New York-based artist TRiPPJONES aka MISTER SINISTER, has just released the brand new EP MISTER SINISTER. We had the exclusive chance to chat about his inspirations, past and present life, and the lyricism behind some of the most deep-felt tracks.
Charismatic, unique, and at times macabre, TRiPPJONES is the type of musician that resonates with the ones who feel unheard, left behind, the ones who are battling with mental health issues but also the ones that overcame these issues and began to accept them as part of their selves.
This is precisely what the Mister Sinister music project is about: accepting your whole true selves and learning how to live with them. Sometimes, it is too easy to put aside our darkest feelings, personalities, and concerns. Still, the truth is that it is very healthy to let it all out, to share, and to write, sing, or even dance about what makes us feel this way, especially in this society where everything seems so abstract and out of touch from reality.
Maybe it's because of my demons, or perhaps it is just a matter of understanding where the artist is coming from. Still, while having the honor of pre-listening this project, I couldn't help but focus and replay three particular songs: Psych Ward, Carry the Torch, and Psychotherapy.
The song "Psych Ward" describes the real-life situation in a mental health facility itself and what comes with it: the trauma, expectations, loneliness, and the feeling of being silenced against our own will.
The EP cover has a lot to do with this song. The photo portraying a younger TRiPP was taken the day after his release from the ward. Carry the Torch - This track explains well what TRiPP has been going through growing up. This song makes me sad at times, knowing what he had to go through, but it is a great song to listen to, knowing that he overcame those isolating moments and intense experiences and still be here with us today. It's about overcoming in the most challenging way and still overcoming enough to carry the torch previously ignited by the elders of his family. Like an Olympian athlete, the sole goal is to keep it lit.
I believe this song to be a winning song because, despite the darkness surrounding it, there's a light at the end of its meaning.
You can interpret this specific light as you best prefer. Maybe you won't see the light at all, but for me, the true light is to have TRiPP well and alive with us talking about these experiences today.
The song "Psychotherapy" is about dealing with whatever remains of the trauma—facing it, talking about it, and sharing the experience for everyone to know without letting our guards down regarding our vulnerability. We need to learn to accept and live with it while trying to find solutions and supportive outlets.
This is probably my favorite track because I can relate to it. The exceptional lyricism reminds me of the plethora of thoughts that run through my mind during a therapy session or while battling a normal human feeling of depression.
We all deal with these issues differently, but I firmly believe that being able to listen to music that relates to your struggles or staring at an incredible piece of art can spark a flame in us that makes us appreciate the notion the artist was trying to convey.
Enjoy the interview below and listen to TRiPPJONES aka MISTER SINISTER brand new EP here.
Who is Tripp Jones and who is Mister Sinister?
To be honest, with this project I’ve taken on a new identity in a way. Mister Sinister made this tape. TRiPPJONES didn’t make this tape. TRiPPJONES is the key to the door unlocking all my different personalities, thoughts, roles I take on as an artist, the way I express myself, the gateway to Mister Sinister..
Tell us about this EP:
Basically, a lot of things inspired me to do this tape , it wasn’t an easy one to make. Mentally wise, I had to take my soul back to the past, reminisce about the darkest times that I tried to erase from my memories. I feel like certain elements of my past and things that I went through were basically controlling me so I had to battle against the demons and pain that I had within myself. In terms of Mister Sinister, that’s definitely the inspiration for that name. Do you think that this name and the things you've been through are related in a way? A hundred percent!That's basically the whole premise of the album,tape, Ep, or whatever people wanna call it, mixtape..? When I was young I was admitted to a psych ward so that made me realize in time how much certain things can affect you in the moment but you need to grow first and go through certain experiences in order to really understand them. So basically this is me going back and harnessing I guess. All the shit that I went through I use them as an advantage instead of a disadvantage. Definitely songs like Psych Ward and the whole tape is about the personal experience and things that I went through.
