Flash Jrive completed four albums with no background in music whatsoever
Justin a.k.a. Flash Jrive is a self-made producer who found the means to express the depths of his personality in making music. Quitting his job and starting from scratch with no clue on how to make a beat, he eventually completed three records with a fourth due out later this year. Coming from a small town, he too struggles to get noticed, but being apt with the tools of the trade and having the eloquence and sincerity to discuss the topic at length, we are sure he’s going to land some well-deserved recognition. This is our poignant interview with Justin, another Drooble gem that’s yet to be discovered by the masses!
Hello! Tell the world about yourself. How did you grow up to become the musician you are today?
Hey there!! My name is Justin, and I go by the moniker Flash Jrive. I’m a 27 year old electronic musician from Port Alberni, BC, Canada. My music is all self-created, with lyrics that I’d like to think represent a lot of youth’s desire to push past what we think is possible in life, and finding the one purpose, person, or both, that can push us forward as better people. I actually grew up most of my life not knowing what I wanted to do or be, and that bothered me a lot as a person, trying to find my identity. I knew that I always wanted to be a storyteller, but I never quite knew the medium on how to portray it.
After several failed attempts in the past, whether it be in the form of a novel or video game. I come from a dark past, as some other people do, and after hitting rock bottom, I finally turned my life around and found that music production is a good way to get my message out there in my own unique way. It took me quite a bit of time to realize that I was worth so much more than I was letting on to myself and others, and I figured it was time to do something about it, and share what I made!!
I have a 17 minute YouTube video that fully describes my journey into musical production if you are interested, watch it here.
Introduce your current musical projects and tell us what makes each one special for you!
Well, I currently have three different sets of music on the digital music platforms right now, Four Point Plan, Dreamin Believin Lovin, and Rewind One, with a fourth, so far unnamed, compilation album with a few new tracks I’m still working on due out later this year.
Four Point Plan was my first project, and my first goal that I set for myself as a music producer. I started work on it on December 2017, and this was coming from ZERO music theory whatsoever, just going by ear, and learning from online resources such as YouTube videos and such. I promised myself I would have a 4 track EP out by first quarter of 2018, and I managed to release it on February 9th, ahead of my goals.
It was funny the way that it turned out, because I finished my first track, “Why’s It a Crime” in December, and I showed other people, and they liked it, so I began work on my second, “More”. At that point though, I was still just dabbling in production, when I realized that if I wanted to follow my dream, I would have to commit, so I left my job beginning of January, and finished my last 3 tracks that month.
But it wasn’t without frustration, frustration I had experienced trying to do other projects in the past that I gave up on, but I knew this time that I just had to push through and realize bad days were inevitable, but persistence would pay off. For example, one of the tracks, “Perfect for Me”, one of the ones I’m most proud of, was just an idea in my head I couldn’t translate to the computer for about a week, and I’d work from about 10am-4pm each day with nothing to show for it, and it was really discouraging. I would manifest my frustration as fatigue, and I would just lie in bed and nap for a couple hours, wake up, watch some TV, then go to bed, and repeat the cycle each day. I would question my decisions, if I had made the right one, and what if this wasn’t for me. But I kept telling myself, no, just keep going.
Well, after that week passed, I don’t know how it happened, but it came to me, the chord progression just came down, the foundation had been laid, and three days later, it turned into the track it is today!! I’m so proud of that moment, because I realized no matter how bleak it may look, if you’re really passionate about your work, it will happen if you really want it and work on it, in ways you can’t even imagine!!
You have been playing music for a long while! How do you find the drive and inspiration to keep going all this time?
Honestly, it’s a long story, but I come from a family that has just been content with where they are. And that’s OK with some people, you know? Being well off, having what they need with some money to spend here and there… But I’ve always thought there was more to life than the 9-5 grind. That we all have a purpose, something greater to give to the world. And I’ve always wanted to find that, but trust me it took a long time!! And that was the thing for me… My dad, for instance, had everything he needed, but he wasn’t happy, and unfortunately he ended his own life, but I believe he had so much untapped potential but he was too scared of what others might say that he never took the chance, and that’s a promise I made myself, to not be like that, and make him proud, showing him that I could take the chances he could’ve, but never did.
