I first heard about Kishi Bashi through Todd Webb while working on a Seamonster release in 2012. I’m a huge Of Montreal fan, so hearing that a member of OM had just recently moved back to Norfolk was exciting to say the least.
A few weeks later, my roommate gave me his EP “Room For Dream,” and I loved it. Everything from the pure joy of “Bright Whites” to the lush and unreasonably accurate harmonies of “Summer Has Arrived” (featuring Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal) sounded so magical to me.
I think one of the best words describe K’s music is delightful – or maybe dreamy? Spotless would be another appropriate word for his studio recordings. I had the good fortune of being able to assist him in some small ways as an engineer on both the “7” Singles” release and on the full length “Lighght,” and I’m still trying to figure out what wizardry is behind his music. I just love the range in “Lighght” more than anything.
Try “The Ballad of Mr. Steak” for some ELO inspired synthpop bliss, or try “Q&A” for one of the cutest and most bittersweet lovesongs you’ve ever heard. Recordings aside, the live show is like party where everyone invited is absurdly talented, with some killer supporting musicians, including local hero Daniel Brunner.
Seeing Kishi Bashi back to back with Of Montreal will surely be a highlight of LAVA this year. I was lucky enough to chat with him for a few minutes this Thursday – he asked about Wyteshayds (which is apparently not so easy to pronounce based on text alone) and told me that he’s been touring pretty much non-stop since January. He’s excited about LAVA Fest, and had some time to answer a few questions for us, some more ridiculous than others. Here goes!
Wyteshayds: First of all – so happy to be asking you these questions and to have you back to play in Hampton Roads again. How was your tour with Guster?
Kishi: Guster is great – I’m still doing a few more dates with them. They’re really nice guys who write great songs. They’ve been together for so long and are still so positive after being a band for like, 25 years. They have great dedication to their fans. They have a ton of great songs – it’s really inspiring.
I heard you used to play lots of different instruments during your live show. What made you decide to switch to violin as your main instrument?
When my band Jupiter One wasn’t doing what I wanted it to do, I started hiring myself out. I’m a violinist by trade. I finally had the idea to actually try writing my songs on violin since it was my main instrument, and it just kind of stayed with me.
I was lucky enough to sample some Kishi Bashi coffee this year – it was a pretty great experience. If you could have your name on any other household commodity, what would it be and why?
Well, it seems to be that people really like the pun “Dishy Washy,” so I think, naturally, that’s what the next product should be. It’s a universally accepted pun, so far.
A long time ago when I was in Of Montreal, when I started, Kevin Barnes told me, “there’s 2 things you gotta do: play your ass off, and don’t be a dick.” That kinda sums it up, I guess.
(Side note, while you’re recovering from that gem, K said that he *might* do some light performing with Of Montreal on the 16th, but it’s yet to be decided. He really likes doing the hi harmonies on Gronlandic Edit, but might just want to hang out and watch the show this time..)
This will be our first time playing in Suffolk. What’s one of your favorite spots (business or park or otherwise!) in Suffolk, VA?
There’s a really good restaurant called the Plaid Turnip. If you’re an hour out from Norfolk and you’re tired and hungry, it’s always a great place to stop on the way into town. Really nice and family friendly.
Wyteshayds is beyond stoked to be on a bill with such amazing acts this year. (K and I agreed that it’s a really high concentration of great acts and we geeked out about Mutemath for a minute). So last question: if you could add a dream band, current or no, onto this year’s lineup, who would it be?
Probably Spinal Tap. But only if they’re still as good as they were in the movie.