Monday, 1 March 2010

Josh Weller Interview

Well educated, well mannered, well dressed. Josh writes clever songs, just a hint of satire, coupled with a pretty nice voice and some guitaring skills.
Heralded by NME as a “quirky popster”, make up your own mind and listen to his songs.

How did you get started in wanting to make music?

Wanting to make music? Well, when I was five years old I moved to Asia with my dad, and all we had was his record collection- Elvis, Chet Baker…

No computers then to download music from…

No, indeed! I remember the day we had a computer installed, it was such a big deal.

How big was it?

The size of a small car! But yeah, no downloads. I didn’t really pick up an instrument until I started to play drums when I was 9, then moved on to guitar at 13.

So it was a natural progression then really.

Yeah, then that moved to song writing as well.

Obviously you said your influences there as your dads record collection, is there anyone else that’s inspired you since?

Elvis Costello, old jazz veterans, Ella Fitzgerald, it’s the lyrical aspect that I’m really interested in…

Do you like poetry then?

Well I used to read T.S Elliot, and some guy called Rummy, but that wasn’t because I liked it, it was because I thought it made me look good (laughs).

If you could have another profession, what would it be? Did you ever aspire to be something other than a musician?

A detective. I always wanted to be a detective, a spy... Or a circus ringleader.

Did you ever read that spy guide book, it was a red paperback…the only thing I remember is if you put soap on your eyebrows it hid them and you could paint them on elsewhere on your face…

Really? I just remember the trick of putting a wet tea towel over the phone; it distorts the distinguishing features in your voice.

Or breaks the phone...
I once went on a circus workshop course, and got to be the ringleader. Maybe you should look into going to one, get some work experience.

Well I always wanted to be in a circus with animals, like a zoo. With lions and bears. In Asia there was this circus my dad used to take me to, it was like the most illegal circus in the world, there were just cobras on the floor…no cages. I’d like to ring lead one of those. They always had somewhat of a sinister air about them.

Do you like the modern music scene?

Oh yeah!

There are a lot of younger people involved now.

Yeah, I mean it’s really strange to be 21 and feel old. I love the Kings of Leon’s new song, that’s awesome. But I suppose they’re not really that young. Well, they’re still in their twenties… But now there’s like 16 year olds as successful musicians…

Did you ever see that exhibition at the National Gallery , of Young Acheivers. It had a portrait of Blaine from the Mystery Jets, who is pretty young and successful.

Yeah, the black and white photos? They had the maths genius! My keyboardist is really into the Mystery Jets, so we listen to them a lot.

What’s your favourite venue to play? Big or intimate?

Well, I’ve never really played big venues; the biggest was the NEC in Birmingham. I really like 93feeteast, that’s awesome. But that might just be because I really like all the staff there!

Yeh its great, with the two different bars as well. Have you seen the Jackie fan club on the dressing room wall?...I’m number 7.

I’ll have a look. I play a club night there on the first Monday of every month, ‘93cds’, it’s really good fun.

If you were a dinosaur, which one would you be?

Oh, that’s a hard one. Well a volocirapter is to cliché, not a t-rex because they’re just big and clumsy…stegosoraus to wide…hmmmm… What’s the one with a fan on its neck like a peacock? A colo….coloso…rapto…stega..conda..sauris…rex… that one. I’ve just been watching Jurassic Park. But I don’t think it’s as good as Hook- that was Spielberg’s best film in my opinion.

We’ve got a running theme about global warming- what’s your view on the whole thing?

Well I think what the government are doing is just pathetic. I mean, especially living in London, like putting a few billboards up like ‘rev your car less’ and ‘share lifts’ isn’t going to do anything. They need to take action. Yeah, I’m all for saving energy, obviously it’s hard when you’re playing venues, the only way you can get there is in the car.

Well yeah, I was about to ask you that, I mean you can’t exactly take all your gear on a bus!

That’s the reason RadioHead have stopped touring- because they’re anti carbon emissions, as a statement against the detrimental effects of it.

Think how many people are going to be aware of climate change issues now, because of them doing that.

Yeah I mean, hundreds of thousands of fans will now know about it. The problem is though; there are still lots of people who don’t know that they’ve stopped touring or the reasons behind it.

And if you think back to all the bands that are still going, and hiring private jets, putting on amazing shows…

I think people get focused on their career, and don’t see past that, just do what they’ve got to do to succeed. I mean, think about how much carbon Muse put out with their amazing shows, or The Rolling Stones, ‘a bigger bang’…

The thing is though, I suppose you’ve got to weigh it up and see the benefits all the musicians are giving…its’ not like someone popping down to the shops n their car…useless emissions for the sake of it. Maybe it’s just a tad extravagant.

Yeah and you know one person doing something isn’t going to make a significant difference. If every one dropped a marble into the Atlantic, if one person didn’t then it wouldn’t change a thing.

Well you see then you’ve got to get everyone to not drop their marbles, that’s when the change happens.

Yeah, and if you have a band like RadioHead taking action it’s going to inspire all their fans, or at least raise their awareness.

Do you recycle? I mean not necessarily card, but like clothes…cars…haha. You know, giving things to charity shops, sorting your bins out…

Yeah definitely. Every bit of metal or plastic that passes through my house gets recycled one way or another. Would you call giving to charity shops recycling?

Yeah I would, it’s beneficial to society isn’t it, and the things don’t get thrown away. They’re put to good use.

Well then yeah, I recycle pretty much everything.

Where would you like to be heading in the future?

A country or in music?


I want to go to Fiji. Music wise, just like this really, travelling round, playing my music. As long as people want to hear it!

There’s children being born all the time, they’re going to grow up and want to listen to music.

And hopefully it will be mine.

Interview & Words- Ali Hewson

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