OFFICE — It seems like the goal of the community you are a part of, as fluid and nebulous as it is, is to create an experimental space, in terms of sex, radicalism—pretty much a full roster of “taboo” topics. Sexuality, and sex itself, have been thematic in your work, and your life across the board. What might you attribute that to?
IAN ISIAH — I’ve always felt that sexuality, or the act of sex, was a very important factor in whatever I’m working on. Not really so much on a “perv” level, but as more of a sensual touch to things, a lusty attribute if you will.
O — Do you remember where, or from whom you learned about sex?
II — Growing up here in New York City, and being of West Indian descent— Trinidadian—I have always been around sex. From the way my people wine up dancing in clubs, or the influence ‘90s R&B had on my life growing up, I’ve always noticed sex.
O — How does music relate to sex—both in the act and the concept?
II — Music is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I remember being three years old in my grandma’s kitchen banging pots and pans. I also remember being five years old and someone handing me a microphone in church, and I never stopped loving music since then. However, it wasn’t just the music. The sound created a vibration. A rhythm inside me, that for some reason, ‘til this day I can’t explain. That same vibration I get from really fab sex. Basically, I strongly believe if the music is great enough, you can definitely get a bomb orgasm, as you do with sex.
O — Do you feel like you have been more inspired and stimulated to create by something that is lacking in your community or industry? Or moreso by seeing, hearing, and meeting people that are doing something you wanted to be a part of and contribute to?
II — When I first started singing outside of the church, like in the clubs ‘n’ shit, I was pretty young. And obviously foolish. I didn’t realize that I was in training, preparing myself to be able to sing in front of anybody and everybody at any time, all over the world, and be able to be a blessing to them while doing it. I gained a confidence I kind of knew I had, but obviously wasn’t operating in it at all. Now that I am more experienced, I’m learning to be a better leader with my musicianship. My inspiration comes from everything, as hopefully all artists would say. Every time I grab a mic—in the club, in the stu, or even at a funeral—I challenge myself to not just make sound, but to also shake up the soul.
O — Rather than just asking about ‘identity politics,’ let’s separate it out. How do you define ‘identity’, and what is your immediate reaction to the word?
II — ‘Identity’ to me is like a big-ass gumbo, filled with life’s laughs, love’s tears, and denial dreams. Well, that’s my immediate reaction to the word. Identity these days can also be capitalized on and misunderstood. This is a serious issue in our generation in my opinion. A lot of us are rightfully talented, however a lot of us are also allowing ourselves to be influenced in ways that are not helping growth towards our craft. As creators, artists, or whatever weird title you wanna give yourselves, there comes a time when you have to learn to close your ears and open your eyes.