Writing Music, Rock Camp, and Prince: Interview with Micah Jasper

Micah Jasper has been busy.

Aside from playing with local indie group YUGEN, Jasper recently released a solo single, “Taboo,” an amalgamation and departure from his background in scoring films. INVADE sat down with Jasper to talk about writing music, rock camp, and Prince.

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INVADE: When did you know you wanted to be a musician?

Micah Jasper: Sometime around age eleven. I’d been playing guitar for a few years and would swap it out for random things like sports or school. I was kind of a hyperactive kid and also pretty strange, but I knew I wanted to be playing music. The problem was the manifestation seemed kind of loose. A few years ago, I realized that I was honestly terrible at anything else, after which following my passion became much easier for me.

 

Tell me about a childhood music memory.

My dad decided to send me to rock camp for 2 years in my most awkward stage in life. It was a really good time for me, but now I’m really nervous that my mohawk/caution tape guitar strap swag days are going to resurface.

 

How would you describe the new single, “Taboo”?

Working with Mulherin on tracks and in their live set has made the writing process really smooth. I produced/arranged this track with some help from good friends Duncan Troast (keyboardist from YUGEN/Mulherin) and Miguel Aguayo. The majority of this track is sound design that I used once upon a time for a film. It definitely has an ethereal vibe to it. There’s a lot going on in terms of layering synths and pitched guitars. The twins (Mulherin) really brought this tune together in the end, I think that their vocals go nicely over it.

 

Tell me about the songwriting process.

A lot of the music I make right now either was film music reincarnated as a song or something that I eventually want to put to video. The music starts as layered guitar melodies/harmonies and then I pitch them all over the place. I arrange with other instrumentation until it’s basically done and then I add drums. I also love writing live stuff with YUGEN and Mulherin for our sets. It’s all different, and it’s all a good time.

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Who would you love to collaborate with?

First and foremost, I really like collaborating with my friends. I would also love to eventually work with Hiatus Kaiyote, Taylor Mcferrin, BBNG, Blake Mills, Sonnymoon, Thundercat/Flying Lotus, Jon Brion, Little Dragon, and the list goes on to infinity. I’d also love to work with some videographers and some multimedia artists. I think mixed media art is super powerful and really shines through the internet noisiness.

 

What inspires you?

I’m inspired by Southwestern Hopi Art, my grandmother’s paintings, New Orleans, Jon Brion production, Ace Ventura movies, things in reverse (especially guitars and Kung Fu), Aphex Twin, Jay Electronica’s lack of recorded music, ?uestlove, people making art around me, and generally needing to chill out.

 

What’s the hardest part about working in the music industry?

It’s mostly finding the time to work with all the people I want to work with. There are so many talented and artistic people in this city and everyone has a show on the same night. Also, there are friends of mine that I would like to collaborate with who are in other cities that I can’t see face-to-face.

 

Favorite song to jam in car:

”Erotic City” by Prince has been in my car for three years – I swear I’ve thrown it out the window but it always finds its way back into my car.

 

Favorite song senior year of high school:

It was probably “Do the Astral Plane” by Flying Lotus.

 

Favorite venue in your city:

Right now, it’s GASA GASA in New Orleans: great sound, sweet mixed media vibe with projections/visual art, and great owners/operators. We all miss Jesse Highstein. Long live Jesse.

 

Favorite blog/website:

I read quite a few national blogs like, Okayplayer, Pigeons and Planes, Wax Poetics and Afropunk. I also like FFFFound.com. It’s a cool design blog where you can scroll for days finding the perfect desktop background.

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