JSWISS is an emcee
Introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?
When did you start making music and was there a person or artist that inspired you to start writing songs and hit the studio?
I started writing purely for fun around 12 years old and recording as hobby around 15 on a 4-track tape recorder, but my first full project was a mixtape called I.M.R.O.B.O.T. (Individually Most Ridiculous Of Brilliance Out Today) I dropped in 2009 at 18 years old.
Just listening to music inspired me to think of lines and lay down songs to begin with. The enjoyment and response I got from it pushed me to hit the studio more frequently around the time of that first mixtape.
That was also my freshman year of college at UNC-Chapel Hill and the resources were there to record along with a community of artists to work with. I felt like we lived in the studio there.
JSWISS – Four Corners (Prod. DeeJay Element)
What influenced you to rap & write rhymes? what would you credit as your main motivation?
A lot of the music I was listening to. I grew up on artists like A Tribe Called Quest & The Roots. But around middle school I was also listening to a lot of Jamiroquai and The Brand New Heavies and Soulive and Musiq Soulchild, and I think that mix just helped me fall in love with music in general.
Who do you rate highly & listen to now?
Some of my favorite projects recently are from emcee/producer Oddisee, Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak, this jazz keyboardist Jesse Fischer has a great album out, The Foreign Exchange and still Tribe, The Roots, Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies stay in rotation.
Q Tip. He has a great range of musical taste and abilities as well and I love everything he’s been a part of from the Tribe stuff he produced, to his solo hip hop album “The Renaissance,” to the “Kamaal The Abstract” album which is a little left of center.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
Definitely as an emcee as opposed to a rapper. What I mean by that is that what I’m saying and the delivery is important to what I do and I demand for it to be sharp.
And I also don’t get lost in a beat or just rap over a beat, I’m a part of the music. As the music moves I move and I can also take command of a show as well and ‘move the crowd.’
Let’s put your writing hat on so what would a typical day be like if I came to hang with you?
I feel like I have several different sides to me so I feel like no day is typical. Just going from task to task and music would definitely be involved in some way.
Let’s talk more about your project, Who dealt with the production?
So this was different from my past projects where I was getting beats sent to me and then writing to them. Brady Watt produced two tracks, but even I was there telling him what
I was looking for and crafting the song along with him as he was laying down the instruments.
For the rest I guess I was kind of a producer. I had ideas of what I wanted for the music and then I worked with instrumentalists like keyboardist Nick Rolfe to bring those ideas to life and evolved once they put their touch on it. But I was a part of everything all along the way.
JSWISS- Move (Prod. By U’Nique Music)
You’re definitely getting at the concept. It’s the idea that music becomes so significant that there is no separation between music and life. There is no separate distinction. It’s not music, it’s life.
Every emotion and almost every word and thought for me can trigger a new song or a song I already know. I think there a lot of people who, like me, to some extent live life through music.
My favorite track on the ep is “Sunshine To Rain” featuring the amazing singer/ songwriter/ social activist, Maya Azucena what was it like working with her?
It’s awesome because I’ve known Maya for a long time, before music was even being considered as a career for me.
To have that relationship and also have years where I was a fan before being an artist, it’s great to not just have her on a song, but on a song that’s really a stand out. She killed it and she’s killing it for herself musically out in the world too.
JSWISS- “No Music” EP Release Show
What do you consider your biggest achievement so far?
Making the “No Music” EP and having the release show we did for it too. I think the quality, the sound and the voice of that project is really the culmination of all I’ve been through as both a music fan and artist, and the release show was the perfect translation of the record and example of how I’ve grown as a performer. And there were literally people from a few different countries there which I didn’t expect, but was dope.
How do you personally see the current state of Hip Hop?
It’s not perfect, but there’s a lot of good out there. The biggest issue out there is a lack of balance in exposure, which doesn’t really speak to the state of hip hop, but just the media around it.
But if you even remotely know how to look for what’s happening it’s kind of hard to keep up with all the good hip hop that’s out there.
Be in it for the right reasons, demand greatness of yourself and don’t expect it to be easy. Be you always, but don’t be afraid of change. Make sure your live show is tight.
Where can we find all about you and the music?
And I won’t flood your timeline but I keep my Twitter and Instagram updated at @jswisshere. I got some pretty cool things to offer on there.
Any shouts to anybody?
I don’t wanna get too much into this and start forgetting people so just shoutout to my parents. No one else can feel bad about being left out that way.
All photos are by Robert Adam Mayer.