Texas-based songwriter and vocalist Ishi, aka J.T. Mudd, released his third album, Sweet Gold, via Icons Creating Evil Art.
Speaking about the album, Ishi says, “‘Sweet Gold’ is my third album, and it has been in the works for the past two years. I haven’t released a full length in over seven years and honestly could have done so. I had the material, but it did not feel right. I’m glad I took the time to wait and to allow this record to come to life.”
On Sweet Gold, Ishi fuses indie-pop, synth-pop, hip-hop, jazz, and soul into aurally pleasing songs. Featured contributors encompass Medicine Man Revival, Nia Brock, Keite Young, and Cure for Paranoia.
Comprising 14-tracks, entry points on the album include “Not My Girl,” a stylish blend of hip-hop and smouldering R&B textures, topped by silky-smooth vocals. “Lo-fi Love Affair” rolls out on jazz-laced savours with tasty R&B aromas imbuing the tune with low-slung gleaming surfaces.
Fusing soft synth-pop and hints of new wave flavours, “Timeless” glides forth on a finessed rhythm, while gentle sonic coruscations imbue the tune with plush waves of indulgent colours. “Clouds of 9,” featuring King Kie, offers delicate surfaces of indie-pop, along with sighing vocal harmonies, velvety and bewitching.
The final track, “How Bout You,” amalgamates a mellow acoustic guitar with cashmere synth tendrils while glossy vocals imbue the lyrics with gentle longing.
Sumptuous vocals riding lo-fi harmonics rippling with subtle nuances invests Sweet Gold with gilded, prismatic hues. Sans an inferior track, Sweet Gold is simultaneously alluring and captivating.
XS Noize spoke with Ishi to discover the inspiration for Sweet Gold, his primary influences, and his use of emotion in the process of creation.
What inspired your new album Sweet Gold?
Basically, after my second record, I started DJing a lot more and was spinning a lot of top 40, hip hop and R&B. So that inspired me to give it a shot at making an album myself.
What got you into music?
At a young age growing up on MTV, and what was a true spark was watching Michael Jackson perform at the Grammy’s. I picked up my first guitar at 15 and started on bass. Once I [picked that up, it all made sense and started some punk rock bands and here we are.
Which singers/musicians do you count as influencing your sound?
Michael Jackson, Prince, and Fugazi.
Did your sound develop naturally over time, or did you push it deliberately in a specific direction?
This record was definitely about having a vision of exploring hip-hop, and then the flood gates opened, and it came out surprisingly easy and naturally.
Which artists, in your opinion, are killing it right now?
Jungle, Still Woozy, Maceo Plex and Galamatias
What inspires your writing? Do you draw inspiration from poems, music, TV, or other media?
A dope beat and bass always get the creative juices going, and producers are receptive to my feelings and emotions and always try to be mindful of that and tap into those emotions.
I get a spark if I hear music, which would probably be the most. As far as TV, screenplay, and dialogue get me going.
What can you share about your writing process?
Some of the best songs I have written have started acoustically, and then I try to transpose them into some electronic production.
That is kind of how I prefer to write. It can start from a melody that comes to my mind or a beat one of my producers, or I make. Try not to limit me in one way so I can be the most productive.
What can your fans expect over the next six months? New material? Live gigs?
Live gigs, more music videos, and some more remixes.