It only takes a few minutes of A Beginner’s Guide To Faking Your Own Death, the new EP from Bronx-based singer-songwriter Jhariah, for you to realize that the project is going to be quite unlike anything you’ve heard before. The epic and enveloping nine-track EP is chock full of theatrical production and massive arrangements that feature strings, horns, keys, and more. Together, the project is a masterclass in musical excess that finds each track building a world unto itself before quickly tearing it down and moving onto the next one.
To celebrate the new EP, Jhariah sat down to talk My Chemical Romance, cooking competitions on TV, and feeling invincible in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Maximalist, indulgent, theatrical, and ambitious.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
There are certain albums or songs that always make me feel like I can do anything in the world. There’s really nothing like feeling unstoppable for a few minutes. I’d love for something I wrote to live in the form of that feeling for somebody else.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
I wish I had a cool answer but we’ve really only ever played in New York and recently played Philly for the first time. I’d LOVE to play Chicago though.
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
It’s the most obvious answer, but Gerard Way for sure. Everything he does always has such a striking sense of vulnerability while still being so unbelievably ambitious. It’s really hard to do both of those things at the same time, so I’m constantly inspired by the way he approaches realizing his artistic vision.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
Oh god, I don’t know there’s so much good food out there! Momofuku Noodle Bar has the best Ramen I’ve had anywhere. I think about that Ramen a lot.
What album do you know every word to?
I’m fully prepared to recite the entirety of The Black Parade, bonus tracks included, at any moment.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
Panic! At The Disco on the Pray For The Wicked Tour was a big moment for me. It’s the most extravagant, over-the-top, exciting stage show I’ve ever seen. Just thinking about it makes my heart race, which is exactly what I want out of every show.
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
I have these plaid Tripp pants I bought for a show once and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that powerful in another outfit. And of course, Doc Martens because they give that little bit of height I need to feel like it’s a show.
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
Definitely Myron from Pinkshift (@meedbons), his social media presence is completely unhinged and I look forward to it every day.
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
In the idealized version of a tour I’ve dreamt up, the song is “Bang The Doldrums” by Fall Out Boy or “Fast In My Car” by Paramore. Will have to revisit this once I learn how to drive, acquire a van, and go on my first tour with it.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
A long string of variations on “Now that’s the problem right there, your carburetor–” in an attempt to find this obscure twitter video from 2017. Funnily enough, answering this question helped me to find it, so thank you Indie Mixtape. That was gonna bother me all day.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Any Watsky album. They do such an amazing job at packaging, I think you’d have to appreciate it as an art piece even if you never listen to it.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Is this all an elaborate game to remind me that I haven’t toured? Fine, I’ll go play some shows across the country. Will that make you happy?
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
My first tattoo is of a mini keyboard on my right arm. On it, the first chord of the first song on my first album is marked with dots. I really like having a reminder of where everything started wherever I go. Something about it is very grounding.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Honestly, I love most of the music in the top 40! Obsessed with the way Olivia Rodrigo is killing it right now, Lil Nas X literally cannot miss, and Dua Lipa never seems to get old.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
My parents tolerated me loudly learning how to sing and tracking over 3 records in my bedroom. They endured 5+ years of unrelenting noise before I moved out. The nicest thing they ever did for me wasn’t being supportive or encouraging in the process, but refraining from making almost any comments at all so that I wouldn’t be self-conscious about them hearing me.
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Go to less open mics and spend more time on Twitter. The problem isn’t that your music doesn’t fit in, you just haven’t found the right place for it yet.
What’s the last show you went to?
Recently saw my friend Pictoria Vark perform on a rooftop in Brooklyn!! It’s the first show I’ve attended in over a year and the performances were so great! The entire time I was just in disbelief that it was happening.
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
I don’t even have cable, but if I did, It’d be purely for watching cooking competition shows.
What would you cook if Obama were coming to your house for dinner?
Tax dollars or whatever politicians eat, I guess.