New York City-based alternative pop artist, Jeryko, is gearing up for the release of his new album Human on 10/11. Co-produced by Jeryko (née Yaniv Hoffman) himself, with Grammy-nominated Taylor Larson (Asking Alexandria, From First To Last, I See Stars) and multi-instrumentalist Thavius Beck (Saul Williams, Mars Volta, Nas), Human is a powerful collection of songs written through a lens of faith and mission. Much of the lyrical content is inspired by Hoffman’s experience working on himself, his unexpected path to neo-Hassidism, his search for his other half and ultimately finding this love in a widowed woman with three children. The underlying themes of the EP deal with pushing past boundaries and facing uncomfortable realities for the sake of love, truth and life. Stream the lead single “Friends” HERE.
Hi Yaniv, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I’ve been great, thanks so much for having me.
Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “Friends”? Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
For sure. Friends was inspired by a personal experience of mine that I think people can relate to in their own way. I started falling for this amazing woman. Unexpected. She’s a modern Hassidic fashion designer, and a widow with 3 children. At first I had no clue how to approach the situation but I felt a pull to her and needed to pursue it, so as all strong relationships start and should be founded on, I just wanted to know how I could be a friend. It’s a question we overlook a lot in our relationships with friends and lovers, just asking the other person how I could be a good friend to you.
The single comes off your new album Human – what’s the story behind the title?
The name Human comes from the idea I’m exploring in this EP which is what is it that makes us Human. What are the things that connect us all on an emotional level, something that fascinates me is that everyone on the planet is simultaneously a unique individual with their own genetic makeup, personality, and story, but we all laugh when we see a baby laughing, we all tap our feet to the Jackson 5 and we all get sad when Mufasa dies in the lion king. Something about that points to a higher experience of being human for me, and it has to do with the soul.
How was the recording and writing process? What was it like to work with Taylor Larson and how Thavius Beck?
The songs on the album are a compilation of ones I’ve been writing over the past few years and eventually I took them to my friend Taylor Larson who I’ve been working with for ten years since we recorded my high school rock band. He knows exactly how to take my songwriting and capture it with the highest production level. I then wanted to add some more of my own production skills that Thavius Beck, one of the top Abelton teachers out there, had been mentoring me in, utilizing sampling and being more experimental with beats and sounds and he helped me reshape the project into something that was now personal not just on a writing level but on a production level.
How has your military background influenced your music?
The influence for my first few singles had been my military experience. That was a powerful because it allowed me to take such a deep and impactful time and pull out the important parts that can be passed on and put in into song and now I have taken that skill and use it for every experience in my life. This album is much more influenced by the search for love. In the Jewish community I’m doing something different in that way. Being a neo hassidic artist and naturally being a part of the Jewish music world automatically there is a kind of standard set that we have to sing about G-d and quote verses from texts, but I think something that this generation of young people looking for meaning and tradition needs to know is that spirituality is found in everything. The original Hasidic masters taught that every blade of grass has a purpose and a melody and a reason, all the more so for a person that comes into your life that you fall in love with. As we like to say, HRTW. Hashem runs the world.
How do you go on balancing all your different musical influences?
It would be hard to put this album into a genre because for me, if it’s true to the song, and if it sounds good, let’s put it in there. I don’t have a formula. One of the songs on the album is an acoustic medley that turns into a rap with a light trap beat and a grand piano in the back and I’m talking about what’s going on with young people today. Whatever feels right will come out in my music.
Any plans to hit the road?
Definitely planning to go on tour. Working on a college tour now for after the Mercury Lounge show on Oct 10th, and playing some big gigs around Chanukrismaquanzika time to light things up a bit including a 4000 person event at the Grove in LA.
What else is happening next in Jeryko’s world?
Just have my heart open and pray that people connect to the music and we get to rock out together wherever people are listening.