Electro-dance outfit Ishi, celebrated the release of their sophomore LP, Digital Wounds, this weekend at the Granada Theater. Frontman John Mudd (One of two remaining original members, along with producer Brad Dale) says they wanted to make a new record that captured the energy from the dance-floor numbers of the first album.
"Our key goal was always to have a record that was cohesive and worked together. So it didn't sound the same, yet tapped into the nostalgia of listening to a record front to back. Not being tired of it."
The band is moving away from the folk sound that launched them into local fame, to embrace a more holistic electronic sound.
"I can't pigeonhole us," Mudd says. "For the next couple records I'll be trying to explore Ishi as an electronic dance band. Really seeing how far I can go with that." Mudd says the folk element of the band's lineage will be used for separate projects. "I'll always write folk songs, and we'll release some as a EP, embracing the folktronic aspect that got us all started."
To find inspiration for Ishi's new sound, Mudd turned to a few kings of pop.
"John Lennon and Michael Jackson were our inspirations for this record, the same way Daft Punk and Simon and Garfunkel were for the first," Mudd says. "It helps my vision to have a marrying pair of artists that I'm really inspired by."
The record's title, Digital Wounds, came from the band wanting to tackle society's increased depended on technology through, oddly enough, electronic music. "Digital Wounds means battling with the mundane lifestyle that technology can lock us into," Mudd says. It gets us disconnected with reality and human interaction. We wanted to explore that and find ways to heal, and not to be a slave to that mentality." And Mudd's solution?
"To really look inside one self to understand what makes you who you are. I personally have been able do that and it's helped me grow and interact with people on a deeper level by understanding your strengths and weakness."
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The messy revolving door of the Ishi's members is part of the band's well-chronicled criticism. Mudd embraces his strong personality as the reason his band has come this far, but he knows he needs to better appreciate the talent he has around him. "My strength as a frontman is being able to have a vision of a mood and feel with the band, and then creating that vibe and energy and expressing it with a live audience," Mudd says. "My weakness has been embracing all the talent that's in my band and letting them shine. And that's gonna come with time."
The new record was record in parts of Dallas and Brooklyn, with co-writing credits given to Mudd and Bale. The band will soon embark on a national tour, expanding their reach across the nation, while never forgetting where they came from.
"Dallas is a much integrated part of our success and spring-boarded us to where were at right now," Mudd said. "Dallas is a nice little bubble for artists to craft their art in an inexpensive way. We're not in debt. So, we can't thank Dallas enough for their love and support."