Kishi Bashi Carves Beauty Out of Tragic History

The indie virtuoso takes time at his Boston tour stop to discuss his new album and how to stay balanced when writing about dark subjects.

July 17, 2019

Before I met Kishi Bashi B.M. '99 to record this episode at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, he was soundchecking the song “Marigolds” from his new album, Omoiyari. Armed to the teeth with effects pedals, he ran through complicated violin loops and intricate patterns of sounds as easily as I might make a peanut butter sandwich. It’s one of the film scoring alumnus’ true gifts as an artist—to make the difficult seem accessible.

This skill is even more on display on his new record, which is a lush, cinematic immersion into the Japanese internment camps instituted by the U.S. during World War II. Though addressing a dark topic, the album pulls from the indie musician's folkier side. A Japanese American himself, Kishi Bashi, whose given name is Kaoru Ishibashi, looks to understand the atrocities of the past and the disturbing realities of the present through the human stories of love, loss, and desire told over the course of the album. During our conversation, which we recorded shortly after soundcheck, we talked about the genesis of Omoiyari as both an album and an upcoming film, Bashi's approach to telling difficult stories as a songwriter, and much more.

Listen to the episode:

Songs referenced:

'Marigolds' by Kishi Bashi

'Summer of '42' by Kishi Bashi

'F Delano' by Kishi Bashi

Recorded by Tony Brown and Isak Kotecki
Engineered by Darcy Davis
Theme music by Sleeping Lion

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