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Kishi Bashi (K Ishibashi) has got a brand new record due out tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited for you guys to hear it! Sonderlust marks his third full-length, and is an interesting sonic departure from what listeners might expect from him; due to some personal challenges, he found the need to rethink his overall process, and what he ended up with are fantastically 70’s-inspired synth-laden tracks that are highly dance-worthy, and highly necessary to put on heavy rotation. I hopped on the phone to K the other day to talk about this latest effort, and over the course of our conversation we covered everything from what it was like working with Matt Chamberlain and Chris Taylor to finding album title inspiration in made-up words; read up on all of that below, and catch Kishi Bashi live at The Fillmore in Silver Spring on 10/1, and at Webster Hall in NYC on 10/2. HERE WE GO:

So first of all, I’m super stoked for your new record to come out! Congratulations!

Yeah, I finished it in February, so it’s been a long time waiting for it to come out! [Laughs]

Oh wow! Yeah, that must be strange; I feel like a lot of artists end up wrapping things months in advance, so I’m sure the waiting part is tough. Glad it’s nearly over, though! Now, I know that it was written during a challenging time for you, so I was wondering if the catalyst for its creation was those challenges, or whether the challenges were responsible for steering you in new directions in creating a record that you’d already had in mind. 

I was already in the mindset for a new album, so it was actually kind of a distraction. For me, musically, I don’t really get too emotional. I’m kind of detached, and music more of a visceral thing for me. But I think emotionally I was able to channel some of it into the lyrics.

And because you were writing the record in a newer way, how much trial and error did it take for you to arrive at the sound we get with this record, or to arrive at the process that you used?

Well, I started trying to write in the style that I thought was familiar to everyone, and what I thought was expected, but I wasn’t really inspired that much. It wasn’t really exciting to me, and I knew that that was kind of dangerous, because I feel like if you write music that’s uninspired to you, it’s going to seep its way into the recording, and people are going to equally be uninspired, or disappointed, even. So I had to go in this direction which I was actually more excited about; it was a more electronic sound, and more rhythmic, more funk and soul sounds. Once I understood that I didn’t have to go to my old tricks, and I could challenge myself and do something new, it was actually exciting and liberating.

Cool! And tell me about working with Matt Chamberlain and Chris Taylor, who both worked with you in different capacities on this record; how did you approach those collaborations?

Well, I really like Chris Taylor and his work with Grizzly Bear, and he made a Morning Benders and Twin Shadow albums that I really liked a lot. I didn’t know him before, but I knew that he had great taste, and he’s also an engineer, so I kind of went to him with fully-formed demos, and he helped to realize a beautiful album. I’m really thankful for him. And then Matt Chamberlain, the drummer, is an old friend of mine; when I worked in LA, Chris and I realized that he worked in LA, too, so I got him to squeeze me into his really busy schedule to record. It was just three days, so it was really quick. He’s a pro, so he didn’t need more than that.

And about how long was the process of making this record from start to finish, including the writing process? 

I think I started late summer, maybe August, and I wrapped it up in about February, so about six months.

Rad. I also wanted to ask you about the album title, which comes from John Koenig’s The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows; did you come across any other words that maybe weren’t in contention for the title, but that were interesting to you?

Yeah, before I decided that you could actually make up your own words, I was looking for a word to describe my experience, or my worldview, and I found this one word called “paracosm”, which is basically a bunch of little universes in your head. I thought, “What a cool word!” and then I realized it’s a Washed Out album title. [Laughs] And then I got depressed, but then I found The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, and I kind of got obsessed with it; I’m just totally into the idea of making up your own words, because what is a word, really? It comes into existence the more you use it, so I decided to just use one of his words and continue with it.

I love that! New word for a new-sounding album. Now, I’m super excited for you to play the record live, but since this is a bit of a shift into new sonic territory for you, have you had to tinker with your show setup at all?

I’m playing a lot of electric piano, and I also have a cellist in my band now, so I’m kind of doing a hybrid chamber music – party band show, essentially.

Amazing! And so is that the main focus for you for the rest of the year, then? I know you said you wrapped the record in February, so have you been working on anything new in the meantime?

Well, I scored a snowboard movie called The Fourth Base, and it actually came at the right time. (It’s a pretty big snowboarding movie with this guy Travis Rice, who’s a famous snowboarder.) Basically this whole spring I really hustled hard scoring this movie, and that just finished, so now I have time to think about this tour, which starts in a couple weeks.

And we’re STOKED! Follow Kishi Bashi on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates!

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