Interview: Joshua Radin in Zurich, 05.10.2018
If you have followed Loads of Music for a while, you will have heard this name a couple of times. You will probably also know, how incredibly excited I was to have had the chance to interview this guy. Very happy to have had the chance to sit down with Joshua Radin and talk about his music and the tour with William Fitzsimmons.
I’ve known Joshua Radin for almost 10 years now, don’t think I’ll ever get sick of hearing his beautiful voice. In case you don’t know him yet, please go check him out online or even better live, he’s still on a big EU tour with William Fitzsimmons, whom I had the pleasure to interview as well (you can find that interview here: Interview with William Fitzsimmons).
Interview with Joshua Radin
It’s been 10 yrs since your first studio album “Simple Times” was released. What has changed since then from a musical perspective?
I don’t think I’ve changed that much honestly. I’m a little more comfortable on stage, I used to take myself a little bit more seriously than I do now, not that I ever took myself thaaat seriously. Just happy that people still come to see me play and want to hear my music. It’s a gift.
Next one was The Rock and the Tide – how do you feel about that album now. You rarely sing songs from that one… (except “You Got What I Need”)
I liked doing this album, it was fun to make. It was like a Danish band in a studio in London, playing some rock, or well, rock for me. Playing electric guitar! I did that tour for a couple of years, those were fun shows. But then I started getting so many comments from people saying they wished I would go back to the old style. The kind of music they fell in love with originally. So I started doing a little less rock and a little more folk over the years. I then started doing solo shows with just an acoustic guitar, telling stories and taking requests. With that, I really started loving that intimacy with the audience. I don’t know, I’m not saying I’m never doing something like The Rock and the Tide again. I think whenever someone puts any kind of creative person in a box, that person will always try to break out of it. That’s what happened to me after “Simple Times”, the label that I was on said “we want you to be the next so and so” just another guy with an acoustic guitar and all the feelings and of course my creative head said: well, then I’m going to try to do something else, I don’t want to be put in this box. I don’t know what I’ll be doing next. But then I always change my mind. I’ll call up my manager after a tour and tell her that I want to take out the electric guitar, the drums, and everything and she’s like “ok cool”. We start looking for venues to play that kind of music and 3 months later I’m like “oh no, wait, no wait a second!” and she’s just going: oooh nooo make up your mind!
Well, we do know that there’s a new album coming. You tweeted that you’ll be recording it in November. Is there some kind of theme behind this one (as Onward and Sideways was one big love-letter…)?
I wouldn’t say there’s a theme to this one. It’s just sort of a few pages from my journal. Since I haven’t started recording yet, it can change a lot. I gotta stay open!
You mentioned that you’ll be playing a couple new songs on this tour…
Yes, I played a few on the last shows and I was really pleased with the audience response. Maybe I’ll even add another one. It’s really nice to be able to test some new material before you go to the studio and see the response. Makes you way more confident, when a live audience hears you play it, solo with just a guitar, the way I wrote it, and like it even though they’ve never heard it before. Most people come to concerts to listen to songs they know, so they can sing along. And that’s great because I’m kind of that way too. It’s an amazing feeling when they dig a new tune.
You’re here with William Fitzsimmons – do you remember what song of his struck you the most?
I’ll let you know when I hear one… I’m just kidding! 😀 I think we met around 12-13 years ago. A mutual friend told me I’d really like his music and at that point, he’s just released his first song I think. And I really loved it. I can’t remember the names though, I’m so bad with song titles. I forget my own song titles sometimes. Lyrics are fine, but titles, I don’t know, the first line of the chorus.. Yeah, that must be it.
I’ve heard so many of his songs live. What I love about his songs and him as a person. They’re so interconnected. I love that when I hear a singer/songwriter and they’re singing something I really believe. Like I really believe they went through that. I see a lot of other singer/songwriters where I just don’t buy it. They might be good technically, have a nice voice and a good song. But when they’re performing it, I’m just not buying it. But William is one of those guys where I just believe him, like Ray Lamontagne or Damien Rice. There are certain people that you can watch and hear play and you just say: yeah I believe you went through this.
Corina: What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you on stage?
Easy, years ago when I was on a major label, they were pushing me to be this pop star. I was in London on one of those big radio shows in an arena. Mostly kids that listen to pop, pop radio music. There was even a boyband. I remember being in the green room and thinking whaaat? Not judging, all kinds of music can be good, just asking how am I fitting in here. Also in Europe, they often make you play a track. The vocals are live, but the band on stage is muted. I hated that, I said I don’t want to do that. But they wouldn’t have me then. So ok, I’ll do it. I’m singing my song, even my guitar was muted. It felt so strange. All of a sudden, the track stopped in the middle of my song. And we just kept playing and only after like 10 seconds we realized. I was just so humiliated. All I wanted to do is tell the audience that they made us play the track, I can play live. But you can’t, I just stood there, red-faced. Then I walked off stage just shaking my head. After that, I called my manager and just said: I don’t want to do this major label thing anymore. And I’ve been indie since that.
Irina: What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
I actually don’t have any crazy fans, gotta knock on wood. They’re all so lovely. Every now and again we get a drunk person in the crowd, dancing all by herself at a seated venue while everyone else is sitting… She loves the show. And it’s fine, she’s enjoying herself. But it’s always funny if you get one of those. But yeah, I’ve been really lucky, my fans are great, respectful.
Sandra: What’s the best part of touring with William Fitzsimmons?
He’s hilarious. His sense of humor. I think that’s why we’re friends. We both like to joke around and are incredibly sarcastic. We’re always trying to one-up each other.
Touring – fun
Sharks – scary
Tom Petty – greatest
Switzerland – beautiful
Chocolate – good, delicious
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A big thank you to AllBlues Konzert AG for setting up these interviews!