When it comes to his music, Yoshi Flower isn’t concerned with defining it. He just wants to keep making it and “not die” in the process.
“I’m not one to describe life or art or music because it’s a language in itself really,” Yoshi Flower said in an interview with The Phoenix.
It makes sense he wouldn’t feel the need to place his sound into a genre — the sound is difficult to pin down. The Los Angeles-based artist combines hip-hop beats, indie-pop guitar riffs and deep synths to craft his corner of the music industry.
Before working as a solo artist, Yoshi Flower, whose given name is Josh Smith, made up one half of music duo Gosh Pith. In the past year and a half he’s released two albums — “PEER PLEASURE” (2019) and “AMERICAN RAVER” (2018) — and a variety of singles.
The most recent of those singles, “Rolling Thunder,” lacks that dark bass present in most other tracks. This choice gives the song a lighter, more fun tone, which Yoshi Flower said is all a part of the “illusion” of joy from drugs.
When at a party, he explained, there’s a perception that those on “x, y [or] z drug” are having all the fun in the world. As he sings, “Praying that this feeling never fades,” the reality that it won’t last forever kicks in. The surface-level happiness can only reveal so much.
“If you dig a little deeper and just shift your perspective to the side and kind of peel back the veil a bit, then it’s more like, why are we doing this?” Yoshi Flower said. “What are we trying to escape from?”
The pulsating synth and infectious melody of the track reflect the appeal of the parties and make it easy to not ask questions. But wondering why the high can’t be reached in the day-to-day without the help of the mood-altering drugs can’t be ignored.
He may be presenting these existential-crisis ideas as a solo artist, but he said the creative process has been anything but a one-man job.
“I think for me, my growth as a solo artist has been in direct relation to my growth as a non-isolated person,” Yoshi Flower said.
Whether it’s for emotional support or a ride to the studio, Yoshi Flower said he’s learned to rely on those around him. He’s formed a “creative community” including everyone from his manager and the public relations team to his friends.
Yoshi Flower noticed this network not only helped him but created a “domino effect of people connecting and people finding their own purpose.” He meets those working to make the songs come to life, those people meet everyone else involved and all walk away with new friends and acquaintances. Each new connection leads to new opportunities for growth and impact on others’ lives.
The impact doesn’t end with those Yoshi Flower knows best. He said he hopes his fans are able to build a similar community through his music.
“I just want my music to form habits of connection with my fans in the same way that I’ve been saved by music,” Yoshi Flower said. “It’s the ultimate language that just expresses things we can’t explain. I just want the people that hear it to feel something.”
Yoshi Flower is available to stream on all platforms.