That and Hailee Steinfeld, she’s been a massive inspiration in my life, and music, with the way she portrays herself, the lyrics in her songs, and just the message that has resonated with me when I first heard her music until now. She’s given me hope when I thought I wasn’t good enough.
How is your local music scene in your perspective? Do you feel like you belong there?
I live in Port Alberni, so it’s a small town with not too many outlets of expression, so it’s hard to really find any kind of like-minded people here. Which was OK with me when I wasn’t really out there finding my true self, but now it’s a bit harder connecting with people, getting my name out there. That’s the hardest thing, especially in a small town. I’ve tried to visit some other areas and hand out some promotional material, but really I think I might need to move someday. Thankfully, my out-of-town friend tries to let me know of musical opportunities whenever they arise, and I’m a lot more sociable than before, so something is bound to come up… Let me know!! I’m always looking to collaborate with people, and see other’s perspectives
What is your all-time favorite record and how did it change you as an artist?
If I had to mention only one, it would probably be Teenage Dream by Katy Perry. I have been influenced by Katy Perry, and how she’s evolved as an artist over time, as well as her lyrics and feelings. Especially so with Teenage Dream. You can tell she has fun with the album, but she has those different emotions that come with the highs and lows of life. I remember listening to that album quite a bit when I was younger, and like I said her lyrics then, and now, have inspired me as an artist to get how you feel out there, and how those can change, but staying genuine to yourself throughout, even when others might not understand or agree with it.
What are your favorite software and hardware tools for music production?
My top 5 would be, not in any particular order, I would say Ableton Live, FabFilter plugins, Ozone, Sylenth1, and Serum, with the latter two alternating. The first three I reach for in all of my productions that give it that extra polish. Music production is expensive!!
What is your songwriting process like?
It really depends on the project. On my first EP, Four Point Plan, most of my songs were just random ideas in my head that I wanted to get down, and feelings that I wanted to get out, so most of them I started with a beat, then based lyrics around it. A few of my songs though, came to me by accident, or I just started singing lyrics in my head, and then had to base the beat around them!! Those are some of my better songs I think, but they were more challenging to nail down in the production process.
I remember with my second project, Dreamin Believin Lovin, I had a specific idea of what I wanted the two songs in that release to be, but after being lucky finishing the first song, the next song took quite a bit longer to finish. I had that specific idea I didn’t want to compromise to get out there, but in doing so, still finished what I wanted to, but was frustrated with the limitations I had put for myself in the first place. When I hadn’t gotten any work done days into it, it bothered me, but I realized after that, that music should be a more creative process that you should be able to take chances on, especially with me being brand new to making music.
So my third project, Rewind One, I was more open to just letting ideas flow, so a lot of the songs I worked on there had more, what I like to call “outside-in”, rather than “inside-out” production of my previous releases, where I built the idea as I went, rather than worked on the set idea I had in my mind, which honestly did limit me. This was especially true too, since two of the songs on Rewind One, are actually two of my first collaborations with other people, and when you see other people’s perspective on making music, and contrast and combine them with your own, it really opens your eyes to what is possible!!
Out of all the live shows you played, which one was the most memorable, and why?
I haven’t played any live shows yet!! My friend is trying to get my name out there to start, so hopefully soon!!
What is your biggest musical goal?
My biggest musical goal is a big one, but I feel I can achieve it given I have the right intent to just get my music and message to be heard by the greatest amount of people… I want to work with people in the industry, like Zedd, 3LAU, Gryffin, and of course Hailee Steinfeld, get some tips/collaborations going on for the best way to convey the message I want to get across, whether it be honing my skills in a DAW, singing better, what works to catch people’s ear more etc… Music is a big part of my life, and other people’s life, and I feel like I can inspire others given my story, and so many other people out there have a story to tell that’s worth listening to, and people need to take that chance you know? So given enough time, I think I can achieve this, hear what other successful people have to say, and work to achieve something bigger to unify everyone from all different backgrounds with a language everybody can understand; music!!
How has being on Drooble helped you as a musician?
Living in a small town, I think Drooble has been good, alongside other avenues of promotion, to really get my name out there, and connect with other people. I’ve only briefly dabbled in the social aspects of it, but it really has the potential to open up possibilities of collaborating with like-minded people, and just getting people to hear your music, and see what they have to say. So I’m definitely glad I discovered you guys!!