Poor Nameless Boy
THE terrific Poor Nameless Boy…
has been telling me about his latest single, Catch Up and Slow Down, and how it came together; what the story behind his moniker is; whether there is going to be more material coming along soon – I was keen to know whether he has musical idols and influences.
The Canadian songwriter talks about his father’s influence on his music and reveals whether he might come to the U.K.; what advice he would give to artists coming through; if he ever gets time to unwind away from music – he ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Poor Nameless Boy. How are you? How has your week been?
Not so bad! Just got home after a weekend of five plane rides, so some coffee and songwriting will do me just fine.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Joel. I’m from the prairies of Saskatchewan in Canada and I’m a songwriter at heart. I tend to find myself in genre discussions of Singer-Songwriter, Americana and Folk among others. Last time I was here people compared the writing style to Conor Oberst, so I’ll take that. This track is certainly a bit different.
Catch Up and Slow Down is your new track. Is there a story behind it?
I love truly asking people how they are doing and it seemed that lately the same answer of “Good, busy” came up more and more. We are all busy. We are all somewhat ‘ok’. Getting together for coffee with old friends or truly connecting with someone new should be something special though; something that slows time down; allows you to love those who are most important in life; a desire for intimacy.
Might there be more material coming next year do you think?
Oh, you betcha. This is the first single from an E.P. which will be released early-2019 and there will thankfully be other videos and singles from it.
Can I ask where the moniker ‘Poor Nameless Boy’ stems from?
Sitting at the kitchen table with my father...
My family has a long history in the music scene, including him, uncles and my older brother. I wanted a stage moniker but couldn’t decide on anything. He poked fun by saying: “Oh, poor nameless boy”. I surprisingly loved it. In a world where music is often about riches and fame, I certainly don’t mind being poor and nameless.
In terms of influences; which musicians did you grow up around?
My father was an entertainer in the ’60s and ’70s primarily. I grew up with Pop, Rock; Motown and really fell in love with the vocal harmonies of that era. I went through a distinct Emo phase by falling in love with Jimmy Eat World as a teenager.
But, lately, I have been very much influenced by songwriters such as Noah Gundersen, Phoebe Bridgers and Canadian storytellers like Del Barber, William Prince and Donovan Woods. I fell in love with the songwriting craft and discussing ‘why a song works’ is one of my favorite things.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I hope to get my Christmas shopping done earlier so I’m not being frantic. I also would love to do more co-writing during the start of the winter season. It’s going to be a lot of preparation work with the E.P. coming out soon into 2019 but I’m just trying to enjoy the fact that people are giving Catch Up and Slow Down a chance. It’s a beautiful thing.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
I played Reeperbahn Festival in Germany a couple years ago. It was after my first performance where I signed a publishing deal. I love writing songs and having someone invest in my creativity to do that means the world to me. I also played a stacked Canadian line-up in London which is a show highlight for me. William Prince, Port Cities and Blonde Diamond (Formally Youngblood) made up the rest of the line-up.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
They each hold a special place for me. The first E.P., I barely wanted to make. The first full album was basically just a buddy and me making it work. A lot of the songs were my personal healing. Bravery felt like the truest form of what kind of music I wanted to make. Lots of emotional songs.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Lots of candy and coffee. Lots of fresh fruit and soup. I think it would be very humbling to perform with Phoebe Bridgers. The songs off Stranger in the Alps have influenced my writing.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Hang in there. Be unforgettable. Aspire to write unforgettable songs. Be kind to people.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I’ll be touring quite a lot in 2019, beginning with plenty of Canadian dates. The plan is to have both U.K. and European dates but…nothing to announce quite yet.
Might you come to the U.K. and perform?
I love the U.K. and I’ll for sure be back.
IN THIS PHOTO: Luca Fogale
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Hmm. I just finished seeing an artist named Luca Fogale for the first time in an intimate show. He was terrific.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I watch a lot of cartoons and hockey to relax. I’m Canadian, after all. I think with music I go through very busy seasons and more relaxing seasons where I can write a bit more.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Give a spin to William Prince - Breathless. He’s a good soul
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