In this new chapter for Jhariah it feels like he is fully embracing his vision and is purposely stepping out of the bounds of what is typical in the alternative scene.
Jhariah’s new single “RISK, RISK, RISK!” embodies a vibrant multifaceted sound that has his followers making anime edits on TikTok to prove its theme music worthiness. The music video for it, which is also now out on his YouTube channel, seamlessly matches the energy of the track through the incorporation of bright colors and lively acting. The ability to incorporate such strong visuals for his pieces comes from his background in fine arts and animation. This single is the first new music we have heard from Jhariah this year besides “A Lesson In Dramatics,” which was a collaboration effort with Save Face. At this moment he is on tour with Pinkshift and Pollyana across the US until the end of October; we got the opportunity to catch up with Jhariah in the midst of his busy schedule to learn more about his projects:
Your latest single is called “RISK, RISK, RISK!” Can you tell us about a time when you took a risk and how that played out in your life?
Probably one of the biggest risks I ever took was moving out of my parent’s house to pursue music. They were super against me taking such a huge chance on this and they were very afraid for me, which I was really starting to feel stifled by. There’s so much I want to accomplish that I know will be impossible if I’m second-guessing myself. It’s hard enough to do this when you’re confident in about what you’re doing, so I just don’t think there’s room to get in my own way! I had this sense that I needed to honor that feeling urgently, so I moved out with really no savings or safety net. It could’ve gone VERY badly for me but I figured potentially blowing up my current life was a fair price to wager for the chance to realize my biggest dreams.
And somehow it worked out! The first year was really difficult and stressful at times, but each month I found a way to survive while I tried to slowly work my way toward doing music full-time. That was over 2 years ago and it’s probably the best decision I made. More than any practical reasons for it, it was important because it created a real foundation for me to stand on when I’m making decisions. I think I needed to take that risk so that I’d always have a reminder that there’s no reason I should ever be too scared to move forward.
The music video for “RISK, RISK, RISK!” was directed by you and William White. Can you talk about the process of creating it? What was it like shooting it and are there any funny/interesting bts stories?
Doing that music video with William was great! We’d been wanting to do something for a while, it just worked out perfectly. The weeks leading up to the shoot were honestly SO stressful. I was on the most stressful, patience-testing tour ever and the whole time, in the back of my head, I knew that once we reached LA, I’d have to be ready to shoot the video. I remember being so overwhelmed just getting through each day, meanwhile I had to figure out what the hell we were doing. Me and William talked a bit about it and they basically were like, “Hey, I totally understand if it doesn’t make sense to do this anymore. No worries if you’ve got too much on your plate to go forward with this video.” Once they put that out as an option, it weirdly made me realize that I REALLY wanted to stick with the plan to shoot on the day we planned, but I had to accept that I needed a lot more help. William was super up to the task. I pointed out all of the elements I felt like we’re taking me a lot of time and they helped me really formulate everything into a real plan for the day. And after all that stress, the day of the shoot ended up being a dream! The entire thing was a great lesson is delegating and leaning on the people around you. There’s no way it could’ve happened without William and all of the people that stepped up to offer their time and effort when I was really drowning.
Watch the video for “RISK, RISK, RISK!” below!
What is a show on the first leg of the ‘Eat Your Friends’ tour with Pinkshift and Pollyanna that you have played recently that stood out to you and why? What are you looking forward to on the second leg of the tour?
Nashville!!! I loved all of the shows, but I had a bit of trouble finding my footing again after being off tour for a bit and that show was when I really felt like I was back in the groove of things.
Being on tour with Pinkshift and Pollyanna has been such a dream because I’m just out on the road with my family! Every single person in the touring party is a friend and someone who I care a lot about, so it’s really a great environment for playing shows. At that Nashville show, Pinkshift did a sort of partial “karaoke” set because Ashrita’s voice wasn’t feeling 100%. A couple of us hopped on stage to sing a few songs and give their voice a break and Pinkshift even shifted around instruments and had Myron sing a song. It was really special seeing everyone come together as a collective to make this show happen in a nonconventional way.
Catch the tour between now and October 21! October 19 in Tampa is cancelled.
Your sound gets compared to a lot of different artists. What are your thoughts about that?
