Whether he is behind the decks at LA’s version of the world’s biggest Mash-Up club (Bootie at the Echoplex) writing songs with the world famous RuPaul, or grabbing from the universe song ideas for his own solo material, Shyboy (Jason Arnold) is constantly striving to hit that next level. On the eve of his record release show at the Hotel Cafe (Wed. Sep 24th-9pm) and a week before the release of his second full length LP-Lost In Space (avail. Oct 1st via iTunes Shyboy-Lost In Space) I had a chance to ask him some questions about his new record, his creative process and who would be in his ultimate one night jam band.
1. Tell us about your new LP “Lost In Space.” Is it a continuation from your last album “Water on Mars”?
Really excited about this second album. It comes out October 1 and it does continue the space concept arc that started with ‘Water on Mars.’ The first one was an album about escape, longing for the fantastic out there amongst the great unknown. ‘Lost in Space’ is more introspective. It still has conceptual ties to the planets and stars but it also refers to the space that’s inward, in our heads – there’s a whole universe to explore inside of ourselves.
2. You collaborate with so many different people (even some who you would not consider a musician, like TV producer Bryan Fuller) how did most of them come about, were these people you have hunted down hoping to work with?
This project was really collaborative. Mark Nubar and I produced the bulk of it but in the process also partnered with some great writers and producers, including robot koch, Amy Powers, Wendy Waldman and many more. All of it came about organically. I met some people through other collaborators or business channels and others are longtime close friends, which made the process really fun. Bryan (Fuller) is amazing to work with – he’s a brilliant writer and so visual with his storytelling. It was fun to explore new sides of songwriting through his eyes. Composer Jim Dooley (Emmy® award winner for the ‘Pushing Daisies’ score) co-wrote the song “Wake” with us. It’s a really cinematic piece. Working with those two, I expect nothing less. I’m very grateful that so many talented people were able to contribute their time.
3. Since you are also a club DJ (for LA’s version of the mash-up club Bootie) do you write some songs that are for studio or club only or is everything written with the intent of being able to be played live with your band?
I always like to try different things. Sometimes, I write with the dance floor in mind and other times, I write with a band-oriented live show in mind. In all cases, I think it’s important to create music that engages the listener, to give people melodies and lyrics to connect to. From there, some songs are written and recorded a certain way – but then grow and change as you adapt them into a live setting. Other songs snap right into place, from studio to stage, without any changes needed. It’s all a really unique process.
4. Tell us about your current live band
I work with Elizabeth Goodfellow on drums, Angela Momiyama on bass, Abraham Parker on guitar and music director Mark Nubar on keyboards. Everyone brings something beautiful and unique to the fold. It’s an amazing group of people. We all love playing and come from a variety of backgrounds, so it’s a fun and engaging process. Communicating and connecting with an audience through music is an incredible experience because music is such a universal language.
5. I know you were in some more conventional rock bands previously, what is the biggest difference trying to be an independent artist today in comparison to years past, what would say is the biggest challenge that today’s independent artists face?
Today, there are so many opportunities to get your music out to people but It’s also true that there are heavy financial challenges. As artists, songwriters and content providers, we are living through a long-lasting interstitial period where the music business, like so many things in the world, is making huge shifts moving forward into the 21st Century. I think the key to making it all work – for artists either established or emerging – is to stay focused on writing, recording and performing quality music that comes from an inspired and earnest place. It can be any genre, anything the imagination can dream up – as long as people can feel something when they grab a hold of it.
6. If you could assemble for one live show any musicians, live or dead who would they be?
Prince on guitar. Sheila E. on drums. Flea on bass. Ray Manzarek on keyboards. Stevie Nicks on tambourine and vocals along with Adele, Nina Simone and Sinead O’Connor.
7. What is the next step for ShyBoy?
Having just wrapped the new album, I’m looking forward to performing more shows, bending and shaping the new material into remixes and mashups and also continuing with my DJ appearances. My brain is always soaking up music and I’m constantly flowing through a process of input and output. Before I begin the next album, there are some mixtape and EP ideas that I’m planning to explore, a lot of it with a connection to visual arts, film, etc. I think music is changing so much and I love the adventure and process of changing along with it all.
As an added bonus we have a couple of exclusive tracks from the new album for you to be able to check out for yourselves which you can hear here:
Make sure and come out to The Hotel Cafe Wednesday Sep. 24th so you can be one the people who in the future can say “Yeah I remember when I saw him at that really intimate venue in Hollywood”
Shyboy website: www.shyboy.tv