They say you have your whole life to draw from when you make your first album, which can be part of the struggle around the releases that follow. How you turn a year of life experience into a work of art that can rival another work of art that draws on a couple of decades of life experience?

For currently New York-based multi-hyphenate (producer, vocalist, DJ, bandleader) Jitwam., this challenge could be even more daunting. After all, we’re dealing with an individual who was born in Assam, Gauhati, in Northeast India, and spent his younger years in New Zealand and Australia, before living in Thailand, South Africa, and London. That’s not even touching on how, across those disparate landscapes, he transformed himself into an idiosyncratic musical figure, built a global network of like-minded souls in the contemporary beats, jazz, psyche and electronica scenes, and co-founded small independent record label The Jazz Diaries with some close friends.

Last year jitwam. released his remarkable (and mercurial) debut album ज़ितम सिहँ through Berlin-based, but New Zealand founded music collective Cosmic Compositions. He’s been on a tear since, playing live shows (solo and with a band) on both sides of the Atlantic, and recording new music. On the 18th of July, he released his new EP, simply titled Purple EP through The Jazz Diaries. Four songs long, Purple EP takes the stumbling, jazz/soul-rooted beat sculptures, fuzzy psychedelia, and broken microphone blues of ज़ितम सिहँ, and reframes them inside the joyful, jazz and house-infused sound he’s turned his hand to on some of his past EP and single releases. In the process, it’s creative vitality, and hip-hugging bounce makes one thing crystal clear, jitwam.’s well on track toward dodging the sophomore slump.

On a Thursday evening in New York, jitwam. jumped on the phone with me to talk about, among other things, the symbolism of colours, keeping a live band together in the big apple, personal and musical growth, and the power of living in the moment with your music.

The cover art to your debut album ज़ितम सिहँ made heavy use of the colour orange, but your new EP is called Purple EP, and well, the cover art is well, rather purple. What's the deal with the colours here?

A lot of colours have meaning. Orange is traditionally associated with the sun, birth, and that. Purple to me is boldness. That's what I really feel I'm trying to be about at the moment. I'm trying to be free to be me in terms of all this art and artist shit. There is a definitely a reference to Prince going on, a lot of the tunes have that Prince sort of ethic.

Then there what that whole Purple music movement Joker, Ginz, Gemmy, and that crew got tagged as in the late 2000s. All those tunes that sounded like someone bringing Long Beach to Bristol.

Joker had some tunes man! That was a really bold thing to do as well, bringing those different sounds together.

Back to the Purple EP, it feels like you're bringing together some different strands of what you do musically?

It's just about being bold and confident in who you are. If you want to be an artist in this game, you need to have your vision at 110%. The thing I have been learning is how to curate product. I have so much music from all sorts of different styles. How do you package that? That's an ongoing thing for me, trying to figure out how to put together these albums and EPs. How to make sure the whole project speaks for itself.

I've also realised I'm not a producer; I'm an artist. A couple of people have told me this record feels really different. So it's just about figuring out how to best serve the music that I have, and that's growing as an artist and all that stuff. That's my vibe man, getting these narratives going.

How did putting out ज़ितम सिहँ last year, and everything that happened in its wake, affect your thought processes around what you're doing?

One of the blessings from having that project out, and it's really funny that you talk about colours cause orange is the colour of birth, I've been working with loads of different musicians in terms of live stuff and the studio since then. I guess what has changed is I've been much more open in my process in terms of not feeling like I've have to do everything myself. I've been letting people come in and bring their own herbs and spices, instead of just using my own.

Do you think you would have been able to open up like this without releasing ज़ितम सिहँ first?

If that record never came out, I would have never had that birth or the confidence to do any of this shit. I think that's the real shift from orange to purple. It's changed everything.

What have been some of the highlights over the last year?

We opened up for Roy Ayers! That was crazy. It was so good. It was amazing. Roy fucked with our set as well. He said some things, which were really good to hear. It's amazing seeing people his age still do it on that level. Those guys, Roy Ayres and Pharoah Sanders, they've transcended knowledge in terms of this music stuff. They really are on another plateau in terms of understanding pocket and groove. Their understanding is really deep and spiritual. They're super on it man. The pocket that group had, you could build a house on it. It was so timeless. It was a dream man.

I guess playing shows like that help open a few doors huh?

Definitely. I've been doing loads of shows with the band. It's so beautiful. A lot of the tunes on my last album, and this project as well, they were made by me. When you open that up to other people, the colours become fuller. You get a spectrum of colours instead of the greyscale that comes from doing things yourself. That's what's really inspired me over the last little bit. Interpreting the songs live is so cool. When we perform 'I Ain't Scared Of Now Devil,' we do a crazy version. It starts off with spoken word about all the great leaders like Buddha, Jesus, Le Bron James, Bernie Sanders, I ain't scared of no motherfucking devil, while calling out these really historic moments in time. Then we get into the groove. It's so live man.

What sort of challenges come with keeping a live band together in New York?

Man, many challenges. There isn't enough money out here. Even basic shit is hard. I'm a very improvisational guy, so we don't really practice obsessively. We practice, but it's more like I give the forms of the songs and then when we do it live, like the last show we did, we had this intro tune played out, but the keyboard stopped working for some reason, so the drummer started going. Once one guy starts going, you have to start running. When the game is on, it's on. It's such a crazy feeling. We really live on the edge, and we do a lot of the tunes like that. Basic form is mapped out for everyone; then it's for us to play off everyone to see where we take it from there. Do you watch Curb Your Enthusiasm? It's the same thing Larry David does with his script and cast.

Even if you keep a song truthful to the recording, it's probably going to change somewhat when you play it live though, right?

When you see Roy Ayers perform 'Everybody Loves The Sunshine,' man, I had the whole crew backstage smoking blunts. On the record, the record is very down-tempo and chill, but when the band does it live, there is so much energy in that tune. Everyone was jumping for it. Playing live more has helped me clarify my thoughts around what I do, and I'm definitely more of an artist than a producer.

Okay, so here's a question. Who would you like to work as your producer?

Danger Mouse put one of my tunes on his Spotify playlist. I think I'd like to work with him. Can we shout out Danger Mouse and try get him to work on the next album? That would be great. Danger Mouse would be a really good fit. His stuff is psychedelic and hip-hop, but raw. He works in so many different styles, and he's so free with it. From the Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up album to the album with CeeLo Green (Gnarls Barkley), he does so much shit.

Going back to the from orange to purple thing. I feel like, if you're not having fun with this shit, you're not saying anything. There is a real and deeper expression of thought when you're completely captivated by what you're doing. That can only come through having fun. You see it with guys who do have fun, Pharrell Williams, Danger Mouse, etc. Their music really speaks to people. It's really really good because of that childishness they have.

That thing Pharrell does where he goes crazy bobbing his head in-studio videos, that's the sort of energy that gets people on board with new music.

In all honesty, it's always a pitch. If you're not coming with the energy and the vibes, how is someone else going to come back with the energy and the vibes? When we were talking about the band and the challenges around it before, I feel that in leading a group of people, you need to have your vision 110%. There is no way you're going to get the caliber of musicians you need to come play for you if you don't believe in what you are saying. You build real movements by bringing everyone along with you.

The Purple EP is due for release through The Jazz Diaries on July 18th.