The Crowd Wasn’t Ready for Yoshi Flower at Schubas Tavern
Yoshi Flower came to LA from Detriot 2 years ago, and his career has skyrocketed since. Refusing to create a cookie cutter persona, this unique artist spans over many genres. His music sits on the foundation of a man and his guitar, but with powerful lyrics, pop themes and a hip-hop backdrop impossible to categorize. Upon the release of his latest album American Raver, Yoshi Flower just kicked off his first headlining tour at Chicago’s intimate Schubas Tavern. The young and unique singer/songwriter sat down with us for a chat before the show. While the event was a milestone, he seemed calm and collected. His facetious and dry humor showed through a bit during the conversation, but the satire was understood and well received.
Sensible Reason: This is the first stop on your tour? Are you excited?
Yoshi Flower: Yep. First headlining tour, very excited.
SR: Any particular city you’re really excited to hit?
YF: Detriot. My hometown, New York, LA just sold out. Wherever people want to rave, I’m here.
SR: How long ago did you move to LA from Detriot?
YF: 2 years.
SR: Was it a huge change from where you grew up?
YF: It was oddly familiar because the people I surround myself with seemed really similar to Detriot. Good people. I didn’t really go with much, so it was a fresh start, I suppose. The one thing that was remarkable was how many creative people there are there. So it makes me excited to wake up because you can kind of just do anything you want. If you have a good idea, the people will get behind it. It’s pretty similar to Detriot, I grew up on the East side. The only difference is that there’s no more grey. Just gold and sunny.
SR: Do you miss the storms?
YF: I do, but it’s been raining in LA so I could just lay in bed and listen to the rain for hours and I don’t know I’m lucky to be there.
SR: Your music has a lot of depth in terms of your songwriting, musically as well. You seem to draw a lot of inspiration from the human experience, is that true?
YF: I’m an observer of sorts. I come from the middle in most aspects of the term. I was raised in the Midwest, I grew up in a place where 2 miles south is the slums and 6 miles north is mansions. I’m like 5’8″/5’9″ and I’m not particularly sexy or ugly. People say I’m so ugly I came out the other side and I’m hot now. [Laughs] I don’t mind but I’ve been programmed to be in the middle of things so it would be kind of lacking awareness or dumb not to observe everything around me. It’s just my little coping mechanism, it’s like my breathing, I just write things down or I remember things that people say or the way they made me feel or the way that others felt and told me about it and sometimes songs fall out of me. I don’t really think about it too much, when I do it kind of doesn’t work out.
SR: Do you feel as though we all have similar experiences as humans? Life, death, uncertainty?
YF: I think relatively, yeah it’s pretty much the same the only difference is how we process it. There was a woman a few weeks ago that told me she doesn’t believe that circumstances affect how we act because I wasn’t at her dinner table for 10 years growing up but we still had the same emotions and weird flaws that we’ve developed. So, I can’t say with any certainty what we all feel but I think I’m more of a determinist of sorts rather than free will. If you think about it when a man or a woman is born, they already have all the eggs or semen in them already. That means the next generation is gonna have that stuff and so on and so forth. So it’s kind of like oddly existential but it’s like creation, we all feel the same things. So I just talk about it.
SR: You mentioned on Twitter that you can’t write about death because it wouldn’t be played on the radio. Was that a joke? Do you ever filter what you write about for your audience or to get recognized?
YF: [Laughs] No, I don’t filter anything. I don’t like to do anything malicious I like to do things that are honest and not very…I’m not a very adversarial person. But I don’t filter anything but I don’t feel very adversarial. I feel like a sponge that’s absorbed too much, I’m just leaking stuff out.
SR: Were you just being facetious in your Tweet?
YF: Yeah, I guess so. I don’t really remember.
I’m not supposed to say that we all die one day, I know it won’t get played on the radio
— yoshi flower (@y0shiflower) February 4, 2019
SR: A handful of your songs make references to life and drugs. Do you have a lot of experience in that underworld? This can be off the record if you’d like.
YF: Nothing’s off the record, as my mom would tell me. I’ve never done drugs. I’ve never drunk or done drugs. I just spend all my money on alcohol and drugs, but I’ve never done it, I just talk about it.
SR: Ah…Gotcha 😉 So you make a point to not stick to one particular genre. Your music is all over the place which is great. Do you ever feel pressure from other people to move in a particular direction of a genre?
YF: Yeah, definitely. But I don’t feel pressure to do it. People do say things. Someone told me I’m white and I play guitar so I should make alternative rock and I said “I make alternative rock, what are you talking about?” and they said “You make hip-hop,” and I said “I make hip-hop, what are you talking about?” and so on. So I don’t feel pressure about it, but I have ears and I have people that talk to me more and more now that I’m making music. Anybody who wants to tell an artist to do something a certain way is the last person that artist should listen to. Because the kids that aren’t affected by it are the people I listen to more. When someone DMs me and said they heard this or this happened, that’s when I focus on what they said and I see. It would be cool to replicate that, that was a unique moment. But yeah, people have opinions and they’re entitled to that but I don’t really listen to that.
SR: Kind of a “You can have an opinion that doesn’t make it right” kind of thing?
YF: Yeah, I guess. There are a few people I can think of that tell me a few things but it’s never really made it to my core, I hope that continues.
SR: Gotta do whatever you want to do, right? Otherwise, who are you but the pawn for everybody else?
SR: Are you going to be releasing music while on tour or just focus on that this month? What’s next for you?
YF: I’m going to go to Whole Foods…with my friend Cole who makes the lights and stage design. I’m going to put a song out on February 15th that I’m going to play tonight, so hopefully, people care for it.
Yoshi Flower sounds like your brother who secretly loved female-centric bedroom pop then took ecstasy at a hip-hop concert and began to make music of his own. The lyrics have the angst of the human experience with a heartfelt guitar and the attitude of a rap superstar all under the guise of an “American Raver”. He even had his audience pledge allegiance to the rave. The best of many worlds collided on the stage at Schubas as the crowd took it all in. As the only one on stage, Yoshi didn’t quite fill the space, leaving many in the crowd itching for a full band behind him. He is unlike anyone we’ve heard so far, which is extremely refreshing in a world where many artists sound the same.
The energy of the room didn’t quite match what Yoshi had to offer, which was unfortunate. He had much to give, although he did admit that he was nervous no one would even show to his first headlining show in his career. His sense of humor again reared its head at the end of the night as he asked his tour manager if they had insurance. He then concluded with little warning as Yoshi dramatically smashed a guitar on stage before he quickly exited through the side door. The theatrics definitely left the audience in awe and likely left an impression.
Supporting Yoshi on his tour is another Midwest native, KennyHoopla. The crowd wasn’t ready for his unbridled energy and powerful tracks. This guy is ready for the big time and we won’t have to count the days very long before this guy is one of the biggest. His unique singing style is gritty and almost pained, yet the passion in his presentation poured out of him. His several attempts to hype up the crowd fell on deaf ears for most. However, the ones who were responsive met his energy with open arms and hands raised. KennyHoopla belongs on the big stages with festival crowds and those who adore his style of hip-hop. Donning no shirt and one dangling earring, his short stature didn’t matter in comparison to his energy.
— yoshi flower (@y0shiflower) February 6, 2019
Catch Yoshi Flower and KennyHoopla as they take over a city near you, remaining tour dates below.