On the six-song EP, “party at avery’s,” artist jfled employs a fictional, female character — Avery — who goes through transitions, suffers and works to overcome loneliness.
The EP, released on Oct. 18, was created by IU graduate Justin Fledderman, who is a producer and singer-songwriter. He released the EP under the name jfled and works with Turquoise Mansion on his projects. The five-year-old label, created by Fledderman and two of his friends, produces music, visuals and other projects.
While working on solo projects, Fledderman said he makes indie rock and pop punk music, but when working on projects with his friend Liam Murphy — also known as akemie5o — they make hyper-pop music.
The EP was influenced by FIDLAR and Mike Krol. Fledderman said he utilized the fictional character of Avery to tell stories.
“Avery is kind of symbolic of the destruction of childlike innocence,” Fledderman said.
Fledderman said the song “minimum wage” is about living in poverty. He thought of the people he had gone to school with that had died from heroin overdoses and wrote what he imagined their lives to be like. The song resembles Avery’s boyfriend and his worries about her leaving him but knowing she has nowhere to go.
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“drive thru marriage” was influenced by the idea of Avery and her boyfriend running away with no gas and no money to marry each other.
Fledderman dedicated “may 17th” to the transitional point in his life when he moved out of Bloomington. He said the song is about the relationships he had built and left behind.
“dinosaurs” represented the loneliness he had felt as a kid and trying to come to terms with feeling that emotion. The lyrics “I was sitting in the backyard by myself / with all my friends / we were playing with the dinosaurs / we were playing pretend” are about the time he spent at his aunt’s house every weekend, playing with dinosaurs.
While the EP was made on a computer, the samples Fledderman used were of guitars, synthesizers, bass, drums and an electric piano.
Vandy Gutierrez, Fledderman’s aunt, made the cover artwork for the EP which features her dog, Gus, staying in his cage while the door is open.
“A lot of the theme was wanting to get out of a situation or get out of here,” Fledderman said. “I need to find anywhere else to be. The door’s wide open to do that, but I still don't.”
Long-time friend of Fledderman and IU graduate Max Barrett said they met during their freshman year of college and lived together for four years after that. Barrett has made 3D visuals and videos for Turquoise Mansion projects for the past year and releases electronic music on SoundCloud under the name sleep tart.
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Since “party at avery’s” is a project about life transitions, Barrett said the song “may 17th” encompasses the emotions felt during those times and the adversity of change.
Barrett said Fledderman’s goofy personality is shown especially in “minimum wage” through the creative and funky effects, including the sound of smashing an alarm clock and lyrics about not wanting to get up and do the same thing every day.
While Barrett works at home to save money before moving onto his next job, he said he relates to “may 17th” by feeling the difficulty of moving.
While living with Fledderman, Barrett said he would watch him work a day job to pay bills, while all his free time was devoted to creating music.
“He wants to put something out there that people enjoy and can resonate with,” Barrett said.
Kaine Seitz, creative director and artist manager for palate house, an artist management company, has known Fledderman for about a year. He helped to create graphics for this EP after meeting Fledderman through another artist from Indiana.
“‘dinosaurs’ does an incredible job of highlighting just how fast life goes from young and social to being an adult and feeling like you’re isolated,” Seitz said.
He said Fledderman tied existential dread, heartbreak and confusion into this EP.
“‘party at avery’s’ does a great job of highlighting some of the harder parts of being in your 20s and feeling like you’ve got to have it all figured out,” he said.