Interview: Flint Eastwood

It was several minutes past the time we were supposed to meet up with Detroit-native, Flint Eastwood aka Jax Anderson, when we found out that we were at the wrong location of the coffee shop we had agreed to meet at. We power-walked to where she was, sitting on a bench in front of Ivy & Coney, midwestern dive bar, and right below a Detroit Lions flag. It was a beautiful coincidence appropriate for the conversation that unfolded. Because if there’s one message we took away from Anderson that day, it’s that life will unfold as it’s meant to and that it’s all about appreciating the journey. Check-out our full bench-side conversation with below.

In your most recent EP, “THIS IS A COPING MECHANISM FOR A BROKEN HEART,” I feel like it’s one of the first times you’ve opened up about a romantic relationship. When and why did you decide to start talking about that on your third EP?

It was just something that happened. A lot of times when I release something, it’s because it was an event that took place that I then write a few songs about. For this specific occurrence it was the first time that I had gone through a breakup. We were together for so long it felt like a marriage, so the breakup felt like a divorce. When it ended, it felt like a gap that needed to be addressed in some way. It felt natural to write about. It wasn’t a messy end at all.

Collecting my thoughts here. At what point what do you think you know the one?

That’s a really good question. I don’t know if I’ve ever met anybody like that. I think it’s a person-by-person kind of thing. Everyone has a lot of different types of soulmates. It could be friendship soulmate, a work soulmate, it could be a I’ve-met-you-for-five-seconds soulmate, but I think it’s beautiful if you can find ‘the one’. I think there is something about our culture that teaches us an expectation that there’s one person that can fulfill every part of our life and I think that’s just not true. That’s impossible to have.  A lot of relationships will be really f*cked-up because of that expectation. I think that once you find out who you are, and can find someone that understands you, then they’re a great extension to that growth- in my opinion, might be different from others.

100-percent. I think every person is different, so naturally, every love should be different. So, in addition to the EP, what else have you done to cope with your broken heart and are you healed?

Yeah, it happened a year ago, so I’ve had a lot of time to process. For me, I just took a lot of time for myself. I wanted to intentionally learn how to be comfortable and happy by myself. Both in a physical setting, when I’m home alone, and where I like myself and am comfortable being a single person. A lot of the times, it’s easy to just jump into different relationships and always be with someone just because it’s comfortable, but for me, I wanted to take time to figure out who I was. I spent a lot of time sweeping my apartment, and reading, and taking baths; all that wonderful self-care stuff. It’s been a really good year of growth for me.   

We were stalking you and saw a post that really spoke to us, where you said, “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to love yourself. I guess I always assumed there would be an ah-ha moment & suddenly it would all become second nature. Now I’m finding it’s more of a wave than a destination & that’s ok.” Can you elaborate on this reflection a bit more?

Again, it’s that expectation that there’s a destination for everything.

Or where there’s an age where you “have it figured out.”

Right. It’s an on-going wave of figuring things out, re-evaluating things, and seeing if what you’re doing is actually the best thing for you. It’ s self-care included, because sometimes if I spend too much time in the bath, then I’m not getting my work done, and I have a lot of people upset at me, so I need to manage all the things in the best way possible. Everything is a balance, a balance that is always changing and you just have to be open to that change.

Now that you’ve written about this chapter of your life, are you thinking about the next chapter and what the message for your album will be?

Definitely. The next record will definitely reflect a lot more of who I am. I’ve always written about events and the songs I’m writing now are a lot more reflective of me as a person and what I think about existence, that kind of stuff.

What would be one piece of those insights that you want people to take away?

That the world is still a beautiful place. It’s very easy to get caught up in how much bad is happening right now, because there are a lot of bad things and negativity going around, but as a result a lot of change is happening, good change. People are really starting to stand-up for themselves, a lot of groups of people are being more vocal. I think that’s awesome and I respect it a lot. But getting caught up in the negativity, it’s easy to forget that there’s a lot of good in the world as well. It’s easy to weigh the worries of the world so much on your shoulders, that you just forget about the beautiful color schemes of fall, the person with the dope sweater, finding a penny on the ground. It’s easy to get distracted and forget all those good little things. With my music that’s what I try to provide. I always say before I go on stage, “Let’s encourage people to authentically be themselves, while authentically being ourselves.” I think that the best way to realize the happiness in life is learning how to be authentically yourself.  

Wow, that’s beautiful. I don’t know how to follow-up on that that. I think you are doing a lot of positive things, especially with the Detroit community through Assemble Sound. From that, switching gears, since you’re at the heart of an artist creative space, do you see any genres/styles/themes that we should look out for in the next year?

Let me think. I think people are being a lot more honest. It’s really cool. It’s very mentally taxing to be a musician and a lot of artists have a lot of mental health issues, and they’re starting to be a lot more vocal about it. It’s really awesome. I think people are going to start to get really honest with how they feel. It’s a glamorized field. What other job do you know that when you finish your job, there’s a room full of people clapping for you. It’s very strange. It’s glamorized where you get this idea that you can never complain, everything is supposed to look perfect, and be perfect all the time. For artists, that’s just not a reality, our jobs are really f*cking hard. It’s cool that artists are being more vulnerable and honest about it. I think across the board, people don’t want to hear generic bullsh*t. They want to hear the raw.

How, if at all, has Assemble Sound changed Detroit from when you started it to where it is today?

I don’t think Assemble Sound has necessarily changed Detroit. I think we’ve just entered into a little bit of the fabric. A lot of people don’t realize that Detroit has birthed a ton of genres: Motown, Techno, Garage Rock. Detroit is one of those places where the artists never go away. Original Motown artists still live there. A lot of the original Techno artists still live there. They never went anywhere, the mainstream media just stopped reporting about them. Us starting a studio isn’t us coming and saying that we’re revamping the Detroit music scene. That’s not what we’re saying. We’re just trying to take the history and what’s already there and say, “How can we help?”; “What can we provide you because you know way more than us?”; “What can we learn from you?” I think Assemble is more so a community of likeminded musicians and not representative of an entire scene at all. It’s just a bunch of friends that make music and work together.

Why do you think Detroit artists stay there as opposed to moving to New York or LA?

Detroit mother*ckers don’t give a sh*t about fame. It’s amazing. I can’t speak for every musician, but for me, when I go home, everyone treats me like I work at some firm. It’s the same questions of, “How’s work?”; “How’s life?” Nobody is treating me differently for what I do. It feels authentic and real. I’ve lived in a lot of cities where that’s not the case. I’m all about skipping the bullsh*t. I don’t want anything from you. I’m not trying to be your friend because you can help with my music. I just want to be your friend because I think you’re interesting. Detroit is very conducive to that.

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All photos by Raelena Kniff.