Trap Queen

JamCam & The Spectrum of Human Archetypes
September 29, 2015 2:19 pm

Is JamCam too foreign for a yokel like me? Too intangible? Or is this just the music/social app I’ve been looking for? I don’t want to find new music, and I don’t want to find new friends. I just want to watch strangers lip-sync pop songs. Not the entire song either–no that would be exhausting. I want short, 15-second, Snapchat-esque selfie videos. “Who are these people?” I ask. “What are their stories? Do they feel what I feel when I listen to Justin Bieber’s ‘What Do You Mean’?”

That was a trick question, of course, because I’d never listen to that song (or feel anything if I did). Don’t make me laugh.

JamCam app

As far as I can tell JamCam is Vine meets Chatroulette, with a little bit of Snapchat and a lot bit of top-40 hits. I do not picture myself sending my friends JamCam videos (no matter how much they miss me), nor would I otherwise be listening to the selection of songs featured on the app. However, I am totally fascinated by the people in the videos. I love people, looking at them and stuff. Comparing them to myself, trying to analyze where I fall on the great spectrum of human archetypes. And JamCam has people, you better believe it. People I can relate to, people I can’t relate to, people who make me look in the mirror and question everything I’ve ever known. “Who am I, how did I get here, and where am I going?!”

About half the time, the person is a child: Preteen girl lip-syncing Ke$ha into her phone. Skinny boy with glasses screaming “Let It Go.” Baby on swingset with “Gangnam Style.” Sometimes they seem appropriately innocent, just a girl taking a selfie video at school. A few concern me though, the way my mother might be concerned if she saw a very young girl mouthing The Weeknd’s “The Hills.” This girl really understands what she’s singing, but I’d rather she didn’t.

More revealing though are the adults. My cursory analysis suggests about a 50/50 split between kids and grown-ups, but the 50 that can vote are a lot more varied in character. A woman in Lululemon singing “Dancing Queen” on the stairmaster. A scruffy, chubby, white dude blasting Rob Zombie in the car at night. A shameless older black woman absolutely crushing “Stayin’ Alive.” These are human beings just like me. They talk and poop and love. They film themselves singing “Moves Like Jagger” while driving, because multitasking is easy! They don’t need your attitude, thank you very much. “What a great song, watch me sing it!”

And then out of nowhere everybody’s vaping (thanks a lot hipsters)! Smoke and Drake just pouring out of their mouths. I’d love to figure out some sort of correlation/causation situation here, but it doesn’t seem to be limited to any particular demographic. College girls vape in groups. Older bros vape on the street (or wherever the hell they want, bro). Suspiciously young-looking people stare proudly into the camera as they suck down that vapor. Ooo, delicious!

Now I’m not one to get carried away with things, but I just cannot stop watching the seemingly endless amateur karaoke show that is JamCam. I even posted my own video (The Killers’ “Somebody Told Me”) but then grumpily deleted it because I looked terrible. Couldn’t pull it off, sorry. Better to focus on other people’s lives, how they spend their time, what their priorities are, who they lip-sync Backstreet Boys hits with. Am I like them? Would I have looked so innocent at that age (had I a smartphone and JamCam)? Should I vape? What can I learn from these strangers? Can I amass enough data to positively alter my social interactions? Am I changing how I see others and, in turn, myself? Do I actually like “What Do You Mean”?

None of these questions have an answer, and that’s a good thing. Ignorance is bliss. I don’t wanna know. Don’t think about it. It doesn’t have to make sense. All I need is a 15 second glimpse into the musical life of a stranger, and I’m good. Butter me up and serve me at dinner, baby. I’ll just be over here, watching me-as-a-kid vaping along to “Trap Queen.”

Us. Releases A New Take On Trap Queen
May 19, 2015 4:04 pm

Us. is the solo project of Houston artist, Avery Davis.  We had the pleasure of catching this emerging artist this year at SXSW where he put on an impressive solo set at the Spider House in Austin.  Finding out that he began playing the drums at 5 years old, guitar at 11, piano by 14 and had started recording himself as a pre-teen was of no surprise to us at Atypical Sounds.  Us. was truly a natural progression for him as a musician.

Hearing how he got his start in playing music is truly something to marvel at.  He began playing the drums at 5, with his first musical mentor , blues legend, Little Joe Washington.  Washington was a Houston native and lived upstairs from a venue, not far from his childhood home.  Davis father is a photographer and would regularly shoot photos of Joe.  Davis tells us, “he was the first person who I ever played with.  That’s how I learned how to “jam” and musically fit in with others”.  At age 7,  he played his very first live show.  It was at Houston’s Continental Club with Little Joe Washington.

At 16, he began producing electro house music and DJ’ing.  He DJ’ed in a duo with his longtime friend and former band mate from another project, Aidan Kennedy.  They were very creatively called, A&A. Though it was relatively short-lived, they played a bunch of shows and threw a lot of parties within a couple of years.  Davis recognizes that this is what got him started in dance music and more synth-based production.  Aidan and him didn’t make music together until last year, where he would spend  5 months as the live drummer for Wrestlers.

During his stint with Wrestlers, is when his solo project began.  It was the culmination of a bad break up, a lull in productivity with his previous band Twenty Eleven and just needing a new creative outlet. Davis says, “he found a new voice when he began creating all of his music by himself”.  Us is entirely written, performed, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Davis. He says that this was his first time doing anything on his own and he really had no intentions of taking it much further than an EP release on Soundcloud.  That however, quickly snowballed.

“For years I played in rock bands, DJ’ed dance music and also did production for local hip hop and R&B acts.  It wasn’t until I recorded my debut EP, “V.XXVII,IX,” that I recorded vocals.  Honestly, it was the first time that I’d really ever heard myself sing!”

When we asked him what inspired him to cover Fetty Wap’s, Trap Queen, his answer was simple. “I really love hip hop! I’ve been so distant from that scene since beginning my solo project.  The song is super fun and I also wanted to do a cover of something that people wouldn’t expect.  I love putting my own spin on stuff that’s totally different”.

This Summer is completely devoted to his first full-length album.  He hopes to have that finished within the next few months and will be playing as often as he can this summer. While his EP was more of a grieving process and to get things off of his chest, Davis tells us that he is currently working on his debut LP.  Topically, it is shaping up to be a much more well rounded project because of where he is personally.  While he records most of his songs at Twenty Eleven’s studio, he can easily transport everything and sometimes takes his work home with him.  Lately he has really been enjoying recording in the living room of his new apartment.  “It’s beautiful and just sets a great mood that is so conducive to the creative process”.  This is going to be an album about make ups, break ups, hook ups and everyone in between.

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Us.’s cover of Trap Queen will be his first promo release, before he starts putting out official singles towards his new album this summer.  For more information on Us. and to hear more of his music you can check out his Soundcloud.

Us. will be on tour this summer, so be sure to catch him as he comes through NYC and Brooklyn this July. We are certain this is going to be one artist you will be hearing a lot more from.