J Lisk’s music reminds me of my favorite memories while growing up in Texas of visiting Southern California with my family. My parents both grew up out there, and it is a paradise on earth (besides traffic on the 405). When I finally obtained my driver’s license, my first thought was: roadtrip to Southern California. Alas, the roadtrip that I had dreamt of finally happened winterbreak of my second year of college. Three of my best friends and I threw our snowboards and my one surfboard into the bed of my old black Honda Ridgeline and headed west. I’ll never forget the feeling of blazing down the highway with the windows down in the middle of nowhere Far West Texas blaring all the CDs I had burned, filled to the brim of cliché California songs (queue Phantom Planet). It felt like we were living in these songs, as if we were being filmed for the next road trip music video. These road trips became a winterbreak tradition for all of college. It’s all we looked forward to each fall semester every year. J Lisk’s music reminds me of the 2am stops at a gas station off I-10, grabbing a pack of cigs and an energy drink to keep driving through the night while everyone else had passed out in the car. The tiredness, the endless desert roads, it was worth the trek because we were headed to paradise. If J Lisk’s video for “To California” doesn’t give you that California dream impression then I don’t know what will:
The tempo of his music does not get old to me. Not too fast, not too slow. Just that laidback driving music perfect for beach cruises. His latest track “Faded” hits the nail right on the head for the chillest of vibes:
“Always” has a similar tempo and I’m obsessed with the vocals that come in at exactly 1:00 into the song:
And we hear some unique wavey, distortion vibe in “Instagram Models”:
My absolute favorite song of his is “Where Is Your Love.” I’ve easily listened to this 1,000 times in the past couple weeks. The song is outstanding in every single way. Per usual, I tried to interpret the lyrics of this track. My original conclusion was J had been with a girl that he broke up with whom then moved away. He regretted that decision and now wants to be back with her with the promise of not breaking her heart again. I asked him about it in our interview below. I was a bit off but music is beautiful in the way that we can interpret and apply lyrics to our own personal lives as if the song was made about our own lives and experiences. Listen to it here:
I’ve been emailing back and forth with J Lisk the past few weeks. Our interview is below. Also, I’m sorry for hooking everyone on his music.
1. For those readers that haven’t heard of you or your music before, could you introduce yourself?
Hey, I’m Joseph. I produce and song write under the name J Lisk.
I grew up in Tucson, Arizona but I have been living in San Diego, CA for nearly half of my life.
2. How long have you been making music? How did you originally get into production and singing? Do you have any artists that have significantly influenced you?
I started to teach myself guitar when I was about 12 years old. Several years later, I began to use the program Fruity Loops (FL Studio) which I still use to this day.
My early days of production included a lot of electronic music such as trance, dubstep, and even hardstyle. Eventually, I became friends with a lot of rappers in high school and got pulled into the hip hop/rap world for many years. About 2-3 years ago I realized that I wanted to be my own artist and not just a producer so I started writing my own originals.
I’ve been inspired by a lot of artists over the years. I’m just going to give you a quick list of some of my favorites (in no particular order).
Producers – Kygo, Lost Frequencies, Robin Schulz, Filous, Seeb
Hip Hop/Rap – J. Cole, Dom Kennedy, Curren$y, Wiz, Drake, Joey Badass, Asap Rocky, Kendrick, Tory Lanez, Fabolous
3. Your track “To California” has over 5,000,000 plays on Spotify. That’s pretty impressive. When you made that song did you think: “yeah, this is going to be my most played song” or no?
Thanks. I just remember sitting at my desk with my guitar in one hand and a microphone in the other. It was just a genuine product that came out naturally.
I’m very thankful for everyone that supports my music across the internet/on Spotify, Youtube and Soundcloud. (Shoutout to Kramer, Chill and Vibing, Sensual Musique, Selected Sounds, and all my other friends)
4. Many of your songs have a very tropical laidback vibe. Do you think where you live has a noticeable effect on your music? Does living in Southern California affect your production at all?
I think it does to a certain extent, but I am really most inspired by what I hear and see on the internet from other artists that I admire.
5. I alone can account for about 1,000 plays on Spotify for “Where Is Your Love,” it is so addictive. Could you tell us a little bit about what inspired that song both lyrically and musically?
That’s amazing, I appreciate it. My goal is to write lyrics that can be interpreted in
different ways. The basic idea I had for that song was when you live with someone and see them every day, yet they seem so distant. The production on it was just a fusion of sounds that I was inspired by at the time.
6. Do you have anyone that helps you record/produce your music? Or is it 100% you doing everything?
I produce/write everything myself unless it’s a feature, collab, or sample.
7. Do you have any favorite pieces of hardware or software that you use?
My laptop, any guitars, clean pianos such as ones in Kontakt. I use Sylenth and Nexus as well.
8. In the past few years, there has been an increase of more low-tempo, “chill” electronic. What is your opinion on what direction electronic music is heading in general?
I think chill music is timeless. Some of these club bangers only last so long before you get tired of them. I’m not sure what direction it’s heading but I know that songs like “Shape of You”, “One Dance”, “Slide”, and “Despacito” have inspired a lot of artists to innovate recently.
9. I know very little about the music scene in San Diego. What is it like?
There’s a lot of great musicians, but from what I’ve seen it doesn’t compare to big cities like LA or NYC. You do hear a lot of different genres in San Diego though, so going back to what you said earlier, that inspires me.
10. You released “Faded” just over a month ago now and it is beautiful. Do you have any estimates on when you’ll release your next track?
Thank you! Probably 2-3 more singles over the summer. Also I have a nice collab with my friends KRYGA and Rhea Raj dropping early August.
Thanks for reading this week’s Paris to PCH Artist Interview Post. You can follow J Lisk on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Soundcloud! Keep up to date with Paris to PCH by following us on our social media platforms linked on the side and at the bottom of the page!