Jestamang’s ‘8slush (Ode to Bonnie)’: A Psychedelic Ode Breaking Boundaries & Embracing Evolution
Jestamang’s latest release, 8slush (Ode to Bonnie), stands as a testament to their dynamic and psychedelic identity, boasting a fresh and unique sound in every track. As part of the ambitious 2K2323 series, the band experimented with a buzzsaw harpsichord, creating a consistent sound throughout the album, while also bringing back a classic drum set for a touch of nostalgia.
The record also explores profound themes, including a powerful sonic journey in “Bloodhouse,” inspired by a near-death experience and the fast-paced nature of life. “Jesta Joint,” strikes a balance between light-hearted charm and a hint of danger, reflecting the unpredictability of dating. Love and self-acceptance are woven throughout the album, with each track holding a unique personal stamp, emphasizing the importance of experience in building intimacy and insight.
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As Jestamang continues to push the boundaries of artistic expression in the digital era, 8slush (Ode to Bonnie), and The Ace of Chase’s role in it aligns perfectly with their goal of ushering in a psychedelic renaissance, challenging norms and seizing moments of potential and creativity.
With Ode to Bonnie being part of the ambitious 2K2323 series, how did you ensure that each track brought something fresh and unique to the table, while maintaining the dynamic and psychedelic identity of Jestamang?
Something fresh we tried out is the buzzsaw harpsichord on every song. Usually we like to switch between sounds with different tracks, but we’ve never tried an unchanging front to back. Ode to Bonnie also loves using a classic drum set that a lot of Jestamang doesn’t dare go near. Short, sweet and to the point. If you want to differentiate, the lyrics are what you want to read. There are times where we forget about simplicity going a long way. That includes the recording process, which started with bass and drums.
We sat on that for a couple of months, doing other projects and whatnot before we tracked the rest of ‘8slush’ in about 3 weeks. With how dynamic Jestamang can be, we should be able to find something we can dive into that’s not a replica of what we’ve done before, and that includes the way we go about it. Fear of failing does not exist when you work under this collective. It takes patience, but you eventually begin to realize your full potential. We try to inject life in every release, and that’s something we’re glad to repeat. To wither away and die is something we try to avoid.
Could you delve into the creative journey of crafting “Bloodhouse,” and share how you were able to channel your inner world into such a powerful sonic experience? In what ways did your life experiences shape the track’s sound?
I had a near death experience back in late 2022 when I was found to have a pulmonary embolism. My lungs weren’t feeling the best from 2020-2022, but I had a very laissez-faire attitude with my health at the time. I thought I had lung cancer or something, so I kind of accepted the fact that I was going to kick prematurely. There’s also an atmosphere of defeat and doom that social media and the Internet like to toy around with, especially with people my age. So I combined the two and that’s “Bloodhouse.” The song’s fast tempo is that life is too short as people say all the time, and I understand that, despite being 23 years old.
“Jesta Joint” combines light-hearted provocation and nuanced hints of danger. Can you share how you achieved this equilibrium of fascination and charm?
It’s a song about dating, and with dating you run the risk of dating a crazy person. My buddy from Ft. Myers who visited Boston back Summer of 2020 brought a girl who he just met. He instantly regretted bringing her. She was a verbal assassin and his game was the passive aggressive thing, so they were duking it out. She ended up jipping him out of $600. Just a case of getting seduced by a crazy person, or in a lot of cases, both are crazy.
I’d like to think my boundaries are pretty set in stone with the girls I meet, and that’s the light hearted, charming tone I try to meet with “Jesta Joint.” It’s like, if you wanna go, let’s go. Try your best to take me down and see if you still feel like a badass after I make you feel ridiculous with that toxic whatever, because I’m not selling. It rarely gets like that, but if it did, It would be hard to faze me. I have a high tolerance for chaos.
The album addresses themes like love and self-acceptance, with each track having a unique personal stamp. How did you intertwine these universal concepts with a deep sense of intimacy and personal insight?
Experience is one of the most important things one can be a part of. That is what builds intimacy and insight. Songs never just come out of thin air. The love and self acceptance thing is the starting tool for fulfilling your life, and is a constant in Jestamang. You are lost otherwise. Life is full of ups and downs, but that doesn’t mean your heart should stop loving. I’d like to think I have a good heart.
We don’t see a point in going backwards and breaking things just to break them. There are plenty of examples of human negativity, and we would like our art to make sense until our lives cease to exist. It also helps that we just kind of do our own thing without anyone over our shoulder telling us what to do, especially in our incubation period. Sitting on things, being invisible and people basically leaving us alone for 2-3 years while Covid was going on gave us a freedom that is difficult to achieve. It gave us time to flesh ideas out, build confidence, and reflect on our perception with the songs we write.
Can you elaborate on the decision to incorporate Baroque Rock elements into Ode to Bonnie, and how does this choice enhance its thematic exploration and the overall listening experience?
We’ve incorporated harpsichords in the sound since the beginning, usually in a folk or more traditionally baroque vibe. For ‘8slush,’ the initial goal was recording strictly bass and drums, and sitting on it for a bit, deciding later with where it should go. Strip the harpsichord and it has punk like tones. The obvious next step is to throw a fuzzed out guitar and that’s a wrap, but I was curious to see how a sustained harpsichord would gel with the rhythm. It ended up sounding really cool. Also, the ‘2K2323’ expedition is coming to an end in December, which is a Jestamang album released every month for 2023. The instrumentation was a conscious choice of going back to our roots and wrapping things up.
From your beginnings with a left-handed Washburn acoustic guitar to becoming a key member of Jestamang and contributing to seminal works like Green House and Cell Life, how has your musical identity evolved over the years?
In the beginning, throwing ideas and sounds at a wall was the way to go. Low expectations and an understanding of my lack of experience was a reminder that starting somewhere and not getting caught up in the details was a way to get from point A to point B. Now I’ve developed the sense of deadlines, delayed gratification and consistency. It all comes with practice.
Also, the sooner you collaborate, the better choices you will make. I believe that bringing fleshed out ideas to people is a faster and more effective process to thrive in, but you need the collaboration to test the ego and to quit bean picking. You begin to appreciate the grander picture, and you begin to operate as a team, rather than being in it for yourself. It really is a spiritual awakening.
Jestamang stands out as a transformative musical group, striving to usher in a psychedelic renaissance. Can you discuss how Ode to Bonnie and your role as The Ace of Chase, aligns with this ambitious goal, and how you think this album challenges the norms of artistic expression in today’s digital era?
The renaissance art of the past is a big inspiration, mainly because it shows the possibilities and potential that art can be transcended and brought to a higher level than our minds can even imagine. The Internet age throws the human race into a brand new environment and artists should go full throttle with these benefits.
For example, there’s a band called Bull of Heaven that’s about as boundary pushing as you can get in the digital era. With one journey being making the longest song possible. I think one of their songs is a few sextillion years long. Point being that we are literally not even 50 years into the internet age. We educated ourselves. We built this ourselves. We created our own universe. No one is telling us no you can’t do that.
Jestamang’s vision could not exist without the internet. The freedom is too sweet for people just starting out, but you have to quit stalling. This ‘8slush’ album is just one brick out of many bricks of the vision. With Covid-19 and almost dying giving me a lot of free time, I had to seize my moments quickly and efficiently. Everyone has their own unique moments in time where you should pull the trigger on your dreams and potential. I always remind myself that tomorrow is never a guarantee.
Watch the music video for “Bloodhouse” here:
Listen to the full album below: