The Brooklyn-based dream-pop artist talks debut album Wabi-Sabi.

Papi Shiitake

Photography by Nicole Miller @neptunne

Papi Shiitake
Photography by Nicole Miller @neptunne

“Music is what happens between the notes, not the notes themselves,” Papi Shiitake tells us below. The Brooklyn-based eclectic dream-pop maker sees authenticity as paramount in artistry. “It’s better to be genuine than good,” he says. Genuine he is on album Wabi-Sabi and not least, latest track “Punch Buggy”. The video for which, available to watch below, was inspired by Shiitake’s love of “cheesy action movies” and his longstanding goal to make a sci-fi video incorporating aliens.

His fearlessness in creating makes for the perfect temperament to communicate his amalgamation of intoxicating guitars, entrancing vocals and a web of intricately assembled instrumentations, imbued with 60s-hailing haze, the culmination of which has seen Shiitake compared to a mid-point between Kanye West and Mac DeMarco. His idiosyncratic intent is showcased in high definition on Wabi-Sabi which benefits from the production talents of the likes of Brandon Bost (Florence + The Machine, HAIM, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga) and Ryan Schwabe (Tierra Whack, Oneohtrix).

Head below to enter Shiitake’s world for yourself, right now, and read our chat with him on all things Wabi-Sabi…

Hey Papi Shiitake? Where are we speaking to you from?
Hey! I’m in Bushwick, Brooklyn, NY. Best place in the US if you ask me.

Do you remember the last dream you had?
I always remember dreams as soon as I wake up but then I totally forget the storyline. Last night I had an intense one about trains. Not sure what was going on… But do you ever go back to like the same world or dimension in a dream? You’re in there thinking, “wait, haven’t I been here before?” That happens to me all the time. There must be some sort of meaning to all of that.

What are some artists on your current rotation?

I’m loving Still Woozy, Glove, and this Argentinian artist Bizarrap. Of course, I have “Her Loss” on rotation.

Congratulations on your new single “Punch Buggy” and the release of your album, Wabi-Sabi! That album was in development for some time, how does it feel to unleash it?
Wow, what a process. It really is like giving birth. The album becomes the reason you wake up in the morning. It’s always in your thoughts. Now it’s like ‘what’s next?’ But isn’t that exciting??

You produced the music video yourself. Did you learn anything from that experience? How does it differ from previous video productions?
Honestly, I’m usually the one producing it. I come up with the idea for the videos and then find help to execute them. The videos are so intense! I think this is one of my best videos. I really learned to trust myself. I have a lot of weird ideas and I used to try to hide it. But the weirder I get the more people seem to like it.

How long have you been making music for?
Since I was in high school! I actually started a band before I knew how to play. I really wasn’t into sports so music was how I made my mark. I think at this point it’s a lifelong relationship.

Did you always know that you wanted to be an artist?
You know it really didn’t occur to me that I’m an artist until a couple years ago. I always thought music defined me but art is not what you make. It’s the way you live your life. Constantly seeking freedom of expression. It’s not for everyone but I really love it.

Who are some artists who have inspired your sound?
I’m influenced by so many things. Off the top of my head: Santigold, The Yardbirds, The Libertines, Timbaland, and Missy Elliot. It’s kind of an interesting mix but I love artists that groove!

And lastly, what’s on the horizon for you? Is there a future goal that gets you out of bed every morning?
More music!! I’m leaving for Argentina to do some writing for the next album and then will be back to tour in the Spring. I’m also working on a Wabi-Sabi iPhone game. Just trying to accomplish all my dreams.


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