Introducing Fender Sessions, a new YouTube performance series and deep-dive into the creative process. Each month, Sessions will feature a live performance by a band or artist as well as a panel discussion moderated by another artist or industry veteran.
Setting up in the lobby of Fender’s headquarters in Hollywood, Calif., for a Fender Sessions featured spot, FKJ (a.k.a. French Kiwi Juice, a.k.a. Vincent Fenton) surrounded himself with several keyboards, guitars and basses fit for a full band to help create his lush sonic landscapes.
And if you close your eyes, you can envision multiple musicians joining him on stage to actually play these instruments.
But that’s not the case with FKJ, as the Parisian songwriter and producer miraculously manufactures electronic masterpieces all by himself.
Growing up in the city of Tours, FKJ began playing guitar and writing at the age of 12. Perhaps it’s that early relationship with the guitar that keeps him rooted to organic instruments as he modernizes French house music.
“I learned how to produce after I learned how to play instruments,” he said while interviewed by DJ Travis Holcomb of Los Angeles’ venerable radio station KCRW. “My first introduction to music was from a musician’s point of view, and at that time, I was listening to a lot of blues and jazz and soul.”
That experimental mindset is evident as the self-taught instrumentalist began his half-hour session. With a room full of fans that had caught the vibe from three EPs (The Twins, Take Off and Time For A Change), his acclaimed performances at the Coachella, CRSSD and Lightning in a Bottle festivals, and his 2017 self-titled debut album, FKJ completely improvised three gems that are sure to keep any listener’s head nodding in approval.
That singular spontaneous skill is what separates FKJ from other artists.
“It really depends on the situation,” he said of his creative process. “If I always start with the same thing, I’m going to be bored. I need something to stimulate my inspiration, so I always start with something different. I like to search for an unusual sound and that can lead me to different melodies and chord progressions.”
Bouncing from synthesizer to keyboard to his trusty Fender American Performer Jazzmaster or American Performer Jazz Bass, FKJ gave everyone a taste of what to expect from his must-see live shows. And if you catch him in concert, you’ll likely to see him add a saxophone to the mix.
“There are no rules,” he explained. “Sometimes, I’ll just go to the studio for fun, just to mess around. But that can lead to something good. It’s really live and in the moment.”
“When I play a show, I do a setlist a few hours before it, but there are always moments when it’s free flowing.”
For this edition of Fender Session, FKJ delivered on that promise, as he seamlessly bridged musical genres as only he can.