Vance Joy | Full Interview

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The album charts my writing from the first songs I ever wrote to the ones that I’m writing right now.

You only release a debut album once (kind of), excited much?

Yeah it’s awesome. My arrows were all pointed inwards, concentrating on getting it done. Now it’s done I just feel like I’m freed up. When I was on the road last year I was thinking about the album the whole time and trying to write songs. Now it’s a bit more relaxed and I’m enjoying touring with my band. It feels good to be putting an album out all around the world at the same time, so that everyone can get their hands on my new songs simultaneously.

Since your first EP the sound has been pretty consistent in terms of style, anything new with the album?

I think it was consistent within the EP, but there’s probably a little more polish to the album. On the whole it’s consistent in terms of its intimate aura, the way that the vocals are delivered and in the way we’ve balanced them with the instruments. There are some songs on there that are different-sounding, and hopefully it reflects an evolution in my songwriting. I think the album charts my writing well from the first songs I ever wrote to the ones that I’m writing right now.

And it was recorded in a few different places, would you call it a multi-cultural record?

Yeah totally, because we were on tour we had to make the most of the gaps we had, sometimes you just don’t have the luxury of time. We mostly recorded in Seattle but I did one song in London and also spent half a day in Vienna finishing the songs. It’s exciting going in with a short amount of time to get a song done, exhilarating. When it comes out well you feel so good at the end of the day.

You weren’t always set on being a musician, what made you take that creative plunge?

It was really writing my first few songs that I thought were decent. Once I’d written a song that I was proud of it kind of put this little dream in my heart doing music. I kept feeding that little flame over the next few years and by the time I finished university I had about three or four tracks that I was really proud of. So I just took the plunge for a year and went down the music path — and I’m glad I did.

I started writing ‘Riptide’ in 2008 but stopped because I thought it was too simple… I didn’t expect it to have the life it’s had.

So despite not pursuing your studies, university turned out to be a productive time for you?

I reckon university is awesome for just finding yourself and exploring ideas. I got a lot out of it just by putting myself out of my comfort zone, it’s a good thing for young people to do. I’m sure it had an impact in terms of filling my brain up with experiences that helped my songwriting, but more than anything it’s that little gap in time to be free and not take on too much responsibility.

‘Riptide’ was written early on, that must have been a real door-opener for you?

Absolutely yeah, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing without that song. I’d be writing songs but it wouldn’t have been on this scale. I started writing ‘Riptide’ in 2008 but then stopped because I thought it was too simple, it didn’t demand to be finished at that time. About four years later I was playing on the ukulele and it just resurfaced. I didn’t expect it to have the life it’s had, after a while of playing it you get disconnected from that first experience of writing it. It’s funny to think that at one point I made those words up out of nowhere.

Would you say it still represents your musical intentions?

Definitely, you stand by all of the songs you’ve written. Early on I just treated it like every other song but I guess it’s just the way people reacted to it that makes it bigger and more of a focal point. I think it’s representative of me in that it’s quirky but it’s also got a bit of melancholy in it. It’s got those traits that are flavours in other songs I’ve written.

You’re coming back to Bristol this month, this time you’re playing The Anson Rooms…

Yeah. It seems like there’re a lot of young people in Bristol, it’s a cool place. I’m looking forward to coming back, last time I played a solo show at The Louisiana but this time I get to bring my band with me. The show is slightly more powerful with the whole band, so it will good to play again to the people who were there the first time. I’ll also be playing a whole bunch of new songs of course!

Watch the video for ‘Riptide’ right here: