Interview with J.MYSTERY


We chat with the artist J.MYSTERY about his new EP ‘Live from Arda Recorders,’ in addition to various inspirations and collaborations.

Arda Recorders Studios—where this excellent live EP was recorded—is a meaningful place, clearly. Can you share more about your experiences there and how the studio has influenced your music?

Arda Recorders Studios holds a special place in my heart, as I’ve been a part of its journey from the very beginning. I vividly remember watching this studio take shape as I was immersed in a production course there. The main studio (Studio A) is where everyone wants to record. It’s beautiful and has a lot of gear options, and there’s something about the acoustics that makes everything sound rich and full.

Your collaboration with André Tentugal has resulted in a crafted visual aesthetic for the EP. How did you and André develop the visual concepts, and what is their intent in enhancing listeners’ experience of your music?

I’ve always aspired to collaborate with André Tentugal and incorporate imagery into my songs, as I believe this aesthetic addition resonates deeply with listeners and complements the music. I strive to provide my audience with what I personally enjoy, such as live music videos and witnessing musicians in their natural element. I wanted the video to have a cinematic feel, and André Tentugal achieved the perfect balance.

This EP features alternative versions of your songs with a full band. How did the dynamic change when performing with a full band compared to your solo performances?

I enjoy playing with a band because it takes my music to a whole new level. While I do appreciate intimate shows, nothing displays my music better than performing with a full band. I want my audience to get a taste of what they can expect from a live sound, but of course, nothing compares to experiencing a live show.

What’s your favorite venue to perform at?

I’m starting my career and have only performed in small venues so far, and for now, that’s what I love. I’m super curious and excited to play at a music festival or on a bigger stage so I can compare and really formulate my opinion.

Do you have a specific process or ritual when creating new music?

That’s an interesting question. I write about my personal experiences and relationships. To do that, I need to be in a peaceful state of mind. I can’t write if I’m sad or angry and use that to my advantage like many other musicians. I need to be somewhat at peace with those less happy moments to write about them, and that, for me, is the beauty of writing my songs.

Any favorite artists or albums you’re listening to at the moment?

I discover new music every day. I have my playlist set to discovery mode so I can really explore what’s happening right now. There is a lot of great talent out there.

If you could collaborate with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be?

I love singer-songwriters and how each one has a different way of approaching writing music. I would love to collaborate with Matt Corby, Chris Martin, and Julia Michaels.

What do you find is the most satisfying part of being an artist?

For me, nothing beats the feeling of writing a song and playing it non-stop before heading to the studio—the raw demo version. After releasing my music, having people from various parts of the world singing my songs is something I will never grow tired of; it’s truly special.

What is the biggest challenge you find in today’s music industry?

I believe the major challenge for new artists is also their greatest advantage: the ease of distributing new music. Anyone can release music from home without relying on a major label or agency. However, this also means that a large amount of music is released every day, making it difficult to stand out.

This EP is described as a sneak peek into your upcoming musical journey. What can fans expect next from J.MYSTERY?

I’m finishing my second EP, which means more new music, and I’m hoping to take that music and do a lot of shows. Playing more shows live is really the next step that I want to work hard for.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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