DTK Interviews JMSN
With the release of his new album, JMSN embarks on a tour across North America and visits Montreal along the way. DTK MEN got a chance to sit down with the Michigan native shortly before his show at Apt. 200. We got to speak of the industry, the themes in the album and his ties to TDE and other artists.
Why the name JMSN?
Cause of the whiskey, I'm a fan of the whiskey.
Is that your favorite drink?
Yeah, I would definitely say that.
How did you get linked up to TDE?
TDE’s manager, Kendrick's manager, they hit up mine and set up a meeting where I met Ab-soul. We did some stuff after that. They were in the middle of making Good Kid m.A.A.d City and Kendrick was a fan of the music, so he asked me to do some stuff on their record. At the same time I met their producer, Soundwave. He brought over, "Bitch don't Kill my Vibe" and I did some work on that. After that song he got me to work on a bunch of other tracks.
GKMC is a classic.
That was a great album.
That is a fantastic album; I caught your vocals at the beginning of "That Art of Peer Pressure". I was like, wait a minute, and I definitely know that voice.
It was great to be involved in something like that.
On the topic of TDE, the fans want to know what's going on with the Ab-soul collaboration album?
We talk about it frequently and you know, it's done, we said we're not going to touch it, but it will come out at some point. When it comes out we wont revisit it. We'll just put it out, but right now we're not.
Is it label drama?
Originally I guess you could say that. I don't know if I can say this, but I had bad business people on my side, so that added to it. Now I don't have a manager.
So can fans expect a free release?
We haven't figured out what we're going to do. Right now when we talk it's for the next album and if I need him on anything. We have our drunken phone calls like, "Dude we're going to put this out".
You guys put out Unit 6 & Nibiru, both awesome tracks.
That was a great track; it still holds up, people say it's one of their favorite Ab-Soul songs. It's a good feeling to have had that magic happen with that.
Montreal’s a small island; artists usually leave here to LA or New York for better opportunities. Do you think that's just?
I think it's definitely a good thing, as long as you're doing something and pursuing it, it doesn't matter where you are. One thing I have to say about moving to LA, the competition is, for lack of a better word...just better. A lot more people who are great at what they do, I have to learn from them and then step up. I'd rather do that then be in a small town where I feel like, "I'm the shit, I'm the best".
No one's checking you.
No one's checking you for sure. It's very good for growth as an artist, or growth as anything else. You want challenges like that. It's good for that.
You were part of a band once?
I've been through a bunch of monikers you could say.
Now you're signed to an indie label, how do you feel the workload has changed from major to indie?
It's a lot more work and more hands on; at least you know what the fuck is going on (laughs). When you're making progress, even if it's small, you see it. When you're on a major label, you don't see anything but these people telling you they're not going to put out your record until you put out the right radio single. You don't see the growth of stuff. On an independent label you're watching it grow from the ground up and you're building it, you see the foundation. It's such a beautiful thing; I don't know why you'd want to do it any other way.
A lot of people will compromise art for money, you have seen both sides of that, and I see where you're coming from.
It was a growing thing. I just realized what I wanted and what I didn't. It's part of growing up. I don't know anybody who can say they liked who they were in their early 20's.
You self titled your new album JMSN, but in quotations it's "The Blue Album". Why "The Blue Album"?
Cause it's blue (laughs). It's super simple, there's a reason why I was blue. I feel like the red album was the first, Priscilla. Red was the color of danger and distress; it was what I felt like at the time. The EP I did was grey and white, which was kind of a grey area for me. Then I went to blue, which is wavy and easy, how I felt while making this record. I didn't feel like I needed to fit in anywhere. I was content at doing me and doing it the best I possibly could, that made me feel easy inside, so blue was that color.
Do you feel like Priscilla put a lot more pressure on you?
Well, Priscilla was a scary point in my career as well as my life. I was going on my own. I was on Universal and I hated what I was doing. I brought Priscilla to them and they said, "This is what I want to do now". They told me, "No, we're not going to do this". Well let me go do it then, so I got dropped and was about to go put out this album on my own, it was a scary thing. The album was about Priscilla, who is an ex-girlfriend and one of the longest relationships I've ever been in. The combination of all those things made it a crazy time. After the EP was a great time, I felt stagnant before that point and I was stuck in a grey area, both artistically and in my life. After that album, things became clearer.
Your videos are dope. You just dropped one yesterday, I loved the aesthetics and the old school introduction style.
We're really going all out with them, creatively, it's refreshing. I wanted to make it a point to do something different and people were probably not expecting it, and they aren't expecting it now.
When did you decide to work with Freddie Gibbs?
Shit, that's a good question. I've wanted to work with Freddie Gibbs for a while. When that song came out, he wanted to get on it, so I was like, "now is the perfect time to get you on something". I've always been a fan of Freddie, we were just working on some stuff for his album and he killed it.
Thank you for the conversation, I'll see you on stage!