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  • Interview: SOJA

    Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:45

    Interview: SOJA - By ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino...

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    SOJA unlock another world on Amid The Noise And Haste. Releasing August 12, the D.C. group's fifth full-length album merges a distinct groove, alternative spark, and entrancing energy with ponderous lyricism for their most expansive an enigmatic offering yet. It's impactful and infectious, and it's utterly undeniable.

    In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, SOJA lead singer Jacob Hemphill talks Amid The Noise And Haste and so much more.

    What's your vision for Amid The Noise And Haste as a whole?

    It's funny. Every record we've ever written, we constructed it with a vibe in mind. I'd say, "Okay, the theme of the album is this. The sound of the album is this. The stuff I'm going to talk about is this. This is what the album is about". Amid the Noise and Haste wasn't like that. I had all of these songs that pertained to one thing. That was looking inside of yourself for the answers, which is the great mystery of life. If I'm given everything I need to be completely happy, can't I just figure myself out? That's what the monks are doing. That's what the Buddhists are doing. That's where it's going these days. We're just looking inside for that consciousness. We were working with a producer [Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend)] who was used to making singles. He's my favorite reggae producer in the world. We were like, "Okay, let's make a ton of singles and make it like an album". When we did that, it became the theme. How much of our creativity can we put into these songs? How much can I then go back and add in my studio? How much can we do when we go down to Miami to work? Each one of these songs stands on its own. A single is a song that can stand by itself. They all tied together better than we'd ever done it before.

    Did everything come together during the same time period? They each have individual identities, but they fit the record's overarching identity.

    Some of these songs are six-months-old. Some of them are three-years-old. I would definitely agree with you. If I was to use an old song, it was a song I felt was showing the new side. The older tracks were a hint of what's to come.

    Where did "Treading Water" come from?

    It's about somebody you fall deeply in love with. If you believe the fire is all you need for the relationship, you end up stuck. The only thing in the relationship that you can really quantify is, "How crazy does this person make me?" That's in a good way or a bad way. It's probably both at certain points. You'd say, "This person makes me crazier—both good and bad—than any other girl I've ever met. She must be the one for me!" [Laughs] That approach to relationships does not work very well for me. There are so many other things that go into relationships. Is this person looking out for my best interests at all times? A lot of times, the crazy person will throw you under the bus. Is this person my best friend? A lot of times, you have to call your best friend to talk about the crazy person. There are all of these things that go into relationships. You learn that as you get older. It's about treading water. The ocean is much bigger than me. Even though the fire and passion is there, there's so much more to it that it turns out I'm just surrounded.

    What's the story behind "Lucid Dreams"?

    I don't know if all human beings are like this, but I always have these memories I can't explain. I'll walk down a street and have déjà vu. They call it different things. I'll meet someone and I'll know I've met this person before—maybe not now but at some other point. Then, I'll have these dreams. They'll be as quiet as a mouse or as loud as a thunderstorm. The dreams remind me of the things that used to be there. The lucid dreams are the ones that happen during the day when you fall asleep for twenty minutes. You have a lot more control over the dream. Once I learned I could control these daytime dreams more, I could start to use my time in the dreams to figure out these epic nighttime dreams I had. Why are these dreams showing me my reality now and what my reality in the past used to be? It ties into the album theme because it all comes down to looking inside. It's the same as "Treading Water". If you look inside, you'll realize the truth was in there somewhere.

    Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?

    I like the emotion music evokes in your mental view of yourself now, past, present, and future. When I listen to Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Sade, or Wu-Tang Clan, they're all telling real stories. It's an oral tradition of something they want to pass down. That's timeless, and that's really cool and inspiring to me.

    Rick Florino

    Have you heard SOJA yet?

    Pre-order the album here!

    With pre-order, you can instantly download "Shadow" as well as “Your Song” and "I Believe” (feat. Michael Franti and Nahko)!

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    Tags: SOJA, Jacob Hemphill, Bruno Mars, Eminem, Rihanna, John Legend, Supa Dups, Bob Marley, Paul Simon, Sade, Wu-Tang Clan, Michael Franti, Nahko

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