FIRST SINGLE OFF OF IT. WE PROBABLY MADE TWO ALBUMS TRYING TO MAKE THE ONE WE ARE GOING TO RELEASE. I THINK THE BIGGEST THING WAS TRYING TO TAP INTO MUSICIANS AND PRODUCTION STYLES THAT WE BOTH GRAVITATE TOWARD… AND TONES OF VOICES AND LYRICAL DELIVERY… LIKE DiANGELO AND SOUL CHILD AND PEOPLE LIKE THAT INFLUENCED A LOT OF IT. BUT I’M REALLY BIG ON REINVENTING THINGS INSTEAD OF TRYING TO GET AS CLOSE TO IT AS WE CAN. LIKE WE COULD HAVE TRIED TO GO MAKE ANOTHER ‘UNTITLED’ BY DiANGELO BUT IT WOULDN’T HAVE DONE MUSIC JUSTICE IN GENERAL. 

SO, WE ALWAYS JUST TALK AND HANG OUT AT THE BEGINNING OF SESSIONS, FOR HOURS SOMETIMES, BEFORE WE GO INTO THE STUDIO. THAT’S WHEN WE KIND OF FIND THE WAVELENGTH, AND THEN WE JUST TREAT IT LIKE A JAM SESSION… THAT’S HOW ‘SHOESTRING’ HAPPENED. WE WERE JUST CHATTING FOR TWO HOURS AND THEN WERE LIKE, ‘ALRIGHT, LET’S GO MAKE SOMETHING.’ LUCAS STARTED PLAYING THE GUITAR LOOP… THAT’S THE FIRST THING HE PLAYED. IT WAS MY FIRST SESSION WITH LUKE AND I THINK I SAID, ‘IF YOU WERE IN THE STUDIO WITH FRANK OCEAN AND BRENT FAIYAZ AT THE SAME TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU PLAY FOR THEM?’ THEN HE PLAYED IT, AND I WAS LIKE, ‘YEAH, THAT’S IT.’ THEN CALVIN JUST DRUMMED, I SANG THE HOOK AND THAT WAS THAT. THEN I JUST WROTE THE VERSE AND THAT WAS THE SESSION. IT’S JUST FREE FLOWING, I TRY NOT TO FORCE THINGS OR AIM TOO SPECIFICALLY, I JUST LIKE TO GET IN IT AND HAVE FUN WITH THE HOMIES. 

EJ: IF YOU COULD PICK A SONG OR MOVIE FOR YOUR MUSIC TO BE PLACED IN, WHAT WOULD IT BE? WHAT SOUNDTRACK HAS STUCK W YOU AND WHY?

FELIX AMES: I THINK AN ISSA RAE SHOW, ANY ISSA RAE SHOW. I LOVE ‘INSECURE,’ I LOVE ISSA RAE IN GENERAL AND WHAT SHE DOES FOR THE CULTURE. JUST TO BE A PART OF THAT… YEAH, I’VE ALWAYS KIND OF HAD THAT IN MIND. I’VE HAD OTHER SONGS I’VE MADE SYNC ELSEWHERE BUT ANY ISSA RAE SHOW. 

SO, I THINK, ‘INSECURE,’ IS ONE OF THEM, OBVIOUSLY. BUT I THINK THE BEAUTIFUL THING ABOUT SOUNDTRACKS FOR ME, FOR MOVIES AND SHOWS, IS THAT YOU DON’T EVEN THINK OF IT AND IT PUTS YOU INTO THE WORLD. IT’S NOT THE SONG SPECIFICALLY, IT’S THE FEELING AND HOW THE FEELING OF THE SONG MATCHES WHATEVER THE DIRECTOR IS DOING IN THE SHOW AND WHAT THE ACTORS ARE DOING. IT ORCHESTRATES THE SHOW AND TAKES YOU INTO THAT WORLD. I THINK THAT’S THE COOLEST PART OF IT. 

EJ: SO WHAT IS THE FEELING YOU GET WHEN YOU LISTEN TO SHOESTRING?

FELIX AMES: IT’S LIKE A COMBINATION… IT’S LIKE A WARM SENSE OF YEARNING, LIKE STUCK IN A LOOP. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? I THINK EVERYBODY KNOWS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE YEARNING FOR SOMETHING… AND IT’S JUST THAT. LIKE I COULD SAY NONSENSE DURING THE WHOLE SONG BUT YOU COULD STILL FEEL IT IN MY VOICE AND THE LAYERING. THE FEELING OF THE SONG HITS YOU IN THE SOUL. 

