Interview: What So Not talks collaborations, ‘Not All the Beautiful Things’ and speaking at Harvard before his Sasquatch set

You have to try extremely hard to miss What So Not. Chris (What So Not) walks in with freshly dyed, as he describes it, “tennis ball green” hair, bright red overalls with a matching fanny pack slung around him and bright pink shades. He screams cool and upon talking to him, is just that. We got the chance to chat with him before his set at Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge.

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. How are you liking Sasquatch! so far?
It’s a real vibe. I love The Gorge. I think it’s one of my favorite spots in America. Just the view and the energy…

Yeah, The Gorge is massive! So, you have a few different names that you go by – Emoh Instead, What So Not, and Chris Emerson. Which one do you prefer?
I don’t really mind. I haven’t used Emoh Instead in a long time. Emoh came from my last name, Emerson. I’ve just been going by What So Not.

What So Not started out as a duo with Flume. How has separating in 2015 changed the production of music for you?
I mean we hadn’t produced together in a long. At that point, we never really worked side-by-side in the studio like we did originally for three or four years, except when we spent a couple weeks together making Gemini. So, it’s been pretty much the same process. I go do fun and exciting things in life and try to sort of capture those moments by getting in the studio and creating music in interesting ways.

Now you just released Not All the Beautiful Things in March. Every song either has a feature or it’s with somebody. Was that an intentionally effort on your part?
Well I was writing a lot of the vocals for this record, which I haven’t ever done before. And I’ve never really sung before either and I did on a couple of these records. I needed someone who I loved the tone and texture of their voice. I was exploring a new area of singing and songwriting that I needed somebody with great expertise and skill to put it together.

You did a talk at Harvard last month. How was it speaking at such a prestigious school?
It was really cool! A bunch of the kids asked great questions. It was fun to pick their brains as well.

You’re slated for a few festivals coming up. Other than Sasquatch! which one are you excited for?
I’m pretty excited for Bonnaroo coming up in a couple weeks. We’re getting in a day early. I’m going to hang out and get in to some campground parties. Just going to have a bunch of fun.

You blew your speakers out at your Austin show. Is it difficult to keep your composure during technical issues?
I mean there’s always things going wrong! Like that old saying, “the show must go on”.

Last month you were on BBC Radio with TOKiMONSTA. She performs right before you. Are you going to watch her set before you go on?
I just saw that and got really excited! I’m going to go check her out for sure.

Do you guys meet up at all or is there just no time?
Everyone knows each other. We always try to hang out. I’m going to try and catch the whole Anderson.Paak crew. I hung out with them all on a tour so it’s going to be fun to see them today. Toki of course. She actually lives like four houses down from where I stay when I’m in LA. I went to do an interview with her and put the address in my Maps. I was like, “Yo!  You guys sent me my own address. What’s going on?” So yeah it was kind of funny!

What So Not has five shows in Australia before hitting a bunch more festivals this summer. You can check out all his tour stops here. Check out his latest record, Not All The Beautiful Things, here.

Nicolita Bradley
Nicolita is a caffeine-addicted photographer based in Seattle. You can follow her work on Instagram at instagram.com/okaynicolita or check out her website at okaynicolita.com.

Interview: What So Not talks collaborations, ‘Not All the Beautiful Things’ and speaking at Harvard before his Sasquatch set

You have to try extremely hard to miss What So Not. Chris (What So Not) walks in with freshly dyed, as he describes it, “tennis ball green” hair, bright red overalls with a matching fanny pack slung around him and bright pink shades. He screams cool and upon talking to him, is just that. We got the chance to chat with him before his set at Sasquatch! Music Festival at The Gorge.

Thank you so much for hanging out with us today. How are you liking Sasquatch! so far?
It’s a real vibe. I love The Gorge. I think it’s one of my favorite spots in America. Just the view and the energy…

Yeah, The Gorge is massive! So, you have a few different names that you go by – Emoh Instead, What So Not, and Chris Emerson. Which one do you prefer?
I don’t really mind. I haven’t used Emoh Instead in a long time. Emoh came from my last name, Emerson. I’ve just been going by What So Not.

What So Not started out as a duo with Flume. How has separating in 2015 changed the production of music for you?
I mean we hadn’t produced together in a long. At that point, we never really worked side-by-side in the studio like we did originally for three or four years, except when we spent a couple weeks together making Gemini. So, it’s been pretty much the same process. I go do fun and exciting things in life and try to sort of capture those moments by getting in the studio and creating music in interesting ways.

Now you just released Not All the Beautiful Things in March. Every song either has a feature or it’s with somebody. Was that an intentionally effort on your part?
Well I was writing a lot of the vocals for this record, which I haven’t ever done before. And I’ve never really sung before either and I did on a couple of these records. I needed someone who I loved the tone and texture of their voice. I was exploring a new area of singing and songwriting that I needed somebody with great expertise and skill to put it together.

You did a talk at Harvard last month. How was it speaking at such a prestigious school?
It was really cool! A bunch of the kids asked great questions. It was fun to pick their brains as well.

You’re slated for a few festivals coming up. Other than Sasquatch! which one are you excited for?
I’m pretty excited for Bonnaroo coming up in a couple weeks. We’re getting in a day early. I’m going to hang out and get in to some campground parties. Just going to have a bunch of fun.

You blew your speakers out at your Austin show. Is it difficult to keep your composure during technical issues?
I mean there’s always things going wrong! Like that old saying, “the show must go on”.

Last month you were on BBC Radio with TOKiMONSTA. She performs right before you. Are you going to watch her set before you go on?
I just saw that and got really excited! I’m going to go check her out for sure.

Do you guys meet up at all or is there just no time?
Everyone knows each other. We always try to hang out. I’m going to try and catch the whole Anderson.Paak crew. I hung out with them all on a tour so it’s going to be fun to see them today. Toki of course. She actually lives like four houses down from where I stay when I’m in LA. I went to do an interview with her and put the address in my Maps. I was like, “Yo!  You guys sent me my own address. What’s going on?” So yeah it was kind of funny!

What So Not has five shows in Australia before hitting a bunch more festivals this summer. You can check out all his tour stops here. Check out his latest record, Not All The Beautiful Things, here.

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