Mustard had the pleasure of speaking again with Joho. Together we discussed their upcoming album “Black American Scumbag”, the singles leading up to it, and so much more!
1. Mustard is grateful to have you join them again at Music Shelf. How are you doing?
I’m doing well. Thanks for asking. It’s always a pleasure chatting with you. I can tell how passionate you are about music and that’s a quality I share, which makes these conversations a lot of fun for me.
2. You recently announced a date for your long-awaited album “Black American Scumbag.” How does it feel to have a date set?
It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off of my shoulders. My last full length release was in December of 2021, and before that I typically released an album every 4-6 months. This album has faced a multitude of delays for a number of reasons, but I looked at it as more of an opportunity than a crisis. Newer songs continued to add to what was already a stacked tracklist, and all in all it just increased the quality of the project as a whole. When I started making the album, I placed the impossible goal of creating the greatest album of all time upon myself. I know that’s a loaded statement with a lot of pressure, but as a student of music I’ve been able to absorb some of the best qualities of all of my influences and combine them while making it all something that is unique to me. So of course that added time to getting the final product, but I believe it will all be worth it.
3. In our previous interview you touched upon how “Black American Scumbag” will feature more love songs along with songs about your mental health. What are some songs or albums that you listen to, to help with your mental health? How does writing help ease your mind?
I love sad music, bro. Like when I’m down, I need to just get those emotions out so I fully embrace it, and blast Beach House and Sufjan, a lot of dream pop, and some of the more melancholy sounding soul or classic rock songs of the 1970s. Writing is like second nature to me, and I love to just sit and create. I try to make the best song of all time every time I make a song and it’s hard to stay depressed when you crank out a couple bangers in a row. Songs like ‘Don’t Fall In Love” and “Inside Your Mind” came to me on some of my worst days and when I wrapped up the demos and sent them to my friends and got feedback on them, I was over the moon, so I don’t know… I suppose it eases my mind by feeding my ego a bit haha
4. Last April you released “Just Be Honest.” What was the inspiration behind this single? Why is it important that humans be honest with each other ?
When I made “Just Be Honest”, it started as a soul sample Kanye type song, but I had also been listening to a lot of Charli XCX (I think this was right when Crash came out), and I wanted to make something that merged those two sounds. I also was inspired by the beat change on “Off the Grid” and wanted to have a second level on the song. When I started producing the beat I wanted something more futuristic and that’s how the Phoenix “1901” interpolation came about. Honesty is really the best policy. What’s done in the dark will come to light so you might as well be up front about stuff. I personally am a pretty understanding and forgiving person so I tend to do better with people who are honest with me. I’m a big boy, I can handle the truth.
5. On “Just Be Honest” you mention that you don’t know what they are doing to you. What is it like to meet an interesting human? What traits do you find fascinating in another human?
Sense of humor first and foremost because I feel like that is what first breaks ice and allows people to get to know each other. Then learning stuff that they’re passionate about. Everyone has different interests, hobbies and motivations and whatever people are pouring their all into says a lot about who they are so I’d say their hobbies or passions.
6. How did the ocean inspire your single “Tides?” Do you prefer high or low tides?
Tides is the one song on the album I didn’t produce and when I heard the beat it immediately felt like some summer time pop music and that’s what I associate with Oceans and beaches and stuff. I don’t have a preference, but I’m a big Blondie fan and love “The Tide is High” so I’ll go with high. Also side note, I’m a bigger 2000s pop music fan so I like the Atomic Kitten version better tbh, but all the love to Debbie Harry. A true rock icon.
7. Mustard wonders if you are an Aquarius? Do you pay attention to your horoscopes? What can humans learn from their horoscopes?
I actually am an Aquarius. A February one. No disrespect to anyone who’s into astrology, but I don’t know the first thing about it, or really care haha. In my old band Echo Park, one of our producers made a beat called Aquarius that we never finished, but my second verse on that song was originally written for the Echo Park demo. I drew some inspiration from Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In by The 5th dimension as well as this song Venus in Gemini by BXB Love. I’ve always been bad at song titles so I just kinda went with that one just because.
8. Mustard loves the artwork for each of your singles. Do you create the artwork? Would you say the artwork helps elevate the stories you’re telling on “Black American Scumbag?”
I made the artwork for each single except Tides, which was made by this immensely talented artist named Carly Mack. She also designed both versions of the album artwork. The initial idea was to create these futuristic sounding synth heavy songs and I wanted futuristic artwork to accompany the songs. I was trying to create this visual of the world in which this album’s story takes place. I’m glad you liked them. Thank you.
9. Could you share more about your latest single “Constant Spirals?”
The beginning was supposed to be something soft and gentle like “Call It Fate, Call It Karma” by The Strokes, but then the hook was something I felt like would be sung by David Byrne. The rap verse I felt like was Childish Gambino and I wanted to combine all of these elements into something super dope and unique sounding. The bridge and breakdown at the end is one of my favorite musical moments on the albums. It’s also one of the first songs I produced where I actually played bass on a track which was something new for me.
10. “Scumbag” is a human word often used negatively. What is the context of the word on your upcoming album?
The concept was really about embracing your flaws and worst qualities and wearing them on your sleeves. Taking the worst thing someone can call you and being like “yup that’s me, now watch me be legendary.” Kinda like stripping the power of it away and taking ownership of it as this badge of honor. Like you wanna call me a scumbag? Sick, I think that’s hard, now imma use it as an album title and make the best album ever to immortalize it.
11. Where can readers find more information about “Black American Scumbag?”
Keeping up with me on social media is really the best way. I’ll be posting stuff on instagram and tiktok in the coming months to continue the rollout and hopefully have some shows lined up to support the album.
12. Do you have any upcoming shows?
Nothing set in stone at the moment so I don’t wanna mislead, but there’s some stuff in the works I’ll be announcing soon.
13. Can readers still find your music on all streaming platforms? Will there be any special pre-order exclusives for “Black American Scumbag?”
Black American Scumbag will be everywhere music is found. Nothing special coming with it. Just hella songs, moments and memories. Want to just get this project out to the world so everyone can hear what we’ve been working on and hopefully everyone enjoys listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it. Thanks for all your time, Mustard and I look forward to connecting again in the near future.