Amelia’s Magazine | The landscapes of Brooklyn: An interview with Lapland

lapland by daria h
Lapland by Daria Hlazatova.

Josh Mease works out of a tiny bedroom in Brooklyn, where he created his gorgeous debut self titled album Lapland, released late last year on The Lights Label. Trawling the evocative landscapes within his mind, he has put together a haunting collection of songs that are sure to creep under your skin…

You were born in Houston but now live in Brooklyn – why and when did you make the move to NY?
Right after high school. I thought I wanted to be a jazz musician, and NY is the best place to do that. I came up and studied music at a university, and about halfway through I realized I’d rather write songs and sing.

What were your biggest influences, music wise, growing up?
When I was a kid it was the Beatles and random 70′s and 80′s country music that my parents would listen to around the house. Also lots of stuff that was on MTV in the early nineties when I was 11 or 12. Once I got into high school I started studying jazz pretty intensely, so it was lots of John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter. Some of these things show up in music and some don’t.

What have you been doing alongside making music under the moniker Lapland?
I play random gigs as a freelance musician on bass and guitar. I also sing for jingles, and teach lessons. I help out with the family business, which is basically helping manage a website at this point.

Can you tell us more about your process of songwriting?
It’s always a little different for me. Sometimes I start by humming something in my iphone as a voice memo. Sometimes I’ll make stuff up on guitar or a keyboard. Or I’ll start w/ just an odd drum beat or loop that triggers my imagination. If I think of an interesting phrase or song idea, I’ll jot it down for later. Basically I change stuff up so I don’t get too bored and fall into writing the same stuff over and over. I would say most of my ideas start out as a melody and some chords, and I fill in the words later.

Why do you have the nickname White Chocolate?
At this point the only people that call me White Chocolate are some of the guys I went to a performing arts high school with in Houston, Texas. It started when I first got to school. I wasn’t the greatest player in the world as far as improvising jazz went, but I could play funky little ideas on guitar with ease.

You have said you like the idea of nature rather than the reality – do you have any nature stories you can share with us? Things that happened to you when you’ve been out in the wilds? Go on…
What I meant was I like the idea of being in a natural place more than the actual reality of trying to go camping or something like that. I don’t really have any nature stories as I’m actually kind of a city-slicker. When I’m sitting down to write I try and imagine I’m in a different place…

Lapland by Lapland is out now. Go enjoy!

Categories ,brooklyn, ,Daria Hlazatova, ,Josh Mease, ,Lapland, ,The Lights Label

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