I started writing songs when I was in, probably 5th or 6th grade, trying to write piano stuff that sounded like Danny Elfman at the time, and then the year after I graduated from high school I started a band with some guys, that we called Pomegranates. We toured for about 7 years, and put out 5 albums and a few EPs. We began a sort of hiatus a couple years ago, and I had been writing and recording my own stuff alone throughout the course of the band, but since Pomegranates slowed down I’ve had more time and energy to put into the solo stuff, which has been a lot of fun. I was releasing stuff just under my own name, which I happen to share with a recent, very popular American Idol contestant. I had been wanting to release music under an assumed name for a while anyway, and her celebrity was kind of the catalyst to commit to using the name I finally settled on for the project, JOESPH.
What song of yours is the one you like the most?
I have a few albums already recorded, which I’m not ready to share yet, so it’s probably too early to say what my favorite of my songs is… but, I really like all three of the songs on my first EP, “Return to Pavilion of Dreams” www.joesph.bandcamp.com . But I am really excited to be putting out my first full-length at the beginning of 2016, hopefully January. It’s called “There Comes the Lord” and it will be available to pre-order soon at www.eyebrowpalacerecords.com . A great screen-printing shop in my town, called Powerhouse Factories, printed some big, awesome posters for the record, which I’ll be selling with a digital download of the album, and I’m having transparent red vinyl pressed as well. Very exciting time for me!
How do you write your music?
I will usually have a line, or just a word combination that will stick in my mind for a while until I work it into something bigger, or a little melody, or groove or something. My phone is filled with little recordings I’ve made while driving to or from work, of ideas that’ll hit and I want to hold on to until I have time to work them out a bit. Sometimes it will be more vague though, like a vibe or feeling that I want to try to capture, or even something another artist did that I just want to rip off, haha.
What influences do you have?
Brian Wilson’s work has been huge for me, particularly his stuff from SMiLE, he did with Van Dyke Parks, who I also really admire. I’ve been listening to a lot of Nick Drake lately, and Harumi’s 1968 self-titled album is one of my all-time favorites! Such solid songs with that signature 60’s psychedelic production. Scott Walker is someone who blows me away, and I keep coming back to, and I discovered Leonard Cohen too late in life, thanks to my father-in-law, but his stuff gets me really excited. Kate Bush, David Byrne… The Blue Nile, from Scotland. They haven’t made anything I don’t really love. I could go on for pages, so I’ll leave it there. Oh yeah, and The Velvet Underground and The Kinks! And Eric Burdon, haha, okay enough.
What´s the best experience you have had with your project?
This past summer we got to play a Daytrotter Barnstormer’s show with AA Bondy at the Codfish Hollow Barn in Maquoketa Iowa. That was really cool. Those are such great people out there, Tiffany, Sean and their whole crew. And the day after that show we got to do a session at Daytrotter (www.daytrotter.com), which I’m so eager to hear. That was a really fun trip for us.
What plans do you have this year?
I’m looking forward to putting out “There Comes the Lord,” like I said, and playing some shows for that. I’m going to keep writing and recording, working on art. And I’ll be gearing up for releasing the next JOESPH record, maybe even later in 2016, we’ll see!
Mention something you don´t like about your project.
I kind of record while I’m writing a song a lot of times, and I’ve found that once we start practicing the material, and playing it as a band we may tweak and change things a bit to make it work live, then I find myself wanting to go back and change the recording to be more like the live performance. I tend to do a lot of trying to convince myself that the recorded version and the live version are allowed to be different things, which I guess isn’t really a bad thing, but it can feel a little stressful at times.
Mention the biggest sacrifice you did for your project.
I had to give my toes to a dark spirit in exchange for one of the songs on the new record… that was tough.
What band, music project or soloist from your city do you like? Why?
There’s a lot of really awesome talent in Cincinnati right now. Cory Pavlinac is making some extremely awesome music with his project, ZOO, and I have a feeling that Young Colt are going to do great things, too.
If your project was a word, what would it be?
Hopefully “dynamic.” I try to focus on the record as a whole, seeing the individual songs as pieces of something bigger. Using dynamics to get a really good flow, to really put you in a different place for 30-50 minutes. That’s exciting to me. I want to build our live set the same way. I’ve never really felt like an album should simply be a showcasing of songs, though there are a lot of great albums that work that way. Listen to “Overgrown Path” by Chris Cohen, or “Days of Future Past” by the Moody Blues. That’s what I’m talking about. Highs and lows. Dynamic. Awesome.
What´s your full name? Where were you when you answered the interview?
I’m Joey Cook, of JOESPH. I was at work when I wrote this, haha, shh.