Fleeing New York usually comes at the end of a career, struggling or successful. When electro-pop’s favorite violinist K Ishibashi moved his wife and their child back to his home in Norfolk, Va., defeat might have been an easy presumption about the indie sideman. Instead, for Ishibashi, who now performs as Kishi Bashi, it was the catalyst for a burgeoning solo career.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” he says en route to San Francisco. “It was kind of embarrassing, too, being 36 years old and moving into my parents’ house for six months. But being outside of the city really made it possible to create a record. Now, I’m doing better than ever, financially and otherwise.”
Ishibashi spent most of his career backing big names like Regina Spektor and Of Montreal, but his migration south sparked last April’s debut full-length, 151a, on which he acts as a one-man band, looping, layering, and producing an avant-pop version of free jazz. Currently on his second headlining tour, Ishibashi feels he’s finally found his niche.
“Working alone gave me the kind of creative freedom I’ve never had. I contributed a lot of my own stuff in other projects, but I got to explore elements with a lot more freedom,” he says.
Ishibashi and his two touring members have been traveling almost constantly since 151a came out, including an October stop at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. While many newer artists are green to touring, he’s well-seasoned.
“I’ve been around the block in the music industry, so it takes a lot of the guesswork out of it. The only difference is that now I’m doing it for myself.”– Abby Johnston