What’s your name? Where are you from?
“My name is Jimy. Starsmp3. I’m 21, and based out of bullshit Pennsylvania. It’s like, southern PA– pretty close to the Maryland border.”
When did you start making music? What motivated you to do so?
“I started making music in late 2018– no, late 2019. It’s been about four years. Before that, I was 13 or 14, and I started playing Call of Duty a lot. I really got into Black Ops 2, and I wanted to join all the sniping teams. I wanted to be like FaZe Clan. But, I was not a good enough player to get in based on that. So I was like, “Oh, I’ll just be a graphic designer. I can join the teams that way.” So I started doing that. I was like, “Oh, I can also do the editing!” I could edit the montages and get on the teams that way. Boom. I never really got into any big teams, but I was doing, like, graphic shit and video shit and just general creative stuff on the computer for a long time. Then, I feel like that was just a pipeline; a lot of CoD kids ended up producing, just cause– like, especially when you’re editing montages, you kinda have a thing for music. You’re editing to the music. I was also like a little band kid, always playing the drums and shit. It was just another creative avenue to try, and it was just so fun, and I really really liked it and kept with it the longest. I didn’t really like graphic stuff as much, my favorite part of video editing was the music with it, and I always just– music was always just so important to me. I felt like it would make more sense. Like, graphic design can be a real job, but nobody gets rich off music. That’s just a pipe dream, and you're stuck as a SoundCloud rapper forever. “You shouldn’t pursue that.” “It’s a waste of time.” That probably played a part in it, but I’m really happy I did this shit.”
Who were your influences at the beginning of your production career?
“So my influences were a lot of SoundCloud-era artists and producers. I started– I mean, I was looking for songs to edit videos to, so probably that whole phonk era. Fifty Grand, Ginseng, uhh… just any sort of producer that was making flips of songs. Like, I don’t know, one of my favorites is the MadeinTYO’s “Hunnid Dolla” flip by– I forget the name but, like, “hundred- hundred dollar bill!” It was the really wavy one that some producer flipped. I remember loving that song. Producers flipping songs, like, putting acapellas on their own beats in that kind of era was just– that was really my favorite type of music, so I wanted to make shit like that. And of course, around that time, like, old Carti, X and Ski, that whole group of rappers and stuff.”
Who influences you most at this point in your career?
“Then cut to now, who influences me? Lucki, for sure. Future, for sure. Jaydes, for sure. Jaydes is probably my favorite artist right now if I had to pick one. That guy's harmonies and the way he pans his vocals– his vocals are so beautiful. And his beat selection is crazy, like, ‘Elastic’ is a crazy song. Stuff like that.”
How would you describe your style of production?
“I would describe my production style as… ambient, and interesting… and loud 808s. And versatile, maybe an amalgamation is a good word. ‘Cause there’s some phonk elements, some pretty ass piano (a la Izaya Tiji) elements, and there’s… a bunch of weird shit all combining into [my style]. I’m definitely on my way to a distinct style, I definitely have a lot of distinct things and a lot of distinct drum sounds, but I feel like [...] only me recognizes that. I fuck around with my drumkits all day, so I’m like, “This is my clap, I love this clap, this is my sound.” I don’t feel like that’s as apparent to other people yet, though. Some examples are “Sunset” by Lucki and “Higher” by Overpaid, and “Skrt” by Kodak [Black] are like.. Top 3 favorite songs, favorite instrumentals to me. I try to make shit somewhat similar to that. But I can do boom bap shit, and I can do a lot of different styles. I also love Eem Triplin, [with] the way he does drill music and uses drill hats but kinda does it a different way than the classic New York drill.. That is really influential to me right now. It impacted my current style, for sure. “
Who are your favorite collaborators to work with?
“I like making music with people that I’m a fan of. I’ll always hear somebody’s something and be like, “Oh wow! This is sick, I would listen to this; let me get in on the action.” You know? And then DM them and be like, “Can I send some loops?” Like, how can I provide value for you because you are doing something that I like and appreciate from afar, and I want to get involved. That’s kind of my thought process around it. Back in the day, Level$ was one of my favorites. Rest in peace. That man changed my life because he just added me in some group chats, and like, so many people I know today are from him. A lot can be attributed to him, and that’s just crazy, so everyone– I feel like everyone that was friends with him, I love collaborating with. Like, there’s Doki, there’s Apartment9– there’s you, I think. I’m pretty sure we met based on Level$, I’m not entirely sure. [AN: We did not meet from Level$, Stars heard my XO1 beat tape and contacted me in 2021, then we reconnected through the artist Hytes. Rest in peace to Level$, a true legend and amazing artist.]
For artists, @probablyzion, @1__vslove, @tara4rushing, @heavensentence, @whereistome, @ry2kawaii, @Bew_D. That’s the quickest– most recent ones that I can think of. For producers, you, easily. Esse, for sure. @Illysochilly, and [I’m] a huge fan of Baredex. I don’t think we have any beats together, actually, but I’m trying to get that. @ERKINYURTA, that’s my guy. We produced a song for Yung Bambi. @prodkapras. Scrolling through my DMs, there are so many different people that I fuck with so heavy, and it’s so hard to pick them out. But yeah, there’s a lot of people I’m fans of in the underground– in our little scene– and it’s just crazy to see.”
What’s your creative process when making beats? How has it changed over time?
“My creative process? I don’t know, it’s not some profound shit. Just like, I love making beats. I feel like I probably have ADHD. It’s not diagnosed, but I’ve always had attention problems, so I’ll be doing something, and I’ll like– “Oh, I should do this, I should open FL.” FL gets me to stick. Every time I open FL, I make at least two loops. Two beats. Like, two is my thing. I could be doing homework, and I’ll be like, let me make two loops before I go out. Before I go to class. I try to stay inspired a lot. When I’m in the school library, I get distracted. I’ll be trying to do homework, and I’ll end up watching a thirty-minute video about unique samples that PinkPantheress used. Like, just watching beat tutorials and… I don’t know if you’ve seen those Tracklib videos where they kinda break down samples. Those are so entertaining. I get a lot of TikToks of other producers. Obviously, on Twitter and everything, I try to stay inspired by the people around me and what I see. I also go outside. That’s part of my creative process, I would argue. I’m up at 7 every day, I go to the gym, and I run. It keeps me sane, and that’s a very important part of maintaining my mental health, which is also maintaining my creative process. That’s pretty macro-scale.
If you wanna get into it, deep down, I just click fuckin’ notes in. I’ve spent a long time studying– makes it sound like I’m goddamn Gary the Scholar from Spongebob [laughs]-- I do know a lot about chords. A decent amount about scales and chords and note intervals, just kinda brute forcing… I’ve made so many melodies, I can just tell what’s gonna work and what doesn’t, and I just randomly get at it. Drums, at this point.. it’s like second nature to me. I was in band [class] playing drums, so I knew how to read sheet music pretty well. Just for rhythm, I can’t really read notes on sheet music. I understand rhythms, and it comes pretty naturally to me. For the first full year I was producing, I was only flipping Looperman loops. That was it. I swear, I only made like ten melodies my whole first year. It was just more fun to do drums. I’ve just learned so much over so many different tutorials and stayed so inspired. And copying people, for sure. Seeing a beat I like and then remaking, one-to-one, the drum pattern. Not really using it, but then I can take one little thing from that experience and do something else.”