Gearing up for the release of their third EP, Juno -- their first on vinyl -- on September 16 and with shows in the pipeline, electronic band Ishi are keeping busy. Inspired and influenced by the careers of Michael Jackson and Elvis, among others, lead singer JT Mudd kindly took time out to chat social media, dream shows and song-writing inspiration.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
JT Mudd: Hi, my name is JT Mudd and I'm the lead singer of the electronic band Ishi.
PW: How would you sum yourself and your music up in a few words?
JT: Learning to express ourselves through positive vibes through uplifting and fun songs.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to, and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
JT: I grew up listening to Elvis, The Beatles, Michael Jackson, & NKOTB before the age of 10. I remember watching a VHS tape of MJ's 1984 Grammy performance of “Billie Jean” like it was yesterday. That encounter sparked a since of showmanship and the value of entertainment which has inspired me to this day. My cousin turned me on to Weezer, which lead me to punk rock & post punk artists like Fugazi, Hoover, Descendants, & Face to Face. My influences have changed quite a bit. I find myself trying to conjure up every ounce of soul within these days, so I gravitate to The Staple Singers, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Commodores, Grace Jones, Donna Summers & Loleatta Holloway.
PW: When did you first realize you wanted to be part of the music industry?
JT: On my 15th birthday, my father bought me my first bass guitar. It was a Fender "cowpoke". As soon I plugged it in, everything made sense. From that moment, I decided to pursue music and started my first punk rock band.
PW: Is there a band or artist out there you might say you're similar to?
JT: Bob Moses, LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost! & some Empire of the Sun.
PW: Your new EP Juno is out this Friday, September 16th. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about it?
JT: It will be a 5 song EP released only on vinyl and a decent group of lighthearted songs that could fit on your next workout or travel playlist.
PW: Do you have a favorite track on the collection, and, if so, which is it and why?
JT: "Bring The Thunder". It's fun to perform, and I had a blast writing the lyrics and melody.
PW: How do you think this EP differs from your previous releases?
JT: It's not a far departure from our last record, Digital Wounds, but it shows our evolution in production and exploring a few new vibes.
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process, and who/what most inspires you?
JT: When I make time to write, it comes fairly easy. The difficult part is juggling the hats of being creative and being a business.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
JT: That's a tough one, but I'll have to roll with "Billie Jean" by MJ. It gave us the Moonwalk. The song is now over 30 years old and still shakes a dance floor with its sexy infectious groove.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
JT: It's a toss-up between Madison Square Garden & Red Rocks. MSG because of its history and the artists I look up to have had such great moments there. Red Rocks due to the sheer beauty of the location and the opportunity to be one with nature and the audience.
PW: What are your upcoming tour/performance plans?
JT: We have Texas and a Midwest tour booked. We hopefully plan to make it the major markets of the east & west coast, and we’re super excited about opening for our homies The Suffers in Houston, TX in November.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media, and do you agree that it's a necessary tool for bands and artists today?
JT: Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil. Facebook has the music industry in an uncomfortable situation, especially the independent artists that have to pay to speak to their supporters that Facebook have nothing to do with. I think it is really important for fans to sign up for newsletters, etc. to help weed out the middle man.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
JT: Spreading the word of the new release. We have a couple more videos being wrapped up and another single to drop.
PW: Finally, then, what's your ultimate ambition as a band, and what advice would you give to anyone looking to make it in the industry?
JT: Our ambition is to provide the listener with a chance to reflect or simply let loose but also to add substance to the experience in case the audience is in a place where they need some encouragement. For all future artists, I think it is vital to be an example of the virtues missing today. There’s nothing more uninspiring than a know-it-all that has never sold out a venue of any size -- that wasn't a free show -- who thinks the world is owed to them. Chill out. As the industry is in full disarray, make sure money isn't the main driving force. You'll burn out fast. Learn to help your peers and community as you grow. Be humble, have fun, & be patient.