I think people are always going to compare, so I try not to let it bother me. I have a lot of influences and it can be really cool when someone picks up on one that’s less obvious, but ultimately when I make music I’m trying to distinguish myself from other artists and create my own lane. It’s definitely helpful knowing what else the fans are listening to and resonating with though. A lot of the time, that’s how I find other artists and bands to connect with. I guess there’s two sides to it. None of the greatest artists are known for sounding like someone else, but most people need a point of reference to wrap their head around it, especially since I don’t really identify with a certain genre. Maybe it’s a good sign that people are sorta creating their own labels for my music based on how it fits within their specific tastes.
On your TikTok you spoke about how when you were in school you created album art for your music for one of your classes. How do you think fine art and music intersect? How did you learn animation and how do you use it to compliment your storytelling? Do you feel like you need different mediums to express yourself or is creating music fulfilling enough?
Visual art and music have always been closely intertwined for me. As a kid, music just sounded like noise to me until I experienced it through animation and music videos. Cartoons were actually my first calling. I was sure I was going to be an illustrator for almost my entire life, so that’s really what I always trained for. It wasn’t until I got older and fell in love with other forms of media that I started to see a broader path for myself. I started making YouTube videos and producing music in middle school, which really ignited my love for art that was time-based. I already loved the idea of creating images to tell stories, but really getting my hands into sound and video unlocked that element of time playing a big role. I think that’s the big thing that separates an illustration or painting from music for me. I became obsessed with manipulating time to tell stories and take listeners on a journey. By the time I finished high school, I was sure I wanted to pursue music but I knew visual art was going to play a big role. I realized through that entire journey that animation would fit into that puzzle better than fine art or illustration so I decided to study that in college as I started to seriously pursue a music career. The two really came hand-in-hand. I would never be satisfied just doing one thing for a living. The reason I make anything is to make sense of the world and express myself. I experience the world in a lot of ways so I’d never wanna limit how I capture that experience to one medium.
Who are some artists you are currently inspired by and listen to?
Remi Wolf is always a favorite! She’s able to capture her lived experiences in such a unique, singular way. She really inspires me to just say things how they make sense to me and trust that listeners will connect with it, rather than obsessing over being as easily understood as possible.
Paramore’s last album has been on repeat all year. Every single note and groove feels perfectly reflective of the themes they’re trying to convey. I’m always aspiring to reach that level of songwriting.
Also been obsessed with Ashnikko. I don’t think a day has passed in months where I haven’t listened to their new album. She just is SO far in her own lane and the music is so exciting to me.
I could go on for ages. Listening to Equipment a lot lately, Little Simz, Hemlock Springs, spill tab, Amine, etc., etc., etc.
How has your songwriting process evolved since the start of your music career?
The biggest evolution has probably been how vulnerable I’m willing to be. I started off writing songs about “characters” because I didn’t think I had any lived experiences worth writing about, but the more time passed, the more I realized that every single song spoke to something I was feeling or going through. Once I came to terms with that fact, I realized that trying to avoid writing about myself was not only hindering my songwriting but pretty impossible. Anything you make is going to have your unique perspective in it, especially if you’re honest, so I figured I might as well embrace that. I think being more intentional about channeling myself into my writing has really improved my music.
What role does identity play in your music?
Identity is probably one of the biggest pillars of my music. Especially now, so much of what drives my writing is trying to make sense of who I am. Every part of me is present in the songs, which in turn helps me to learn more about myself. Writing music is really such a growing experience for me. It also creates space for me to connect with other people, which makes me really happy.
What can we expect in this next chapter of your career?
This next chapter is shaping up to be so exciting!! It feels like this project is reaching critical mass and I think the release of this next album is gonna really blow things up. Obviously, you never know and maybe I shouldn’t put those kinds of expectations of my music, but I really do feel like everything is coming together. It’s been a lot of planning and SO much work, and more than anything I think people are about to see the full scope of what I’ve been building.
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
There’s lots of stuff in the works, music and otherwise! I’m really excited for this album of course, but the songs are only half the story. I’ve been working on creating different interesting ways for people to experience this next part of the story and I think it’s going to be really special. So just keep an eye out!