The Los Angeles Film School held a Q&A session with RnBass creator, J Maine, and independent artist, Maurice Moore.
The event was moderated by Deamber Parker, a student of LAFS. J Maine and Maurice Moore talked in depth about how to make it in music industry, how they got to where they are today, and advice for anyone aspiring to make, produce and promote music. Below are some highlights from the Q&A.
Q&A with RnBass
Deamber: What is RnBass?
J Maine: RnBass is a genre of music that I basically coined from modern R&B. R&B today is very confusing as to what it really is. It’s got hip hop, pop, and you put a bunch of titles on it so I invented RnBass as a term to replace all those slashes on the genre.
Deamber: How did RnBass start?
J Maine: I was first a record producer and making beats. One day in the studio, in early 2014, I was fed up with the industry because people steal your beats, your lyrics and your ideas. So I decided to create a SoundCloud at first. After starting on SoundCloud, I started curating songs without even knowing it. I started putting songs on there that I felt were in the RnBass world, and I started being a curator of music without even knowing it. So I created an Instagram and from there I just posted all the stuff I liked. That’s when it got really real on Instagram.
Deamber: Before RnBass and artist work, what did you both do?
J Maine: I was producing, and I also worked at T Mobile like five or six years before that. So my sales game was on point. T Mobile actually did help, randomly enough. Everything in my life leading up to starting RnBass helped me in a weird way. I played video games growing up—teamwork. I played sports—dedication and teamwork. Every little thing up to this point helped me create RnBass.
Moore: I came from a football background. My primary passion and natural God-given talent was athletics. I had always dabbled in music and had a particular liking for it, but I never actually decided this is what I wanted to do with my life. It was always football, get good grades, go to school, and train. And that’s where I thought I was going to go with my whole life. My fantasy and dream was to play in the NFL. Until I got to my first year of college on scholarship, that’s when I realized music spoke to me in a way that I was no longer getting out of football. After my first semester of college, I dropped out. It ended up being an amazing opportunity for me. I will say to anybody, taking personal responsibility is the first step. Once you have a vision of where you want to go you have to suddenly claim the responsibility of that vision. So with music, I put my whole heart into it. I moved from Ottawa, Canada, to Los Angeles. The rest is sort of history.
Deamber: There’s a statistic that people listen to music about 32 hours a week. How do you make your music stand out from the rest?
Moore: I think traditionally people would view me as an RnBass or RnB artist. But I think where these pivotal moments happened for me were when I started embracing the things that I loved outside of the genre I was making. At this point, I feel like that’s the only thing you can do as an artist to stand out. Merge worlds and don’t be afraid to channel that into your music. I’m a big Shania Twain fan and I loved country music growing up, but I’m also an R&B artist. The key is to wear all of your inspirations on your sleeves. That’s what being an artist is all about.
Deamber: How has the music industry changed and now?
J Maine: That is a hilarious question. That’s the question of the year right there. The music industry changes every week. Honestly, I know this is the LA Recording School and there’s classes for everything. The craziest thing is by the time you graduate the music industry is already on another level. The industry is forever changing. I remember in 2013-2014 it was a radio era. Now, people’s first thought isn’t to be on radio, it’s are we on that Spotify playlist or Apple playlist. The industry is forever changing.
Moore: I think the secret now is being on the platform that you know your audience is at. Find that niche and keep hitting it.
Deamber: What’s an interesting trend that is happening in 2018?
J Maine: People are breaking music through memes. What I mean by that is Rich the Kid had a homeless man on the corner doing that dance to his song. That meme alone broke his record almost. That’s definitely a new trend, putting the music in funny memes, subconsciously, so people can hear it.
Deamber: What’s the grind like for you as an independent artist, Maurice?
Moore: I’d say if you’re going to be an independent artist the first thing you gotta understand is that it’s a lot of work. More work than most people are really aware of when they first start doing it. To support yourself financially, you have to treat your craft like a business, because with making money you have to make your content monetizable. Make sure your music is on these platforms you can monetize, and Spotify is good at finding upcoming talent. When you’re an independent artist, you don’t have the fat paycheck to throw around at people, especially early on so. Instead of “hey work with me, here’s a thousand dollars.” Maybe it’s “hey work with me I’m really good, I don’t have much but listen to my stuff. And if you like it, let me know how I can be a part of it.” One thing leads to another and it all sort of just boils over time.
Deamber: How do you become an A&R since there isn’t really a major for it?
Moore: Traditionally, Artists and Repertoire (A&R) is essentially someone who is the liaison between the label and the artist. So they develop the talent and teach them how to record, and the label would release the music and put them wherever they need to be. Today, if you are an A&R, there are many ways to do that besides working for a record label. You can do it freelance, but it’s not a guaranteed thing. You have to network and be a super connector. You need to take it upon yourself to know all of the new interesting musicians, the producers, the writers, etc. Do your research and RSVP to events and meet people.
Deamber: How does one get their music on RnBass?
J Maine: Be dope as hell.
On buying followers:
Moore: I’ll be honest, when I first first started I had fake followers and it actually personally helped me because we live in this world where it’s normal to have 10K and when I first started, I didn’t have 10K followers. I had 500 followers. And so, some people might look over your stuff and might not give your content a chance solely based off that number, which is shallow and silly. You sort of have to play the game. Now, my engagement is very organic.
On branding and rebranding tips:
J Maine: With branding it’s important to evolve over time. I think that people have a way of disposing of something once they’ve figured it out. And that kind of sucks. So if you’re a product, make sure it’s getting better over time. Know who you are as an artist. Everything you post should speak to who you are as a person.
It’s important to have a brand.
Just be you and be unique.
Transform with the times.