Self-Portrait: Jeshi

2020 might have put life on hold but it’s also given time and space for many artists to embark on their rise to the top. One such artist is East London-based rapper and producer Jeshi.

Adopting a DIY approach in both method and sound, since April his releases have come thick and fast, starting with the woozy beats of his BAD TASTE EP and culminating in his partnership with Slowthai, A$AP Rocky and Pa Salieu producer Kwes on ‘Look Like Trouble‘, a couple of months back.

Ahead of what we are sure is going to be a big year for Jeshi, he delivers a mix of original music, some that might never see the light of day, others you might have heard or missed, as well as several beats and sketches produced during lockdown. This sits alongside an interview about his approach to writing and production.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

Looking through all the artwork and booklets in my mum’s CD collection and spending a lot of hours glued to the TV watching MT.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

Not really to be fair, there wasn’t music always playing in my house or anything like that I just kind of set out and found it myself.

What led you into music making?

Hanging out with my friends when I started secondary school, they were all making tracks at my friend’s older brother’s house and I was young and eager and just wanted to get involved.

Are there any producers or artists who have inspired your production/ DJ’ing?

Not particularly but there’s a wide range of stuff I’ve picked up through life that plays a massive part in everything that I’m doing.

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?

I walk to the studio whenever it’s possible lately – it helps clear my head.

Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

Not at all, I always try to come in completely blank and just go where things take me.

Are you the type of artist to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

I create impulsively then tend to leave it alone for a while then when it’s time to finish, I come back and intensely work through it until it’s complete, which is usually my favourite part.

Can you talk us through how you might work on constructing a track?

I try and just get in the room and fuck about until something good happens.

How much of your material is sample-based and how much is original?

The majority is original, there are little sample bits here and there though. I’m really into voice notes at the moment, I’ve just been recording a load of random stuff on my phone and manipulating and scattering them through the music.

What’s the most important bits of kit that make a Jeshi track?

It’s not really about the kit, I try to always work outside of the box. The only consistent through the music is me. That’s the sound.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Jeshi material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

This was fun to do. It’s a load of tracks that might never come out, and some that already have that you might have heard or missed. There’s also some beats/sketches I’d been messing around with while in lockdown earlier last year, which I’ve never really played to anybody before.

Congratulations on your recent single ‘Look Like Trouble’, can you take us through the process of making one of the tracks?

That was done in lockdown so we weren’t even in the room. Kwes sent the track over and I wrote it walking around the garden with headphones then recorded it and spent the day tweaking/messing around with the vocals.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

I’m always working on music and have some special stuff I want to share soon, nothing concrete but early 2021. I’m not slowing down any time soon.

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