Interview: Jozem

Your debut single, “Dreams”, has just been released. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it?
I wrote it at a time when I was just trying to navigate out of a cycle of deeply internalizing all the voices of doubt that would have me stray from trying to achieve the things I wanted in life. 
I play a lot with looping vocals and so I’d loop some vocals and freestyle over them- a lot of my earlier music and performances were experimental in this way and the production for dreams was a bit of an homage to that, the simplicity in production and lyricism an homage to not overthinking things when it comes to making music, sometimes less is more, sometimes the message is what matters the most. 

At the risk of sounding like new, super-fans, we loved the song and the music video. What went into the video process? In the sense of what planning took place; what vision did you have for it; and what do you hope the video achieves (or what message might you want to get across)?
Thank you! It was really a labour of love! The video came about very organically under the direction of the most talented director Ayo Tsalithaba. The two of us shot it in a friend’s apartment, one snowy evening, just the two of us. We took a minimalistic approach much like I did with the production of the music- we wanted the visuals to reflect the spirit of the song. We wanted to capture the intimacy, the introspection, the vulnerability of it all, which I think Ayo managed to do beautifully. 

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
I’ve never been keen on labelling my music, I find it quite hard to do so- My music making process has largely been experimental and I consciously and subconsciously draw from different genres, rnb/soul, electronic, folk, ambient, and many more. I guess I just make sonics/atmospheres/sounds that speak to me and the feeling I am trying to convey and leave it up to everyone else to decide where it fits (or doesn’t) genre-wise.

What have been band highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
For me, it’s a highlight just being able to share my music- I don’t take that for granted, it has taken a while for me to be in a position to do so.  Each song I share is a little piece of me that I gently release into the world and it is amazing watching it land and affect someone even in the slightest of ways. I’ve been sitting on a repertoire of music that I’m finally making time to finish and release so I just want to continue it for as long as I can!

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
I really love the idea of booking super intimate shows in really beautiful spaces, which is the direction I was heading pre-covid. FORM- Arcosanti in Arizona also comes to mind, I’ve never been but have seen pictures and videos- the breathtaking performance venues and intimate shows look like a dream. I’d love to perform there some day. 

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Honestly I’ve mostly just been listening to a lot of South African house music lately, particularly Sun-EL Musician, his music brings much welcome joy and light in this crazy world we are living in. Also been really digging the new Serpentwithfeet and Smerz. Looking forward to their upcoming projects.

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