WE RECORDED THE LIVE SESSION LAST NIGHT AND IT WAS JUST… WHEN THE MUSIC MOVES EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM, FROM THE ENGINEER TO THE STYLIST, THE WHOLE BAND, MY GIRLFRIEND WAS TAKING PHOTOS, MY MANAGER SHOWED UP… IT WAS JUST LIKE… IT’S HARD TO PINPOINT WHAT THAT FEELING IS, BUT IT HAS A LITTLE BIT OF MAGIC. THAT’S WHAT WE CHASE. YOU MAY NOT HAVE IT FOR A COUPLE MONTHS AND THAT’S WHAT THEY CALL WRITERS’ BLOCK BUT YOU KEEP MAKING THINGS. IT JUST DOESN’T HIT YOU THE SAME AND THAT’S OKAY. BUT FOR SOME REASON, SHOESTRING IS THAT WARMTH, SOUL, AND JUST THAT YEARNING. 

EJ: AS AN UP-AND-COMING ARTIST? WHAT IS ONE THING YOU WISH SOMEONE IN THE INDUSTRY WOULD’VE TOLD YOU/ADVICE?

FELIX AMES: ADVICE… I WOULD SAY BEING SELF-AWARE IS A HUGE PERCENTAGE OF THE BATTLE. YOU GOTTA KNOW WHAT YOU WANT AND WHO YOU ARE AND BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WHO YOU ARE… BECAUSE PEOPLE CAN ASK. LIKE, MY TIKTOK STARTED DOING WELL AND PEOPLE STARTED ASKING, ‘HOW?’ I JUST DID WHAT WAS THE EASIEST FOR ME TO DO AND WHAT FELT THE MOST NATURAL. I LIKE FASHION AND I LIKE MY MUSIC. SO I WOULD THROW ON A FIT AND SING A SONG, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? SO, YOU DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO GET THE RESULTS YOU WANT, MAKE SURE THINGS FEEL NATURAL FROM THE MUSIC TO THE LOOK… WHAT YOU NATURALLY LIKE. EXPLORING THAT A LOT HAS SERVED ME A LOT FOR SURE. 

EJ: WHO IS YOUR FASHION INFLUENCE? WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST FASHION INSPIRATION?

FELIX AMES: I’M STILL FIGURING THAT OUT. WHEN I GO SHOPPING OR THRIFTING, I DON’T HAVE A THING IN MIND. I GO OUT AND IT’S THAT NATURAL THING AGAIN. WHAT DO I GRAVITATE TOWARD? LET ME THROW IT ON. IT STARTED WHEN I JUST STARTED GRABBING THINGS I WAS A LITTLE UNCOMFORTABLE WEARING BUT THEN I BUILT MY WHOLE WARDROBE AROUND IT AND NOW I FEEL IT’S TAKING IT TO A DIFFERENT PLACE. JUST TRYING TO BE AS NATURAL AS POSSIBLE AND SEEING WHAT I LIKE AT ANY GIVEN TIME. 

THAT’S WHERE I’M AT RIGHT NOW. I WANT TO STUDY FASHION MORE AND GET TO KNOW THE INS AND OUTS OF THINGS… I DON’T KNOW RIGHT NOW. I WISH I HAD A DESIGNER I LIKED BUT I JUST GRAB WHAT I LIKE. 

EJ: TELL US ABOUT WHAT IS COMING NEXT FOR YOU. WHAT CAN WE LOOK OUT FOR?

FELIX AMES: YEAH, SO I’M RELEASING A LOT OF MUSIC THIS YEAR. I HAVE AN ALBUM COMING OUT SOMETIME LATE SPRING, EARLY SUMMER, I’LL SAY… MOST LIKELY. I’M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THAT. LIVE SESSIONS, MUSIC VIDEOS, SHOWS, AND I’M JUST REALLY STARTED TO GET INTO MY BAG IN EVERY AREA. SONICALLY, WE’RE JUST AT THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG, SO IT’S JUST ALBUM ONE. I MIGHT MAKE 30 ALBUMS FOR ALL I KNOW. IT’S A JOURNEY AND IT’S COOL BECAUSE PEOPLE WILL BE ABLE TO FOLLOW AROUND AND I’M ALL ABOUT CURATING SPACES AND EXPERIENCES FOR PEOPLE SO WE’LL SEE. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE YEAR IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE YET BUT I’M EXCITED FOR IT. 

EJ: IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SAY?

FELIX AMES: I DON’T THINK SO, YOU KNOW. IT’S COOL, THIS MUSIC IS REALLY SPECIAL TO ME AND I WOULD MAKE IT REGARDLESS. IT’S COOL THAT PEOPLE CARE TO LISTEN AND GET SOMETHING FROM IT. YOU KNOW, I THINK ABOUT MY FAVORITE ARTISTS, SONGS, ALBUMS, ET CETERA… AND HOW MUCH THEY HAVE MEANT TO ME IN MY LIFE. MY OWN MUSIC MEANS A LOT TO ME IN MY LIFE SO IT’S BEAUTIFUL WATCHING OTHER PEOPLE CONNECT WITH IT. I’VE BEEN MAKING MUSIC FOR FIVE YEARS AND I WOULD STILL BE DOING IT REGARDLESS SO IT’S JUST A HUGE BONUS.

SO THANK YOU FOR LISTENING, I GUESS. 

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