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Interview with AROUND JOSHUA
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I am into music since I was a little kid as my dad was a very good guitar player and he used to play a lot at home. We had lots of records, cassettes, stereo systems at home, my mum was also playing piano. As long as I can remember I was always surrounded by music. The funny thing is that, when I started playing guitar myself I immediately, from the start wrote my own music, my own lyrics, my riffs and people around me used to say “oh…this one sounds like such and such band” and all of those band names, mostly English, that were mentioned didn’t mean anything to me and that’s how I discovered bands such as Travis, Radiohead or Swervedriver and that’s what did define my musical style and my musical family. And further along, listening to Snow Patrol, Oasis and the whole Brit pop sound.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I used to love long solitary bike rides. I need time on my own to concentrate on my inner self. I like my solitude at times. It plays an important part in my creative process. I don’t enjoy riding with other bikers. I tried. It’s just not my thing. But it happens less since I’m a dad. I’m a family man, helps me keep my balance.
How long has your band been around?
I had a first attempt 10 years or so ago which ended with the recording of a first album “Cassiopeia Noks”. But the real start was in 2019 upon recording “The Trees are Singing” produced by Mike Fraser, who worked with AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica, “Baby Stardust”, the current single, is included in this album. And lately we’ve been busy with the recording of our new album “Something New” to be released later this year.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Trois Rivieres, Quebec, and so are all the band members. It doesn’t have any real influence on our music. Although we’re based in the French speaking province of Quebec all our album is performed in English and the world is our playground. Our music has no boundaries.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
My little sister came up with the name “Around Joshua” as we were trying to find a name that would make sense, that would reflect the meaning of the band’s purpose…talking about mother nature, the love of life and about afterlife….it’s in relation with the Joshua Tree. It came up very spontaneously, very naturally. Without such choice reflecting any religious belief. I’m more a spiritual person. Spirituality is important to me.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
The most memorable show was playing in front of a crowd of 10 000 at a festival. Such a great feeling. And that’s what “Around Joshua” is all about. Playing live. There is no greater feeling than being on stage, to connect emotionally with your audience. Sharing our music with as many people as possible, as a band. The connection between us musician is also key. It’s been a while that we’re together. We know each other well. “Around Joshua” is a rock band. We want to make people happy and there’s no better way than sharing our energy live with our audience.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
We want to perform in all possible venues. There are mythical venues in the history of Rock music such as Bill Graham’s Fillmore East in New York or Fillmore West in San Francisco. That’s where history of rock music was made in the late sixties and early seventies. Being from Quebec, the Bell Center in Montreal would be a dream for us. I saw Radiohead perform there live. An amazing show. Sold out in a couple of hours. Talking about mythical venue…the Spectrum in Montreal. What an amazing venue that was. Closed as well…But as much as I like those big venues and big festivals, I have to say that I enjoy the intimacy of small venues with a capacity of 300 seats. The relation to the audience, the energy, the communication is not the same. Of course, we adapt to whatever size, and we enjoy them all as long as we’re on stage. Respecting our audience is a key value….
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
This is a trick question!!! So many. Placebo, White Lies, Editors, Smashing Pumpkins….those are the first name that come to my mind but I could go on and on and on.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Be yourself. You’re in it for the music, for your audience. Not for the money. It reminds me of a conversation I had with Mike Frazier while recording the “The Trees are Singing” album. He mentioned AC/DC who he works with. They create the music they like, the music they do best. I heard a Rick Rubin interview recently. I loved it when he said something along the lines of “make music until you’re happy with the result you have achieved. Then and only then can you share it with others”.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Well that exactly the advice I would give to my younger self. In the early days I recorded a song called “I’m not ok”. I wrote it having radio airplay in mind, I thought I had to write a song tailor made for radios. To be honest with you I don’t like it. It doesn’t work. Nobody likes it. It was a mistake. We never perform it live. It doesn’t work this way. It really turned out to be a bad idea. You don’t write for the market or to be the flavor of the month. You do it first and foremost for yourself. Be honest to yourself and be sincere. All the rest is beyond your control.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Always the future, the new ones. The ones I just recorded, the ones I am currently writing, the ones I haven’t written yet. We just finished recording “Something New” with Danton Supple, who produced Coldplay’s XY album among lots of amazing bands he worked with. 10 songs we can’t wait to release and perform live. The best song, the best album, the best show is always the next one. We’ve included a couple of those new tracks during our latest shows and the reaction from the audience was just amazing. The plan for 2024 is to tour Canada, Europe and wherever we will have a chance to perform live extensively. Sharing this new album with an audience will be a blessing. I can’t wait to get the public’s return, their feedback. Sharing music is a two-way street…
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Eternally”. I really love the musicality of that song. It’s a very simple song. “If I need you, if I want you, if I hurt you, if I love you”. If you love somebody it’s for life, it’s for eternity. It’s a spiritual statement for me. We always perform it live at the end of our shows. It’s both serene and energizing at the same time. It’s a simple but deep message we want to share with the crowd.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Most of the time music comes first. I write playing guitar, that’s the start of the creative process, lyrics come afterwards. It can take lots of times to get the lyrics right afterwards. Writing lyrics is an exercise I like to share with other writers. I like co-writes, collaborations, teamwork when it comes to writing lyrics. Music, I write on my own, it’s a constant flow, lyrics can take time to fit the music. I have to find the right time, the right co-writes to fit the spirit of the music. It can take time. And only once this is done it gets introduced to the band and it gets fine-tuned with them.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
It’s a spiritual message I would love to get across. Jeff, our drummer came up with the concept of “Ghost rock”… we had a laugh, but it stuck. And we kept it for lack of a better definition.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
I am not a confrontational person. I don’t like conflicts. Then again conflicts do inevitably happen. We used to go through lots of confrontations with our previous keyboard player. Ongoing confrontations. Lots of talks, lots of times dedicated to sorting the situations out but it always ended up with a laugh. She kept on quitting, re-joining, quitting, re-joining until she left definitively. Generally speaking, I avoid reacting emotionally, in the heat of the moment. “Around Joshua” is a family. Whatever happens we stick together. Time cures everything.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Well, we’re currently setting up the release of our new album “Something New”, an album we recorded between Mont Carmel, Quebec, at Radicart studios and London at the Strongroom studios. 10 tracks produced by Danton Supple and mastered by John Davies at Metropolis in London. We’re shooting the video of the first single “Diary Song” as we speak. And we want to spend 2024 touring…so stay tuned and come enjoy the show !!!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Social media obviously. For the time being mostly on Facebook and Instagram, so see you there, but we do have a brand-new website in the making and lots of short videos to be featured on our Youtube channel and our upcoming Tik Tok account….be patient it’s all in the making and we will be happy to keep you informed moving forward.