The four-track EP went live on July 4, pulling from trance, hip-hop, and early-aughts rock to craft a sweet and sexy sonic universe
“Too much swag for Indie Sleaze, too American for Euro dance,” Jonah Almost captions an Instagram post, announcing the release of his summer EP. Then, the eye-roll emoji, the rocketship, a peace sign, a smirk. “The Exhilaration is 4 new songs – cute and sweet, to dark and sexy. it’s called duality, now run it up!!”
Almost is a veritable New York personality—seemingly in a hundred places at once, and only getting more pervasive with each passing weekend. Part of the allure of his image is that he cultivates it shamelessly: the musician knows who he is and what he likes, and he has no qualms about making it known—in person and on the internet. “Bad Boy. Future Dilf. Flashy but with taste. Tacky with intention. Drug Dealer Adjacent. Sleazy with a heart of gold,” he characterized his sensibilities earlier this year, around the release of his single “Powder White.”
The Exhilaration is a departure from Almost’s past sound, conceived on the back of a motorcycle as it sped over the Williamsburg Bridge. “I wanted to try and capture that feeling in a song: the danger of love, the exhilaration of vulnerability, potentially getting your heart broken or whatever,” he says. What emerged was something hard to pin down—thrumming beats, with not-too-serious lyrics laid over. It’s music to party to, simultaneously of-its-time and reminiscent of the clubbing landscape of the early-aughts—maximalist, amusing, compelling, best listened to among other people. “My music is city music,” says Almost. “City in the summer music. Could be New York, could be Berlin, could be Chengdu! Just gotta be warm, diverse, eclectic.”
On the heels of The Exhilaration’s July 4 release, Document caught up with Almost to talk collaboration, masochism, and making music that someone could live in.
Morgan Becker: Where’d the idea for The Exhilaration stem from—and how did its sound evolve, from the early days to now?
Jonah Almost: I do the door of a club in New York. One night I was working, and I picked up this DILF who rode a motorcycle. We left and drove home on his bike over the Williamsburg Bridge going 100 mph—for real. I was mad scared, yet equally aroused. I realized, in that moment, that my love of thrill-seeking extended to my romantic side… Like, if I’m not in a lil’ bit of physical-spiritual-emotional danger, I can’t fall in love. I like risks. I’m an Aries.
I decided I wanted to try and capture that feeling in a song: the danger of love, the exhilaration of vulnerability, potentially getting your heart broken or whatever. Dunno, maybe I’m a masochist. But also, the potential bliss! Some happily ever after type shit. After I released my last song, ‘Powder White,’ I was done with emo vibes for a while. I really wanted this project to feel light and fun.
Morgan: You released the EP on July 4. Did you always intend for it to be a summer listen?
Jonah: Totally. Real ones remember my first song, ‘Aperol Spritz.’ [Laughs] It was very cute and summery. People really liked it. My goal with this project was to kind of create something of the same headspace, but more refined. I think I’ve grown a lot as an artist and a producer [since then].
Morgan: What’s the ideal context for a listening party?
Jonah: Anywhere with a really nice sound system! Or the Christopher Street Pier.
Morgan: You’ve featured a few other artists—Boyfriend Dick, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su, Donnay Soldier. How did those collaborations take shape?
Jonah: They all came together super organically. When I flew to LA to work with nightfeelings on the title track, I also linked up with Caleb [Kruzel of Boyfriend Dick] and my producer friend Sevyn 0000. We just spent a day at the studio making demos, and that’s how ‘Demon Time’ came together. Star [Amerasu of Ah-Mer-Ah-Su] was visiting New York, and she came over to my crib one day. I played her some beats and she just hopped on the one that became ‘Superstar.’ It was cool, because it was a beat I thought I had hit a wall on; she reminded me that, sometimes, you just need a fresh perspective to make something hit. Donnay is based in the UK, we actually met on TikTok. I made a GRWM video to his viral PinkPantheress Donk remix. He followed me, and then I was able to DM him, so I was like, Yooooo! Let me hop on a beat expeditiously, fam. The rest is history. We actually just met IRL last week in London. Gonna collab more, for sure.
Morgan: Any big influences?
Jonah: I’ve always said that I want to be like the boy version of Deee-Lite. Like if Lady Miss Kier and Blink-182 had a baby, and that baby was birthed at Berghain. Like in a bathroom stall or the dark room, LMAO.
“Making music, for me, is about creating a sonic universe. A world someone could live in.”
Morgan: Situate your sound in a geographic sense.
Jonah: My music is city music. City in the summer music. Could be New York, could be Berlin, could be Chengdu! Just gotta be warm, diverse, eclectic.
Morgan: What about where it falls genre-wise?
Jonah: It’s all over the place, in a fun way. I was listening to a lot of trance and hip-hop and early-2000’s rock this winter. It kinda pulls from different genres—a blend of the familiar to create something that sounds new.
Morgan: What’s your favorite track of the four?
Jonah: Too hard to choose! I like them all for different reasons. I’m proud of the first two, because I produced them myself. But I love the production on the ones I didn’t make—Sevyn and Donnay tore. Each one feels like a different expression of my personality, Sweet Jonah to Bad Jonah.
Morgan: How did ‘The Exhilaration’ become the title track?
Jonah: I guess it just best encapsulated the idea I wanted to capture with the EP. Making music, for me, is about creating a sonic universe. A world someone could live in. I was looking at the New York skyline with a boner, hanging on for dear life on the back of some dude’s motorcycle. I said to myself, Yo, this is some fucking inspiration, and people need to hear what that kind of thrill feels like.
Morgan: How to stay cool over a New York summer?
Jonah: I’m a big fan of eating chilled watermelon. Otherwise, finesse your way into a daddy’s pool, preferably on Fire Island.