ONE ON ONE WITH MIDDLESPOON
Tell us your real names, country of birth, date of birth and childhood experience.
We are Jinx McGee and Alexander Beatz, both born in the good ol’ U.S. of A.
Beatz was born in 1986 in Los Angeles, CA, though he was raised in Maui, HI.
He attended college in San Marcos, TX where he met future collaborator, Jinx. McGee, born in ’82, dropped out of highschool during his junior year to pursue a career in music. He moved to Austin shortly afterwards where he and Alexander met, though it was several years later when the duo began writing music together.
Tell us about your music career, your band name, musical background, experience and skills.
Jinx has a long history in the Texas music scene, having toured with folk band, The Blue Hit, for almost a decade. It was through his work with The Blue Hit that he became a local staple in the Austin music scene, which resulted in him working with dozens of other artists in the studio, producing records, tracking guitars and co-writing with some of Austin’s finest. While McGee was in Austin perfecting his craft, Beatz was on the west coast founding a cannabis farm/business called Flower For Life. Alexander had attended performing arts school in Ojai, CA and worked with a variety of local musicians, but had yet to release any music. The duo started working together in 2016 on his first record, but the chemistry was obvious and thus MIDDLESPOON was born.
Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music video and the song.
The concept behind MIDDLESPOON is simple: FUN. The duo melds soul, dance, and pop while showcasing their prodigious skillset – McGee on the music, Beatz on the vocals. The idea/concept behind their first single/video was to showcase their songwriting ability, while providing multiple layers of meaning. ‘LightningBug’ is meant to be an earworm, and prove the duo’s pop sensibility while also bringing a subtle queer twist to a genre they’ve dubbed “Banana Pop”. The subsequent video was intended to challenge people to suspend their judgements of others and themselves, ultimately encouraging the listener to let go of social pressure and just HAVE A GOOD TIME!
Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a musician and the ups and downs you have faced in the music business.
While Alexander was establishing a business in California, he was collecting and experimenting with gear; vocal fx pedals, loop machines, synths and samplers. This collection of gear is now a large part of the duo’s sound. Jinx was touring relentlessly at this time, and quickly learned the true challenge of balancing creativity and business. We still think this is a challenge facing a lot of artists today; not just creating music that you are passionate about, but having the ambition and mindset to properly release and market music to the world.
Tell us about other members of your band, crew or music video director and how the music video was shot.
Lightning Bug was shot by Daniel Vestal (Deer Daniel Productions). McGee has directed and edited several music videos over the years and was able to take that experience and direct the video shoot smoothly and optimally. It takes a village to raise a child, and this music video was no exception. Our entire community came together to support this vision and we could’ve never pulled it off without the 30+ cast and crew that helped (and looked damn fine while they did it). Beatz has played a crucial roll in designing the duos look and overall visual aesthetic and lightning bug is a perfect example of that. The music video was shot in two nights, which involved painting and completely rearranging Beatz’ north Austin home. Two amazing local drag queens were on board to make over Beatz and McGee into their drag altar egos, Phalexandria and Anustasia. The video was all shot in one location with a skeleton crew of friends and family.
Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.
McGee has been fully immersed in the music industry for 15 years and has produced and co-written records and singles for dozens of different artists. Until 2016, Beatz’ primary focus was his cannabis farm, though he had his toes in the music scene for a decade which is how he came to meet McGee.
Tell us what inspires you to write, compose and sing.
For McGee, it’s beyond inspiration – it is a compulsion; a constant need to create. He and Beatz agree heavily on the therapeutic nature of creating music and expressing oneself, be that through music, design, art, or any medium that allows one to unapologetically be themselves and experience the high that comes from creating art. The duo share a healthy obsession with drag culture and have drawn much inspiration from anyone who can find solace in being the truest version of themselves, and the power that comes from that. Self-expression, individualism and embracing your inner weirdo are the driving forces behind MIDDLESPOON.
Tell us the secret behind making a hit song.
We believe there is a certain amount of integrity that is essential to a true hit song. We don’t believe in using any one formula or molding your sound to one particular path. Each artist has a unique voice to share in this world, and we believe that if you can hone in to that inner voice that good things will come. We also believe in positivity, kindness and compassion. If it’s your goal to write a hit then it’s very important to be able to shed any dead weight either musically or lyrically and keep doing so until you’re left with a clear and concise song. Another important factor is personality; put your own individual spin on things and don’t be afraid to be different/weird.
Tell us the message you will like to pass to your fans out there.
BE YOU! It’s that simple. Life is meant to be enjoyed and no one person should take themselves too seriously. Love yourself, love your neighbor and ignore the haters. Respect the earth and respect each other, practice love and compassion.
Tell the kind of advice you will give to an upcoming artist.
WORK! Have the drive and ambition that it takes to succeed. Also have a clear definition of success. Want to be a millionaire? Want to be on the radio? Define what success means to you and then work your ass off to get it.
Stay true to yourself. Don’t conform your sound to the exact formula that your favorite band uses. Study your craft, practice practice and practice and ALWAYS be willing to drop your ego and compromise. Songs are a huge collaboration between mixing engineers, musicians, mastering engineers, promoters, management, etc… The more stubborn you are, the harder you are to work with, and longevity in this business means dropping your ego and doing what is right for the song and not solely your vision. Work hard, be kind and don’t be a jerk. Those tips will help anyone go further in any industry – music is no exception.