It’s been a while but we’re ready to get the bananas rolling again (no pun intended…). Today, we get up close and personal with Josh Shpak, aka Joshoo, who describes himself as an artist, producer, and trumpet man, according to his IG bio. He’s managed to blend his personality with his music in a way that is truly contagious.
Don’t believe us? Listen to his latest single, Pretend, and get a full picture by reading one of the most fun banana interviews we’ve done to date!
Banana Interview: Meet Joshoo aka The Trumpet Man
Give us 5 emerging artists that you want to highlight for everyone to discover right now
What is your current favorite/guilty pleasure/go-to playlist? (no pressure, it doesn’t have to be Indiemono’s)
I’ve been really into Spotify’s “Ambient Essentials” playlist! Especially while I’m on the road, I find ambient music extremely important to my state of mind.
Before you started your solo project you were part of the band “Ripe”. How was being in a band different from your solo journey
I think being in a band is like being in a relationship or marriage, there’s a lot of room for shared growth and momentum. There’s also, importantly, a lot of space needed for compromise. Compromise can be seen as a negative in the arts but I think having a shared vision can make for so much power.
I find that my solo project, while perhaps being a more pure reflection of my taste, takes a lot more out of me…you have to push so much with every single endeavor when you don’t have a buddy there to help out. That’s why having a team of folks around (even when it’s your solo project) is so helpful. Extra ears, eyes, and advice are really nice when I’m stuck.
The more artists that I work with, the more I am assured that the best way to be a great collaborator is to have a very strong sense of your own taste, skills, and abilities. I am so moved by the best artists that I work with in their steadfastness in their vision. It’s very inspiring. It really makes me consider the kind of things that I bring to the table – musically, personally, and professionally – and lean into them as much as possible. How far can I go with them? And this has really started to seem like “exploring my identity” more than just being a nice person to work with.
Your first steps in music were in Berklee as a jazz music trumpet prodigy. How has this genre influenced your music? Is learning a music degree necessary to be a good musician? What are your thoughts on this?
I still consider myself to be a jazz musician, and I improvise on old jazz tunes every day. There are more often than not lines of music running through my head at any given time. That sort of study and training never leaves you. It’s the overwhelming urge to make music out of any set of parameters. A three-note melody? I can make a song out of that. Chopsticks on a table? That’s our drum beat, let’s start there.
However, music school can really mess up your natural joy for making art…it really feeds a hierarchy of “good” and “bad” that can really mess up creative people. Berklee specifically has a great knack for spitting out amazing, technically capable musicians who have nothing to say…and I’d say it took me years of pushing really hard to get that out of me. I love the community I got from music school but would never tell anyone that they need it…especially if you have to pay for it!
You spent almost your entire life making music but have you ever faced a creative block? If so, how did you overcome it?
I have faced many creative blocks! However, I am lucky to have started writing music at the same time I was studying jazz and the trumpet. It quickly became apparent that there’s never a shortage of things to learn or experiment with when you stop seeing yourself as a “musician” or “writer” and just as an “artist”.
Getting less precious with the individual bits makes for a huge inspirational well to pull from. Can’t write a song? Play some guitar. I have a little flu right now and can’t sing on the demos I’m writing…so I’ll just be making drums today I guess! I also love reading, exercising, TV/movies, and seeing my friends… if the magic isn’t flowing at that moment then I just put it down and come back later.
Your music has elements of neo-psychedelia, pop, funk, and the list goes on…but how would you describe your music with three words: a color, a season, and a smell?
Ooh, I like this: turquoise, spring, jasmine.
If you were a type of… [cult] what would you be? (feel free to elaborate haha)
Definitely like a NEXIUM-type self-improvement cult. I grew up in the San Fransisco Bay Area and my dad runs an alternative medicine clinic… I definitely come from that type of West Coast “intellectual meets spiritual” scene.
What’s your favorite… [book]?
As a teenager, I was a nerdy high fantasy kid and I LOVED the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan. The best world-building I’ve ever experienced in any art form and I aim for this level of detail and craftsmanship in my work. Also, there are like fourteen 1,000-1,200 page books so you know I was obsessed. I know there’s an Amazon show of this series right now but I couldn’t even get through 1 episode, I was too hurt that they weren’t doing the books justice.
How much money would it take for you to open an Only Fans?
I’d open a feet-focused Only Fans today if I knew people were into it. I don’t need any money to open it either, I’m down. I’ve got some feet insecurity, this would solve it for sure. DM me I’ve got the goods.
Last one, your choice! What was your first job?
When I turned 15, I started teaching music to a bunch of local elementary and middle school students. That was officially my first job in music and I’m kind of expecting it to be my last. Teaching and mentorship have played such a huge part in my life, and this is the first time in my adult life I haven’t had a roster of excited students to talk to every week! I miss it but am also not anxious to get back to it right now. It’s time to go make a bunch of art right now.
Anything you want to add before we finish?
I remember when I started putting out my own music a friend of mine said “Man, if Indiemono sees your stuff you’re SET they have all the coolest music”… so this is a full circle moment for me! Thanks, y’all!