‘Long term, it would be great to be performing at major UK festivals’
Following his gig at BBC Introducing Essex, I spent some time chatting to Joe about, among other things, his influences, his style and where his music is heading next.
What a great set Joe! Tell me about how it all began. I first picked up a guitar at 7 years old and my first real gig was at the age of 10. I played ‘Stairway to Heaven’ in a primary school concert. The others [students] wondered what it was, but the parents loved it. I then formed a band at 14 years old with a gig at 15 and original tracks at 16.
I assume these then led to others? Yes. The first ‘official band’ I was part of was called ‘Wide Boy Generation.’ We took influences from the likes of Supergrass and it was based around myself being the front man. We then changed our style to heavy rock and took musical influences from Queen where my main musical heart lies. I then formed another band a few years back –‘The Broken Chords’ – which had more of a funk-rock style sound and people began to say that I had a Prince style vibe about me!
You certainly do and that really comes through on your EP. How did the original tracks come about? The goal of ‘The EP’ was to get the sound and the musical angle for the future. I had created demo versions of the tracks at home (on a Boss digital 8 track) by recording the main parts onto this and then programming the drums, then adding the harmony and finally the piano parts.
So how did you get to the final sound? I took the demo tracks to producer Mitch Ayling (Drummer of The Milk) at Woods Lodge Studios. I love working with Mitch. He tells you about both the good and how you could be better. The recording of ‘The EP’ was created entirely by the two of us at his studio. Mitch played the drums and I played bass, electric guitar and performed the vocals. We then shared out the synth parts and the musical bells and whistles. It was very much a shared baby but built from my vision.
It was great to hear the EP tracks in a live context. How did you choose what else to include in your set? The four tracks from ‘The EP’ were used as the focus of the set and have been transposed and arranged to suit the raw sound of the trio. I then brought in two tracks from ‘The Broken Chords’ (Love on Heat and Six String Woman), which were the ones I saw as the most successful ones from my previous band. The new, more ballad style track ‘Marion’ brings ebb and flow to the set. It just seems right. I also put in a cover of [Prince’s] 1999 to show scope. I would sooner not include covers though and just have original tracks.
You mentioned the ‘raw sound’ of the your band at the moment. It’s a very different to the one on ‘The EP’ so would you want to take the full sound into a live format? Yes. Taking it into a live format is what we are looking into as a band however we have currently only been together for about 6 months. In time, we want to add in the use of pads, keys and vocal harmony etc. It’s a really exciting time as there is a musical spark.
That spark really came through in your ‘live-wire style’ performance. Where do you see the band going next? We are already writing tracks as a band – (I smile as drummer Alex had already mentioned they have 8 on the go!) – which is refreshing as previously I have been the writing force. I’ve worked with bands in the past but having gone solo, it’s working better as I have people involved who want to invest the time and energy. The others [Alex and bassist Fredriko] have that, plus they are also creative.
You mentioned earlier about your influences from the famous musicians, is there anyone else who has inspired you? My dad. I grew up watching him perform covers at pubs and weddings. He’s certainly played a key role in my all-round musical upbringing. (Joe smiles) It’s a bit of a role reversal now really as he is now watching and supporting me. My sister is also a singer and a pianist and my mum is involved with amateur dramatics.
It must be great knowing you have such a musical family supporting you as you continue on your journey. What does the future hold? The aim of tonight’s [BBC Introducing] gig was for me to open the door and I feel that was achieved – (I smile as that was definitely achieved). I also spoke to Ollie (Presenter of BBC Introducing Essex) after who said ‘I don’t think you realise that was as good as it was.’ Long term it would be great to be performing at major UK festivals.
Thanks Joe for taking the time to chat with ListentoDiscover.
Joe’s debut EP ‘The EP’ is available to buy on iTunes now and you can keep up to date with his future progress by following him on Twitter.