DAVY RODERICK INTERVIEWS EXCITING NEW TALENT JOSHUA WILDE, GETTING AN INSIGHT INTO HIS SONGWRITING PROCESS AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.
Joshua Wilde is a singer-songwriter based in Newquay, Cornwall. After picking up a guitar five years ago he has spent countless hours writing, playing, tuning and perfecting. Now these hours have turned into beautiful, achingly mournful songs that are leaving the safety and privacy of his bedroom and making their way out into the public to an overwhelmingly positive reaction.
Let’s kick it off right at the beginning, when did you start writing songs?
I started writing songs when I was about 16 but they were so bad, usually about people walking down streets.
You’ve obviously moved on since then, what do you think inspired you to start taking music more seriously? Have you always wanted to be a musician?
No, no music is a fairly new thing. I always played drums but football was always the dream when I was growing up. Then I picked up a guitar which was much more pleasant for the neighbours than drums. I remember hearing Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, Ben Howard and realising that I could write songs with feeling and emotion that people could connect with that weren’t cheesy pop songs about love. This opened my eyes to what was possible and from then I took it more seriously.
Would you say those artists are your main influences? Where do you draw inspiration from? Not just artists but other things too.
They are my more recent influences; I listen to so much music now which I’m sure is having an impact on what my songs sound like. I was brought up on such a huge variety of music from Bob Marley to The Clash and I’d like to think that’s all shaped my music in some way.
Is making an emotional connection something that you find especially important whilst writing? Give me an insight into your process, if you even have one.
I find it easier to write about things that really stimulate/trouble my brain so a lot of my songs are about death, and religion and not wasting life. Hopefully these subjects connect with everyone. My writing process at the moment is to go back to the songs I wrote 4, 5 years ago and with the writing experience I’ve gained in that time, try and make them more mature. When I run out of songs I wrote when I was 16 who knows what I’m going to do!
Some would say death isn’t something a young 20 something should be concerning himself with, why do you think it figures into your writing so much?
Ha I know it shouldn’t but death is a funny one, I think whatever age you are and your thoughts on it, it conjures up some sort of feeling and reaction. Things like that I find much easier to grab hold of and write about.
I do feel slightly weird that people come out to have a nice evening and I sing about pretty depressing subjects. Although I was told recently that I sing about sad things with jolly guitar so people are confused into being happy, I like that.
You’re right; obviously it’s a universal subject that everyone can relate to. Sad things with jolly guitar yeah that’s good, debut album title maybe? Speaking of gigs, what’s the worst gig you’ve ever done, and the best gig you’ve ever done?
Haha the worst gig was pretty recently so I won’t say much about it. Not doing any battle of the bands again though. Although it was almost so bad it was good! Best gig was supporting George Ezra in Cafe Irie; he was a pretty big deal by then so it was packed. Such a beautiful venue, great people, can’t go wrong.
I’m guessing you didn’t win? Ah yes I was going to ask you about supporting him, he was on the short list for BBC’s sound of 2014 poll wasn’t he? Tell me more about that experience
Well competitive music is really strange anyway, feels like it defeats the object. But it was so badly organised, in a pub containing mainly drunk people and one of the judges was trying to cop off with someone from the other band. It was actually a hilarious night.
He was, he came 5th overall and is taking the world by storm now! I really enjoy his music so it was a real honour to be able to support him.
Oh wow, sounds like a very… Character building experience?
It was, you just have to laugh about it.
If you could support anyone on tour who would it be? I’ll let you pick three if it’s too hard to pick one.
Oooo there are countless people I’d like to support. City and colour, Damien rice, Keaton Henson are the first three that jump into my head. I could go on.
Is there a genre of music that you plain and simply just don’t get? What’s something you can never imagine yourself doing? Or are there endless possibilities?
Who knows, I’ll listen to anything so there’s no genres I’ll completely disregard. I’ve been playing a bit of music with electric guitar and drums and I’ve got no idea how that’ll end up sounding. It’s exciting.
How’s that debut EP coming along Josh? Are any of those new sounds going to be incorporated?
It’s going well. I’m recording it, mixing it and sorting it all out myself so I only have one person to blame for it taking so long. I’m really looking forward to being able to show people, it’s sounding great. There will possibly be hints of it but not properly, I’ll keep the suspense building.
Suspense building I like it, maybe do a Bowie and disappear for 7 years first? Or release it with no warning and a video accompanying each song like Beyonce?
Haha I like it. I might need to build my audience slightly to have the same impact as those two! Very awkward if you disappear for 7 years and no one realised.
Some would say awkward, I say idiosyncratic, a bold career move. Who are some lesser known acts that you’ve discovered recently or through gigging that you think people should check out?
There are so many local acts that are amazing! Ben Thorpe, Sam Williams and the Flock of Bats and Samuel Powell all spring to mind. I’ve seen them all play recently and been completely blown away. Yesterday I was shown Chet Faker, really great. Also I’m always telling people about Keaton Henson, he writes the saddest songs ever, they completely break me but are so beautiful. Everyone should listen to him.
I’ll make sure to check them out, yeah Keaton Henson is great, a very delicate performer. Okay, penultimate question, what are three in your opinion classic albums everyone should own?
Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles
Hot Fuss – The Killers
Grace – Jeff Buckley
Great choices, especially the first.
Such a good album. I remember drumming along to it when I was about 3, using chop sticks and cardboard boxes.
Finally, what’s next for you Josh? What does the future hold for Joshua Wilde? What do you want to do and where do you want to go? Musically and otherwise.
Who knows, I’m really enjoying gigging and playing my songs to people. Luckily they seem to be getting a nice reaction and it’s slowly building momentum which is great. I’m very happy to let it go and keep saying yes to gigs and see where it ends up. I’d like to go on a little tour at some point and get some gigs outside of Cornwall.
Sounds like a plan to me. I think you’re definitely an exciting talent and one to watch Josh. Congrats on the engagement by the way!