MY only interview of the day...
is with Joey Walker who has been telling me about his new track, Frank. I have been asking about the song’s origins and whether he has any plans going forward; which artists and albums have inspired him and a new act we need to have a look at.
Walker tells me what it is like being a queer artist I the music industry and whether he needs to shout louder to get his voice heard; what advice he would give to new musicians approaching – he ends the interview by selecting a great song.
Hi, Joey. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been a grand, gay ol’ time. Christmas is coming up and this is the first year I am not celebrating it, so that feels a bit odd…otherwise, I’ve been pretty fabulous.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a producer, songwriter; singer, and musician based in Indiana, U.S.A. I try to create music that sounds like adulterated rage for the people who stay at home and obsess over records and spend a lot of time online. I call it ‘Twink-Rock’ but I’m sort of half-joking.
Talk to me about Frank. What is the story behind the song?
Well. I am also trying to figure that one out! It opens with a recording of my high-school’s janitor, named Frank, talking about his tribulations growing up poor and uneducated. I was wondering to myself: ‘Do I relate to this man?’ This song is an attempt to imagine a different life for him in a structural or narrative sense, rather than a literal one.
Will there be more material coming next year?
My album, Supersoft, drops on January 18th, 2019 through Darling Recordings. That’s all you get, 2019!
Are there particular artists that inspired you to get into music? Who do you count as idols?
Tegan and Sara definitely gave me the courage to be myself within my songs; Diamanda Galás taught me how to imbue politics into music and PJ Harvey showed me to never repeat myself.
As a young, queer musician in America; do you think there is equality or do you feel like you have to fight hard to get your voice heard?
I think any musician trying to ‘make it’ has to fight super hard, point-blank. I’m not sure I have to try harder, necessarily, but I do get to fight a bit differently.
Do you already have plans for 2019?
Just writing and recording the next album to follow my upcoming record, Supersoft. I plan a lot in advance – admittedly, I’m a control freak - so I already have an album title and track to start with.
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music so far – the one that sticks in the mind?
When I was in high-school, we had a sort of talent show. At the time, I had all these weird songs about nuclear war and fallout and stuff...so I think that really cemented my musical and personal mindframe after I felt great about playing them live and after everyone kinda looked at me like I was a freak. I’ve always been a weirdo. After that, I felt like a powerful one.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Joanna Newsom - Ys
A true masterclass on rhyme, rhythm and the economy of words - so inspirational.
Björk - Homogenic
A brilliant mix of impeccable sounds and melodies. Still sounds futuristic today.
Songs: Ohia - Magnolia Electric Co.
My favorite album. Jason Molina’s songs just speak to me in this way where I become slack-jawed, landlocked and barren after hearing them.
As Christmas has coming; if you had to ask for one extra present (you have not already received) what would it be?
I’d probably ask for a Nintendo Switch so I can play Animal Crossing when it comes out. It’s truly the purest game ever created.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I would love to open for Susanne Sundfør. She’s so brilliant and one of the best Pop producers around. I had plans to see her on her latest tour - but I got sick and couldn’t go - so to see her perform and talk to her about our mutual hero Scott Walker would be a dream come true.
I have never had a show with an artist rider! I’d probably ask for nothing since I hate to be a burden…maybe I could make them play my own playlist before I go on stage.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
If you’re a control freak like me, try to let things happen somewhat organically and see where you end up. Talk to yourself out-loud more often. Record every melody or lyric that pops in your head onto your phone. Demo things out a lot - because a ‘bad demo’ might have one thing you can salvage and become something better.
Do you have tour dates coming up? Where can we catch you play?
I actually have not played a single show in about five years. I’m working on it but I anticipate I’ll be solo.
IN THIS PHOTO: Stone Irr
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Stone Irr is a dear friend who writes brilliant songs (and, yes, that is his actual name). He has this great way of taking the mundane and expanding it into something really captivating. His songs are diametrically opposite of mine in terms of narrative arc and composition - but they’re incredible nonetheless.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
As of late, I’ve turned to video games (Dota 2 in particular). Ultimately, though, music has been the way I escape and unwind from the everyday world; so I hope it remains that way and I don’t find even more ways to avoid writing and recording.
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).
I’d have to say You Don’t Know What Love Is by Diamanda Galás. An incredible cover of a classic tune, wherein she sustains this high note for like thirty seconds - it feels like an eternity in the best way possible.
Thank you! xoxo
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