Interview – Jason Keisling

Jason Keisling is an artist with a very unique sound to his music, as his latest album release, In Finite shows. I wanted to find out more about this fascinating musician so decided to have a chat – you can also check out the album at the end of this interview.

By Jane Howkins

You recently released an album titled In Finite, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the album?

In Finite is a concept album about coming to terms with the limitations of life and the world around us. It outlines my personal growth and evolving worldviews, learning to see the world in new ways and appreciating the life we have.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

Oh definitely. The pandemic began not long after I’d developed the concept for the album and it posed new challenges to my views on life. As I was writing an album focused on navigating life’s storms and accepting the world we live in, a worldwide plague just sort of supercharged a lot of those feelings. Life felt more volatile and unpredictable than ever. The song I was mostly working on when the pandemic began was And the Rest is Rust and Stardust. That song is about mortality and the anxieties around death and how the fear of death controls us and prevents us from fully enjoying life. And here I was avoiding crowds and staying in my home as much as possible because there’s a serious virus going around that at the time that we knew little about. That song ended up heavier than I’d originally intended and I think a lot of that is due to the time in which it was written.

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

I like to start with a piano or pad and work out some chord progressions that encompass the feelings I want to convey. From there, I’ll build the instrumentation on top of that. But sometimes it’s the opposite process – I’ll have a riff I’ve been messing around with and will build the underlying chords to support it. One of the most important aspects of my songwriting is capturing the feeling or emotion I’m going for and usually it’s easiest for me to start with chord progressions and find intervals that make me feel something.

Do you plan to release any singles in the near future?

A few of my new songs are really close to being finished. I haven’t made any decisions about release dates yet but there’s definitely some new stuff in the pipeline. There’s also a Post-Everything Collective collaboration that is finished and will likely be released this summer. 

Have you started writing for another EP or an album?

Yes, I’ve actually been working on a new EP for a while now. I finished writing In Finite last fall and released it in February so by the time people heard it, I’d already been working on my new EP for months. The goal was to release the new EP by the end of the year, but I am having wrist surgery in a couple of weeks that might throw off that timeline significantly depending on how much I’m able to play instruments while it’s healing. 

What/who influences you most as an artist? What have you been listening to recently?

Pink Floyd and Radiohead are my two favourite bands, but my influences are all over the place. Lately I’ve been listening to a Japanese post rock band called Miaou quite a bit, but also more electronic stuff and folky acoustic type stuff. 

Where are you based? What is the music scene like in your part of the world? Are you influenced by your surroundings?

I’m based in Washington DC area and to be honest I don’t know a lot about the music scene here, though I did go see Andrew Toy (who played drums on about half of my album) play live a couple weeks ago and that inspired me to do some live stuff. 

Do you have any tour dates lined up?

No tour dates lined up, but I am starting to experiment with live looping or collaborating with other musicians in order to do some live shows. It will probably be a while but I do think there will be something live eventually.

What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

It’s hard to say at the moment since I haven’t played any of my album live, but I have been experimenting a lot with live-looping and being able to perform my songs without a band. So I think once it happens people can expect to see me playing multiple instruments and recreating songs from my album without a band. There will be a lot of multi-tasking!

Any last words for the fans?

Thanks for listening! I never imagined people other than friends and family would hear my music and it surprises me every day just how much support this album has received.