Have you overcome these feelings or are you still battling with them? This was a major step. With this project I was able to harness certain elements of my life that I consider detrimental and painful and basically turned them into a superpower and brought out Mister Sinister to a new level of my honest truth as an artist and human being. So it is safe to say that there is you but there’s also this undeniable other part of you? I was trying to deny it but with this tape I had to look in the mirror. Bring out everything, the good and the bad, the ugly and all of that. The cover has a younger photo of yourself dating April 2007: That was me when I just got out of the psych ward, like 2 weeks after I got out. That was when Mister Sinister basically was born. Ok, now I have an interesting question for you. If you could invite three people dead or alive for dinner, who would they be and why? I know some people might say some famous artists but to be completely honest I would go with both my grandmothers, my family you know what I mean.. both my grandfathers too. Maybe that will help me understand everything better. Who were your inspirations growing up? Big L is one of my greatest inspirations in terms of how he put words together, his stories can be sinister in a type of way. Big Pun and Wu-Tang had a huge impact on me as well.. I listen to alternative music as well thanks to my older brother who was into rock, hardcore, and my parents were into everything as well. As for me, I was definitely a student of the game when it comes to rap, so basically when I was a child, that’s all I listened to but then when I grew older and became friends with different types of people, I definitely broadened my horizon and started appreciating different genres more. What was the moment that made you realize you wanted to be a musician? There are many moments that play a part in that. As a child I knew I wanted to do it because that was the only way I could express myself better. I basically became my own therapist because I felt like nobody understood me or would listen to me so I was like I'll tell my own stories, tell my own thoughts, express myself through words instead of asking for help”.
As of now, are you a person that asks for help or you just do things on your own?
I try to do things on my own unless I trust somebody. In terms of mental health and stuff like that I do think it's healthy to have a solid foundation of people who care about you. People shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and express themselves
Do you follow any formula when you write?
No I don't really, it’s never the same creative process. Whenever I have too many thoughts in my mind or whenever I feel inspired. I don't really think too much about what Ii'm about to write, it really just writes itself in a way to be honest.
But, with this project I didn't go into it thinking I'd go back in time and write about those circumstances. It just happened while I was in a very dark place mentally, and those thoughts arose in my mind as I was writing and then the whole project turned into what it is now.
How long did it take you to finish this project?
It’s been done for a while and I probablyI finished it in about a week and a half or two weeks. I was really bipolar about it so it took me a while to release it. It's been ready for 4 months.
I even started working on a short stories book that’s part of the tape and I will probably release it in about two weeks as well.
Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Both my parents are painters.
How would you describe your perfect day?
When I fully overcome the things that are holding me back and I become the person I feel like I should be.
But the closest thing to a perfect day in terms of music and whatever is when somebody reaches out to me who might be going through the same shit I go through and they be like “ yo your music help, I appreciate you making music” that’s one of the things that inspires me to keep creating the most. It’s not about the money or popularity, it's about being able to make music and having an outlet to express yourself. I feel like I'm not alone when people reach out to me, and when they really mean it, it’s a perfect day for me.
Do you have any other hobbies or interests aside from music?
I love movies, one day I wanna be able to direct, write and make my own movies. I love horror movies and stuff like that!
I am sure you’re into horror movies, you remind me of a “rap” Rob Zombie (laughs), am I right?!
Actually my brother used to listen to him when I was a kid (laughs), so I definitely know what you mean by that.
Lastly, is there any message you’d like to give the kids out there, whether they wanna artists, songwriters or just overall going through some hardships:
Definitely, I would say that even though everybody goes through shit, don’t let unfortunate times or painful moments control you in a negative way for the rest of your life.
Believe in your journey, in your story, nothing is perfect. Usually the people that go through the most pain and grow up in a very hard way, have the most powerful stories to tell.
Don't give up, the journey is forever even when you might not be here. Believe in yourself, don't try to chase the pack or compare yourself to other people. Stay true to yourself.
In a world where you might not feel accepted for who you are, just love yourself.