The last time this publication gave any attention to Bronx Rap artist and producer Flywavez, was to cover his twenty minute EP “Blue Light High”. That particular album was recorded some years ago before taking a five year hiatus in his Hip Hop music career. He’s recently been in the studio churning out a number of singles to streaming Internet Platforms.
Those who have been following the career and activity of this artist are well aware that Flywavez was the moniker used for the production aspect of his music. Previously he’s rapped with the stage name “Fly Jay”.
Flywavez behind the scenes is much more than simply a recording artist. Today he’s a well versed songwriter, vocalist, composer, instrumentalist, content creator, and fashion designer. His web development firm is now primarily ran by others which affords him the ability to focus on the one thing that truly drives the person — his music.
Very recently he dropped off some new music that he’s set to release, and sat down (by request) and discussed a few things with me about a new music campaign that he’s on to. He had only one small plea for this unusual open window in his schedule: a cup of silver needle white tea from Africa which we often stock in a community cupboard in the next room.
Testing the degree of heat coming from his cup he begins, “Flywavez was always the name of my musical production side, like the instrumentation. I kept a lot of my Rap, a lot of my EDM, a lot of my pure down tempo non-genre music and all that separate. Actually, I kept a lot of my creative aspects or personas, if you will, separate. They all had their own corner and time to surface, or if they were out at the same time, then they had to be separate. I went to great lengths to keep them separate, especially to people. It’s weird.”
It’s actually rare that Flywavez goes more than a few hours without smoking a spliff of marijuana and today is no different. Using one of the office tables (politely choosing one with the least amount of ‘official looking papers’ as he put it) to roll some pretty pungent smelling reefer, he ponders the thought of being multiple personas as he continues:
“Man, that’s how you can go crazy”, he says while using the finger gestures to signify he means ‘quote, unquote’ when he says ‘crazy’. “Keeping up with all of those different manifestations of yourself. For me it’s creativity, and I don’t know why I wanted to keep them all separate. I guess I felt it made them more interesting, or if I wanted to fade one or the other out it wouldn’t effect me or what I was doing.”
Flywaves puts forth his thoughts in musing form, slightly enunciating certain words in his conversation as if he’s humorously asking himself if many of the situations that he created were all together the reality of the case or worth hardship he experienced from them. However at the same time there is never a hint of regret or sign of any thoughts of impossibility. In fact, it’s just the opposite. There is a clear optimism and ‘can do/will do’ attitude to every part of explaining his plan and aspiration. He unfolds that the artist name he selected had to first and foremost be authentically fitting to him while at the same time needed to make good business sense.
“I don’t know, man. But if it were up to me I’d maybe keep them separate. It became too difficult. I do so much more shit than just music. It’s like yo, these things all go together. These are all like parts of a body of work. Like my hand, I don’t fucking take it off and make it be a hand over there, but no one can know it’s part of the body of me”, he says heavily laughing to himself — obviously amused. “But anyway, it was practical. So many dudes were rapping as ‘Fly Jay’, and Flywavez just sounds hella cool. I was gonna do ‘Fly Island’, but I don’t know, that just didn’t feel authentically me.”
So “Flywavez” it was. He seems to be more comfortable with this identity, especially by knowing he’ll be putting forth music of several different genres. He’s perfectly fine in seeing that all these genres act as a single point of eminence. Artists (and many times every day people) often take a lot of time planning a path to a place in life, however we often don’t put any effort to actually fully executing it. Flywaves realizes he has lost years second guessing whether pursuing music was worth the effort. After being released from serving time for a drug conviction in 2010, he started on a tech oriented career that was actually working out quite well for him.
He explains, “I fell off. I more so pushed myself off. I was embarrassed because shit didn’t take off like I expected them to, right away. I didn’t have the understanding that it’s a long ass grind. With anything. I was under the erroneous notion that just because something is a work of art, or a good idea, that the world will just come flocking to it ready to worship! I felt like, yo my music is awesome! people need to be coming to this. I would go out on foot, take far trips with my music, but if it didn’t seem like it was a hit or like I was on a good roll in the first few days, I’d get discouraged and quit.”
“I lied to myself that it was the tech career that was for me. I’m grateful for it because it afforded me some nice shit. Experiences and all that. But it wasn’t what I was about. Yeah I ended up creating my company and some other hustles off of the tech and programming knowledge, but it all kept coming back full circle to the music. Fighting it off, and not properly dealing with the embarrassment of failure in the first steps, led to depression. That’s another story though. For a later time.”
