Sisyfuss, the solo project of local multi-instrumentalist Josh Quijada, combines pop music with the artist's DIY San Antonio roots. Josh has been recording as Sisyfuss since 2017 and recently released the album The New Happiness, for which he wrote, performed, recorded and produced all but one song entirely on his own. Sisyfuss will be playing at KRTU's Indie Overnight Spring Showcase on March 7th at Paper Tiger.
Can you describe a bit of the background of your project Sisyfuss?
I used to play with a local band called Peach Pits, and that was a full band. That was where I got my start back in high school. I started as their singer, and then I went on to play bass, and as I learned more bass, I started to learn guitar as well. That kinda l led into me wanting to make my own solo project, where I could write my own songs and do everything myself. Also, I wanted to work with some different influences that they weren’t so open to.
What are some of those influences?
I like to say a lot of R&B, I used to listen to a lot of Prince and Michael Jackson back in high school, along with all the normal indie music that one might get into at that time, and some emo music as well. I kinda wanted to combine those interests and kind of wear as many of those on my shoulder as I possibly could. Try to introduce something with a new flavor that sounds familiar but ultimately is something new itself.
What kind of changes in sounds have you seen in the music your producing in this project?
I think you can definitely hear a pretty big evolution of sound going from my SoundCloud songs, like the songs that aren’t on any records, to my EP, and then again from EP on to my album. I think there’s quite a bit of evolution there. I wanted to bring kind of a pop appeal, more of like different flavors from pop and R&B, even some like, more introspective, deeper music. My EP is pretty introspective, so I wanted to take that to a new height on the album. That’s kind of where that change came from: wanting to be more unique and true to myself, I guess. My EP was kind of affected very much by the local scene and what was popular in local music, as well as what I was making beforehand in Peach Pits, and I kind of wanted to deviate from that for the album.
Have you achieved that independent sound or are you still working towards it?
I think it’s somewhat independent. Of course, things are going to sound derivative because all music is derivative, but I’d like to think I made my own little space in our local scene and the indie scene in general. I’m looking to build on that. I’m never going to be content with anything, always going to want to improve, and build my own niche and build on top of that. Im looking to improve my sound quality, my songwriting, my creativity and improve just in general.
What has been the response to your album?
Locally, it’s been well-received. I’m pretty content with it. More so than I was with the EP. I had an issue with the EP in that it was too similar, like each song was very very much the same. I like the album. I feel like a lot of other people like it because it takes you on a more interesting sonic journey, through my own mind.
Now that the album has been out for a couple of months, are you starting to work on new stuff?
I’m always making music. Who knows when any of it will get released, but I’m always working on new stuff.
What’s your process?
It’s a lonely process. I do everything myself in my bedroom. I would say I put more focus on songwriting than anything. I don’t like to flex guitar skills or vocal skills. I’m not gonna, like, say that I’m the best vocalist or the best guitarist ever. I don’t want to get too musical and make the listener feel alienated. I just wanna make more comfortable pop songs. Usually I just throw down a drum beat in whatever program I’m using, and then I just kind of jam on top of it until I find something really sticky that I just keep thinking about and building upon throughout the day. I’m just always thinking about music. I find that it helps when I do more boring tasks, whether it be washing dishes or taking a shower. That’s when I have my most creative moments. I feel like right after I do those things I beeline straight to my computer to add what I’ve been thinking about.
Is that sense of listlessness your biggest inspiration then?
I’d say it’s a combination of being bored and wanting to create, as well as having my own issues and topics that I wanna discuss and kind of conveying it in an interesting way and in a way people can relate to. Music is very helpful for me for normal issues, things like anxiety or like depression or anything like that. It helps me with those things, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. It feels very rewarding to finish a song.