Hey JFlames, how are you?
I’m very well sir, keeping my head down and my ears up, keeping active while doing absolutely nothing at the same time (The balance).
A rapper. Producer. Beatmaker. Poet. Philospher. So much more. How did it all begin for you?
In 2002 I attended summer arts college in Lewisham south east London with my brother Ason and my cousin, I signed up to DJ lessons and had my first go at making two 12’’ vinyls blend together with beat matching tempos and a cross fader.
At the end of the course we were given the opportunity to DJ at the Albany Theatre in Deptford in front of all the summer arts students, I needed a DJ name and at the time I use to love wearing red Nike tracksuits and I was also know for having a fiery temper (Believe it or not) (JFlames is one of the most chilled people I know!) so the name FLAMES came to me and I’ve stuck with it ever since.
I would end up forming my own grime crew called (Merk-Section) a few years later and we ended up being regular features across the south London pirate radio scene, my main place was behind the decks and producing the records and mixtapes, but every now and then I would spit a one two lyric on the mic, and the rest is history.
What did you listen to growing up?
I came from a household of reggae musicians and singers, so reggae was the first music I was given as a child, but when i got to about 8 i really got into R&B bands like Immature and Jodeci.
By the time I hit double figures I was listening to more rock influenced music like Korn, Rage against the machine and Nirvana. I always loved Biggie Smalls music also but I was never really a big fan of rap music until my friend from secondary school Fu-Wing lent me a copy of Jay-Z’s 1998 album (Vol.2) and for me that changed everything, I knew this was the music I wanted to make.
You have released projects in various styles, you have never stuck to one genre, what motivated you to do that?
If I show you my playlist on spotify you will be confused lol I literally can go from listening to “The spice girls – two become one” to “Mobb Deep – Shook ones”, so when it comes to my own albums i don’t like to pigeon hole myself, most of my tracks maybe at 140bpm tempo, but during my project you will hear a deep house track or a alternative rock track.
Your brother is Ruinz Ason, another great artist. You two have worked on so many projects together in the past, what was your favourite that you’ve done together?
My all time favourite is the 2016 “Space” album, thats the first album in-which i didn’t handle all production alone, we brought in a guitarist, Saxophone players, pianists and poets, its truly a work of art and if you’re reading this and haven’t heard it go check it out….
You produce music both for yourself and for other artists how does a typical project begin?
I normally make the track in my sleep, and end up jumping out of my bed in the night, grab my phone and open up my voice recorder then record the melody that was in my dream.
A few hours later when I wake up, fire up my macbook, load up Reason and construct the beat.
When I make projects for other people, it normally stems from a convo or a like mindedness, I’m not the type of producer that just sends around beats and hopes for the best, I’ll rather connect on a spiritual level before I get into the studio and make a record, music is a spiritual thing for me.
Covid has impacted the creative industry in a big way. What has kept you motivated?
My podcast, my album I released, the cool convos I’ve been having with like minded people on social media and most importantly some good good food, Honey coated jerk salmon hmmmmm mmmm.
What artists are getting you excited at the moment?
I’ve mainly been on youtube listening to 24/7 Lo-Fi hip-hop instrumental channels over the last year, but a few artists have come across my attention, “Death is a girl” a cool Rock project by former lead singer of the band Empire “Joe Green”, also “Comma Sounds” a producer duo from Leicester that I have done a couple of tracks with.
I have recently gone back 25 years to listen to “Skunk Annasie” 1996 album Stoosh (Classic).
You are from South London what are your three favourite things about it?
The passion everyone from south London has about being from south London
The mixture of different ethnicities and cultures
And last but not least the choice of takeaways, you can find some real obscure hole in the walls in south.
You have an upcoming release with me, “Black Swan”, what was the inspiration behind the lyrics?
Introspective thoughts, realisations and understanding your blessings can come in ways you cannot understand, having a appreciation for life on a grander scheme of things.
Your lyrics are very deep, which MCs and lyricists inspire you?
Prodigy (Mobb deep)
Jay Kay (Jamiroquai)
What’s next for you?
More music, More podcasts, More great discussions online and offline and of course more honey coated jerk salmon………