An October salutation to all of the probably pretty dang awesome readers of The ChipWIN Blog. Frankly, October is one of my favorite months of the year, at least in Oregon. The temperature tamps down to something a bit more reasonable, the rains start to return, and the local dessert shop starts making their kickass October only pumpkin pie. This year, there’s a little zaniness making the witching month extra special. JANX is back with fresh material on their latest EP, ‘IDGAF’. With each track replete with JANX’s signature ridiculous rhymes and sick chiphop backing, this is an album not be missed. Jump down below the fold to dive into a few tracks, and check out a few words from the artist themselves.
‘Displace the Gra$$‘ takes the top slot for the release, and is well placed. This track (and ‘Deez Cloudz’) is a must listen for anyone with even a passing enjoyment of the natural sciences. The beats backing the track are well-done, yet simple. It’s an excellent choice, as this and the employment of excavation sound effects allows ample attention to be focused on the rap lyrics. JANX’s rapping skills are entertaining, as always, but I found the lyrics themselves to be what really drew my attention to this track. Have you ever heard the word “berm” used in a rap before? You have now. You have been educated, and you’re welcome.
As a bonus – JANX threw together an equally ridiculous music video for this track (and one for ‘Hoe$ Won’t Text Me Back‘!). Check it out below.
JANX adds a touch of levity to a bit of heavy topic in ‘My Empire‘, specifically the wonder and joy of materialism and consumer culture. Which, with its simultaneously hilarious and terrifying lyrics makes accessible the idea of considering a responsible approach in utilizing credit to satisfy one’s materialistic desires. Musically, I again enjoyed the relatively simple beat that allows the lyrics to remain front and center throughout the track. For this track in particular, I especially enjoyed the construction of the instrumentation used beneath the drum beats and claps in the first minute of the track.
‘TurtleNEXT’ is my standout highlight to the EP, with the strongest chiptune influence and most ridiculous lyrics. The chiptune backing comes closer to the surface here, rife with thick arps, tangy slides, and crunchy drums. As delicious as the chips are here, none of them distract from the lovely lyrical collaboration of JANX and Radionarcotix. From the beginning, one may conclude that this is simply a silly rap about how terrible turtleneck sweaters can be (the author doesn’t necessarily disagree with the artist’s opinions on the matter). Then, from left field, Radionarcotix joins the mix, revealing the awful true murderous interdimensional nature of this clothing item of questionable use.
Given that I’ve been curious about JANX’s methods and approach, I reached out to see if they’d be willing to answer a few questions for ChipWIN’s reading public. Graciously, JANX assented and those answers are right here!
V: So, what’s your fifteen second – who be the JANX introduction?
J: Janx is an alter ego rather than a music project. I basically branded myself as the kind of musician who just does whatever and puts it all under the same name. It’s nice and I like it that way. I guess the thing that stands out is that almost all of my songs have lyrics whether they’re raps or vocals. Not everything I write is chiptune either but I do love writing fami and lsdj jams!
V: Geologist, Painter, Illustrator, Rapper, Bleeper of Bloppity Blips. Is there a story behind your acquisition of that diverse a set of talents?
J: I’ve always been the “visual art type” and I’ve been taking art lessons since I was thirteen, so it’s not much of a surprise that I continued doing artsy things even as I grew up. I love making things. My joke songwriting also began when I was thirteen. I started off writing stupid parody versions of random songs I knew which eventually developed into original joke raps in college. Coincidentally my original raps really began to emerge during various geology field trips/field camp. During these trips I wrote joke songs about funny things that happened and places we went during these trips. My brain just kept spitting out all of these stupid ideas and they were all so dumb I had no other option than to show them to other people. Basically, I have way too many hobbies and I jump between all of them constantly. I’m okay at a lot of different things and it keeps me amused while being alive on this spinning hunk of rock in space.
V: The chiptunes – how did you dive so wholeheartedly into that specifically?
J: I got into chiptune because I wanted to find a way to write my own music instrumentals without having to buy any fancy software (ya boi was poor af). Honestly, I didn’t even know what chiptune was when I started writing it. By some miracle I found LMMS, downloaded it, and wrote a bunch of bad songs using the gameboy plugin. It was my favorite one and ended up being in every song! Then chiptune people started following me on Soundcloud and when I listened to their stuff I was like: “Why does theirs sound so much more legit? I WANT TO UNDERSTAND.” And then I found Kubbi’s music (hiiiii!!), which I was instantly obsessed with, and through following his music and social media presence I ended up finding chipwin. Never did I ever think that this ridiculous chain of events would forever change my life. Once I realized I’d been making chiptune one of several ways, I knew I wanted to figure out how to do it in a tracker! I messed around with LSDJ and famitracker and felt that famitracker was a better workflow for me. I really threw my heart into my music after I finally went to my first MAGFest ever. I met so many cool people and heard so much great music that I was inspired to be the very best musician that I could be. I thrive on feedback so every time I went to a show, played a show, or put something up that people responded to, it motivated me to create more and more different kinds of songs. In addition to that, the community has motivated me a great deal to keep getting better. Everyone I’ve met has been so supportive and cool! I learn so much from them and it makes me want to get on their level.
V: The raps – what drives you to make them so ridiculous?
J: I feel like most of the things I do/ am a part of started off being silly. JANX itself started off as a joke. Initially when I started wanting to write electronic music I had these dreams of making sweet wubs and dance music. I tried figuring out what the dumbest DJ name ever would be, and apparently the name janxattixxx won that contest. Yes, it’s the worst. I changed it because I ran into a soundcloud friend in the chipwin group and he said “Oh so you’re JANX!” Because he remembered me from soundcloud. I decided I liked that name more and I changed it. Needless to say, I like amusing myself by being dumb. I enjoy laughing at my own jokes, so if I can make myself laugh with my music, I figure maybe other people will get a kick out of it too.
V: I was a big fan of the musical. What inspired you to bring that to life, and do you have anything epic in that vein percolating in the back of your mind?
J: Thanks Wayne! I still can’t believe I ever actually finished it. I couldn’t have done it without you guys honestly. The musical began, again, as a joke. “Wouldn’t it be funny if there was a musical entirely written in chiptune?” I thought to myself, “ Oh wait, there isn’t one yet. I guess it’s up to me to make it and make it dumb.” And so it began. Over time I discussed the plot and brainstormed song ideas with friends and family and kinda just went for it. I’ll admit it’s cheesy as heck, but that’s half the fun of musicals! I definitely liked the idea that both Sam and Taylor are gender neutral and could be played by anyone so long as they can sing. Maybe some day I’ll get to see it performed live!
V: Seriously – just what would you do with 200 shoes?
J: Maybe I’d hang them on my wall because there’s no way in hell I’d be able to wear them all with equal love.
V: Where to next for JANX? Any plans to loop your other diverse skills into your chiptune creations?
J: Well, I’m hoping to make some more music videos for both lil Janx and hypesquad songs, and I’d love to make chiptune the musical a live show someday. I guess now that I’m done with IDGAF, it’s time to finish this punk album I’ve been working on for half a decade! After that though…who knows? Maybe I can peer pressure people into being in a terrible band with me!
That closes out the Forge for this month. If you like anything you saw or heard here, or just think JANX is a decent human being who deserves some support, pop on over to their Bandcamp. Download the album, toss them some coffee money, and spread the zaniness and love among your friends. The only things that could possibly come of it are world peace or species-wide insanity.
Now get out there, make some chip (or whatever else you feel like creating) and have a good time doing it!