Singer/songwriter force majeure JOSHUA RADIN will bring his self-proclaimed “whisper rock” to Australia for several evenings of intimate and deeply personal performances. The troubadour has loaded his swag with timeless acoustic stories delivered as only he can.
JOSHUA RADIN has enjoyed a passionate and long-lasting relationship with his Australian fans, having toured our shores routinely for the better part of a decade. Captivated by his endearing and open banter, audiences around the world are left in awe, wholly rising and falling with each strum of the guitar, truly enamoured. It was a real privilege to speak to this legendary performer.
Great news that you’re coming back so soon for another Australian tour. Must be really looking forward to that?
Yeah. I can’t wait.
Do you have a lot of good memories from the last Australian tour, here? It just seems like you made quite an impression.
Yeah. Well, you know, I think I’ve toured Australia now about four times. I just absolutely love being there. The people are incredible, the landscape is amazing, there’s so many memories. Some of my favourite things I’ve done in Australia were snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef which was so memorable, taking a boat out on Sydney Harbor was amazing, I went horseback riding in the Outback, I had some incredible sushi in Melbourne and I made some really cool friends when I was there.
You know what? The audiences there are just so appreciative when people come all that way, on the other side of the world. The travel is so annoying to get there, and then you have all the jet lag, but it more than makes up for it when the people there really appreciate that you travelled all that way.
2017 was another big year for yourself, particularly with the release of The Fall. Were you really pleased with how that resonated with fans and to some extent the music industry?
Yeah! When it comes to industry, I’ve been self-releasing my albums for so long now, I’m just doing it all on my own, that I sort of gave up on the industry years ago. I just wanted it to be me and my fans. I’ve just been really fortunate that they’ve stuck with me. The Fall was this album, it’s the first album I’ve ever self-produced. It’s very special to me.
I was really, really pleased with the reaction from my fan base. They could tell, I think, how personal of an album that is for me. Not that all my albums aren’t very personal, but this one, I think, even more so, just because I produced it myself.
Does producing your own album, does that present its own challenges? Is that something you’d definitely do again?
I’m not really sure. I’m writing a new album at the moment, and I never really decide how I’m going to record the album until I have all the songs. I couldn’t tell you right now whether I’ll do it again. I mean, I’m sure at some point, but I’d love to produce other people’s work, as well. I’ve never done that, and I’d love to give that a go. I think it was an invaluable experience, for sure.
Is that something that’s hard as an artist then to swap hats to then being the producer almost critiquing yourself? Is that something you’d probably find a little bit tricky to do?
Yeah, it was tricky to figure out to navigate that, at first. I will say that I went into the studio with all the material. I knew exactly how I wanted to record it. A lot of the work had been done in pre-production in my mind. The whole album really only took four days to record. Yeah, a lot of it was done live, just showing my band, “Here are the songs. This is the vibe,” in terms of each song. They nailed it, I thought, from the get-go. They’ve been playing with me for so long, they knew exactly. We speak the same language. It was an amazing experience.
Does that also leave a little bit of room, when you’ve already got it in your mind, to improvise a little bit or try something that might not necessarily have been thought of?
I would say about three or four of the songs on the album, I went in thinking, “I want to record it this way.” Then, some of the guys in the band were like, “Well, how about this?” because they know that I’m always open to new ideas. I would never be the type of producer to say, “This is the way it’s going to be.” That takes all of the creative process out of it. This album happened very organically in the studio. It wouldn’t have happened, and it wouldn’t have come without the exact players that I had in the room. It’s almost as much as their album as it is mine.
Do you feel the weight of expectation or any sort of pressure considering certain songs have made their way into TV shows and films?
I don’t know. I think when I started playing music thirteen years ago, there might have been a very slight feeling in the industry in terms of … How do I say this? There are a lot of great musicians that wouldn’t allow their songs to be in TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, or things like that. I never had that feeling. I just thought, “If people want to listen to my music, this is great exposure.” It’s how I garnered most of my fan base.
I always thought this is a great way to do things, instead of the traditional route that artists have been using for decades before, basically just going to the radio with a single. I mean, nowadays, if you look at any TV show, or film, or commercial, you can’t find any artist out there or any band that would say no to having their songs used that way. Nowadays, labels pay to have their artists’ songs in TV shows, movies, commercials, and things like that, because the labels have finally caught up and said, “Okay, this is how we’re getting exposure for artists now.”
Where do you see yourself taking with the next album?
Right now, it’s in such the early stages, it’s too difficult for me to say right now. I certainly have ideas in terms of production on some of the songs I’ve written, but whether or not I decided to produce it myself or use a very acoustic tableau, I guess you would say, on the album, I’m not really sure. Either way, it’ll sound just like me! It’s still me! It’s still very lyrically based. It’s very hushed and mellow. I mean, I am who I am. I’m not looking to really change paths at this point.
No. It’s not like you’re going to bring out a metal record or anything like that. Although you might!
You never know. You never know. You have to stay open. Creatively, all artists just have to stay open. That’s the most important thing.
In terms of the Australian tour, is that going to be predominantly leaning towards the new album, The Fall, or is it going to be a bit of everything from your back catalogue?
I tend to not write set lists anymore. I just get up on stage. I try to create the most intimate space humanly possible. I want people to walk out of that venue saying, “Not only did we hear the songs that we came to hear, but we really know who Josh is, as a person, not just as a musician.” I tell a lot of stories. I take a lot of requests. I talk to the audience. Sometimes I go in the audience and play. You know, I hate that wall between the performer and the audience. I try to break that down immediately and just try to make it feel as much as I can like we’re all just hanging out together.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Catch Joshua Radin on the following dates…