JetPens Interview – SHBX Productions
An interview series featuring notable people within the pen, art, and design worlds. JetPens is pleased to introduce one of our own, Enetupe Lelevaga Jr. A faithful employee of JetPens, Enetupe shares his musical passions in this intersection between pens and music.
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
My name is Enetupe Lelevaga Jr., also known as “Jr.” or by my stage name: “SHBX-Jun3.” I was born and raised in Samoa. Growing up, I was always surrounded by music. My whole family is into music, ranging from island music to hip hop to R&B, and we each play instruments, sing, or do both! We were born with the rhythm in us. By the time I was 12 to 13 years old, I had taken up after my dad by starting to play the drums, then learning to play the bass.
I lived in New Zealand for some time before moving to the United States in 2002. Here I met my beautiful and talented wife and have been happily married to Jeanie for 6 years. During this time, I also started work at JetPens as an Operations Assistant.
Apart from working at JetPens, I continue to be deeply passionate and involved in music. I am the founder of Shoebox (SHBX) Productions, a fledgling label company. I function also as a record producer, videographer, and recording engineer. As a music producer, I help create the instrumentals behind a track and assist the musicians in walking through that creative process. All the artists associated with SHBX Productions are also collectively known as SHBX. Within this group, I currently play bass.
Tell us the story behind SHBX Productions.
SHBX Productions is the name of our fledgling record label. The numerous artists under SHBX Productions are also collectively known as “SHBX” wherever we perform.
Everything came into motion three years ago when I had a realization and vision. My wife is a gifted singer and songwriter, as are the rest of her musical family. At the time we were all serving in the worship band at our church and continue to do so to this day. But it was then that I remember seeing the passion for music in each one of us and the potential that was there. Since we were blessed with our talents, I wanted to bless others with these gifts, not waste them. I wanted to reach an audience outside the church.
When I shared this vision with my wife, her brothers, sisters, and cousins, everyone immediately caught on. Everyone believed it was possible. With their support and contributions, we took off with it. With that, two years ago, we started building a home studio in our closet and just started to write and create music. We were preparing ourselves by getting a feel for the process of recording tracks. Having never done this before, we were learning on the fly. Everything was new, especially as I stepped into the role of music producer.
About a year ago, SHBX performed for the first time. Outfitted in our newly designed SHBX t-shirts, this became our official launch.
What’s the meaning of the name “SHBX”?
We started doing recordings in our small studio apartment, no bigger than a shoebox. Our closet moonlights as our vocal booth, where we capture our sounds, and where we stored our shoeboxes! We chose “Shoebox” as our name because of the new shoes that come packaged within. Theses new shoes or “fresh kicks” represent our new walk with Christ. On the shoe are the sole (or “soul”), the tongue, the laces, and tracks. It serves as a symbol of our passion for music and our beliefs. Our motto is this:
“You see in Christ we got comfortable souls,
Out with the old, new kicks laced with gospel,
Check out the tongues to see what we rep,
Fresh out the SHoeBoX, take righteous steps”
Take us through the process of developing a music video.
Much of what I know now is self-taught, picked up from friends, or learned from Youtube college [watching Youtube videos]. I just try to get better everyday. “Overcomer” by tEE Nuia is only my second music video. The first one is called “Situations” by Omaha Nuia.
Even though we perform live together, everyone in our group has his or her own voice and style. When I create a music video, my intent is to capture the artist’s heart and essence of the lyrics. My personal process is to start off by listening and focusing on the lyrics and music of each artist, then picturing what the artist is trying to convey. Based on the message, I find appropriate locations to shoot at and relevant imagery. Then I look at it from the viewer’s perspective. My goal is that the viewer would understand the whole message of the song even if they were to watch the video on mute.
Do you have any upcoming projects we should look out for?
|Cover off their first album “Fresh Kicks”|
We released our first album, “Fresh Kicks,” last year so we’ve been in the process of creating new material. We’re aiming to release our new album called “Beautiful Feet” early next year. We’re also currently doing local performances, building up our fan base, and planning to book some tours. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter!
What are your favorite JetPens tools?
First off, I want to give a big thank you to all of our JetPens friends! I’ve worked at JetPens for almost four years now. It’s been amazing and inspiring to see the growth and expansion of our company from a small warehouse to where we’re at now. Our selection of pens has increased so much that it’s hard for me to pick out my favorites. We wouldn’t be here without your support and enthusiasm.
Behind the scenes, one of the pens I constantly use is the Pentel RSVP Ballpoint. It might not be flashy but it’s durable and, as a thicker pen, it perfectly fits my hands. With it, I brainstorm and lay out storyboards onto my Mnemosyne Notebook. The paper is of such high quality, and allows me to freely work out my ideas.
When it comes to mingling with our fans and showing our appreciation, SHBX uses the Silver Sharpies. They’re great for signing autographs, especially on our posters and album covers with darker backgrounds. Maybe we’ll eventually get a sponsorship from JetPens for some free sharpies!
Some of Enetupe’s favorite JetPens tools:
Have any advice for aspiring musicians and artists?
I believe everyone has gifts and talents, and I want to see individuals fulfill their dreams and passion. That’s one of my roles as a music producer. I help bring these talents out of the artists. When you discover what it is, you need to run with it and not shy away from it. Find people who support you or share the same dreams. But even if you have to take some steps by yourself, just do it. Don’t just wait for something to happen. Make it happen and don’t give up. I’m still walking this journey and learning each and every day. It’s not always easy but the hard work will pay off.
Spread the word about SHBX and JetPens. We will be giving out four $25 gift certificates in this special interview so don’t miss out!
1. Entries will be accepted from now until Friday, October 12th, 2012 at Midnight Pacific.
2. One winner will be selected from all entries and announced here on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 on our blog.
How to Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post.
2. Increase your chances of winning by helping us spread the word about our blog giveaways. You can submit up to three additional entries by sharing this article through the social media buttons on the bottom of this post. You can Tweet about this post, post it to your Facebook wall, and/or share it on Google Plus.
3. For each additional entry, make sure to leave a separate comment on this post.
4. You can have a total of four entries in this contest provided that you leave additional comments after sharing this post through the aforementioned social media outlets.
Thanks for participating!