Flywavez isn’t about to let any sad stories get in the way of his ‘conscious ascension’ (as he refers to the mind-set) .. he puts the Kabosch on those ‘cry in one’s beer’ (or joint) opportunities quickly. Politely, he asks if he should step outside to partake in his marijuana cigarette. After telling Flywaves that he can smoke wherever he likes while on the property, he still chooses to exit in order to take a few quick puffs before returning back in after about ninety seconds. Just as before he left he swings back in the side fire escape door smoothly and casually. In a state of what he described as preliminary buzz the music Flywaves creates sounds as he lives. The guy is not one to be very excitable or easily roused up, instead he’s the observant type, one who listens to a full thought or explanation before offering his responses.
Since the beginning of March, he’s been releasing music on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and a small hand full of other go-to online outlets. In relying primarily on Instagram and Twitter for promotion, his followers have been treated to the more personal approach to music marketing — clever, easily identifiable captions alluding to his song titles or song content. These posts, found mostly on his Instagram account, usually have an artistic graphic, or a slant-on-life photo of the man that plays into the theme of the song at hand.
“Right now, I’m just putting out music. No real structure. I have albums and EPs mapped out, but for now and while I still have a lot of life to deal with, I just put out these songs that I have been. Just to get attention, to get the algorithms on the platforms cognizant of me and to be known for a certain sound quality. My biggest lack right now is a major sounding studio because I’m traveling a lot for other purposes. But I get some good stuff out, and it I’m just trying to have enough shit up posted so when people check for me, they see a decent catalog and not just like two or three songs from 8 months ago. I’ve had that type of skid, and if this is something you really fucking want, then you have to be willing to go at least a year or two with no real groundbreaking.”
Not to confuse, Flywavez approaches this music campaign with a very serious and strong business minded side-perspective. He understands that the opportunity for making large amount of cash from streaming royalties, albeit a pittance is something that can perhaps be manifested by releasing multiple songs on multiple platforms, regularly.
“Yeah the platforms and the Internet as a whole makes it easy for artists to blow these days. Before when it was just like mp3.com and Soundclick, you only had other musicians on there, not really people who just wanted to be listeners or fans. A few listeners and audiophiles, but no real platform that you could have a fan base on. It was an artist market only. Then the social media platforms started shitting on music posts from other platforms. You couldn’t post a Reverbnation player on Facebook and expect it to be seen. So social media, well Facebook model social media, fucked it up for the online music promo. For me anyway. The platforms brought it back. The playlists and algorithms are good, and when everyone has a smart phone in their hand, and usually has music playing, from a platform that your music is on also, it makes sense to go back into the streets with marketing.”
He wraps up his now extinguished joint, places it in into his bag of refer and places it in his inner jacket pocket signaling that he has to be on his way. Reaching into his back pants pocket, he drops a handful of small, one-inch by one quarter-inch promotional cards with “Flywavez”, his artist website, and his social media handles. I easily convince him to let me get these and some others he has stashed a little further in on camera. He obliges and even briefly lends a little artistic value by spreading the items out a bit better for the photo. ‘Every presentation is important’ he semi-seriously chuckles.
As I help him pick the promotional items from the floor he adds “I take these everywhere with me. I give them to people on the train out in New York, I hand them out at airports, leave them in bodegas, all that. Just in the streets evangelizing Flywavez. They are already on their phones with Spotify or Apple Music on. YouTube and all that. So it’s easier now. And if you have some really good music, then you’re gonna be ok with a solid and smart work ethic.”
Flywaves continues: “These songs I’m out with as of recent, are songs I’ve made from having beats laying around and rhymes galore. I have a few thousand verses, few hundred songs. Some songs that I’ve recorded before and they sound better with a new beat, or the beat from before wasn’t paid for, or some other reason. Some are freshly written. I can write a song, well a verse, at the drop of a hat. But these are my kicking-up of dust songs. To let the world know I’m here and steady with material.”
Ianbillen.com will be keeping tabs on the music of Flywavez and will feature or review brand new music that he releases.
You can check out his material on his site Flywavez.com or on any popular music streaming platform.
Ian Billen –