Tulane student musicians discuss new single in Arcade Q&A

Josh Mosier

Courtesy of Josh Mosier

The album cover for single “Whatchu Need,” features Josh Mosier and TJ Washington. The collaborators are both Tulane students.

Tulane students Josh Mosier and TJ Washington recently published the genre-bending single, “Whatchu Need,” on SoundCloud and Spotify. The duo has several upcoming performances, including a Nov. 30 gig at The Dragon’s Den. Mosier recently performed individually at Gasa Gasa, opening for pop singer Zealyn.

Burke Joslin: You guys released a new single on SoundCloud recently, right? Is that the first song you’ve worked together on?

Mosier: Yeah, this is the first one. It was the first or second time we met, and we made the beat from start to finish in, like, one sitting. We wrote the chords, and then we figured out the hook, and it was almost done after that. And then from there it was just mixing and stuff.

Joslin: Are you working on an EP and album, or … ?

Mosier: Right now we’re thinking he’s gonna drop his debut EP, that I’m gonna produce entirely.

Washington: Yeah, I have this thing where I write everything down, random things that come to my head, and I literally just give it to him. Like I give him the clay, and he makes this fucking sculpture [both laugh].

Joslin: So it’s very much a team effort?

Mosier: Yeah, it’s kind of just one of those rare situations where both of us have our specialties that we bring to the table, and it has been going perfectly together in my opinion. But yeah, aside from that, I’m still going to be working on my own music. Those are our immediate goals right now, to get his stuff out, but then the next thing I want to put out I want to be very live-oriented, I guess. With instrumentation, me playing guitar, a band behind me.

Joslin: What would you say inspires your lyrics and your melodies?

Mosier: I would say listening to other people’s music. I grew up, no lie, playing more like John Mayer-type, singer-songwriter stuff, and more recently I’ve been getting more into jazz and hip hop. But in terms of lyrics, I’ve been fortunate to not have too much pain in my life, except for that I get real sensitive about girls. That’s pretty much what I find myself writing about, and music has applied to all the different relationships I’ve had throughout my life. Music is the perfect outlet.

Washington: Yeah, I feel that for sure. Everything that I can’t say, or can’t really explain, I just put in a song. Whatever sounds good, whatever sounds meaningful.

Mosier: Yeah, and also, a lot of my writing has to do with what sounds the best. Like I’m not consciously thinking at the time, it’s kind of just what comes out.

Washington: Yeah, it’s not really a mental thing. When you have little thoughts like, “Damn, what am I going to do with my life,” you can put that in a song. You can just sing it out, basically.

Mosier: Also, a lot of times we start with the instrumental, just figuring out what fits perfectly. But the best songs are where it has multiple different meanings.

Joslin: It’s relatable to people listening to it, that kind of thing?

Mosier: Yeah, that’s the goal. I mean, I hope people can relate to it. But I really focus on the sound, I’d say. That’s the main part.

Washington: I’ll leave that to him. I’ll literally just give him the clay, and he just molds it into something crazy.

Joslin: So your musical styles are different, but they combine well?

Washington: Yeah, see, his style is crazy because it’s so unique. The first music I ever listened to was Nirvana. That was the first thing I ever fell in love with. And later on it moved to hip hop, like Lil Wayne. And you’ve got jazz, too, and country from being here in the South. I heard his music, and that was, like, my favorite kind of music.

Mosier: I started out with the singer-songwriter stuff, but then blues and jazz is my interest, like what I work on improving and learning about. There’s so much in jazz that you can take from these great jazz artists that just sounds interesting and ridiculous and beautiful. Having that sort of popular style but still incorporating those elements is cool. And it just happens to work very well with this guy.

Joslin: So the single you guys dropped, “Whatchu Need,” is very much a collaborative effort?

Mosier: Yeah, we wanted to put that out there to show people what we’ve been working on. But yeah, I would say the next songs you’ll hear are me producing TJ’s album.

Washington: Yeah, he’s been literally just helping me out with everything. I couldn’t tell you a note from a note, honestly. I just watch him in awe. He’s got so much information.

Mosier: I’m a nerd, yeah.

Washington: And I’m just trying to, like, soak it up. I’m a leech. [Both laugh.]

Mosier: And hopefully I can get some of my own stuff in the works, too, but I want it to be, like, real band-oriented. But it’s pretty tight that we can make these songs out of my bedroom.

Joslin: Wait, is that where you record?

Washington: Yeah, I live right, like, one block away, so whenever he’s like, “Hey, want to make some music?” I just say, “Sure.”

Mosier: Yeah, honestly no secret to it. I make the instrumentals. This kid does it first take though. That’s the difference. I can sing at this point, but I’ll sit there doing 10 takes just trying to get it perfect, and he’ll come over and do it just one time.

Joslin: When did you guys first meet?

Washington: I kept posting Instagram videos of me after Music Theory just playing in the piano room and singing, thinking that maybe people would like it. And then he heard my stuff one day, and then … I already knew about him, but he didn’t know. I was like, “Damn, he wants me to come in and do something.” The guy that sang “Million Times?” That was pretty dope. And then he put on beats, and it was the exact vibe I was looking for.

Mosier: And then from my perspective, I’m like, “Holy shit, this kid can sing — this is perfect!” [Both laugh.]

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