Thursday 6 June 2019

INTERVIEW: Joe Hicks (June 2019)

I've been wanting to start up interviews on the blog for a while and who better to be the first in over a year (oops!) than the lovely Joe Hicks. He recently shared his single Hollow and is touring with the equally wonderful Adam Barnes soon - I'll let him introduce himself!

Hello! First and foremost, for those who aren't (yet) familiar with your music, who is Joe Hicks? How would you describe your sound?

Hi Megan! Lovely to speak to you again! I’m a singer-songwriter from sunny Newbury in Berkshire. I’ve been releasing my music for just over 2 years now and I’d say my sound is kind of guitar led pop with bluesy/folky/indie tinges. Definitely a melting pot of my influences for sure. The main sound is electric guitar based, but I’ve also had a lot of fun arranging and releasing acoustic led versions of a lot of my songs to accompany the fuller band sounding recordings. 

With this in mind - who are your biggest influences? Anybody that we probably wouldn't expect?

How long have you got? Haha. Well it sounds cliché but my parents definitely subjected me to a lot of The Beatles and bands like Squeeze growing up, but also folk music from Fairport Convention to John Martyn. I also had a time of listening to heavier bands in my teens, but nowadays my main influences are anyone who’s done well at keeping the guitar at the forefront of great songwriting. People like John Mayer, Sting, Eric Clapton, Paul Simon. Then again the other day I wrote a chord progression on the back of hearing a Zara Larsson song so I don’t always look to the same sources. I think that’s what’s interesting about people making music over the past 5 years or so. Due to playlists and Spotify and all that, genre lines are completely blurred and we all listen to a multitude of different stuff and draw influence from wherever. Look at that new Bring Me The Horizon album. How do you pigeon hole that? It’s about 6 ‘genres’! 

You released the brilliant new track 'Hollow' last week, your second piece of new music for the year. I'm loving how relatable the track is, which seems to be a theme throughout your music. Is there anything that you can tell us about the writing and production process of the track? 

Thank you Megan! Really glad you are enjoying it :). I can’t say that I set out with the intention of making it relate I just tend to write from personal experience a lot of the time so it’s great to hear it can connect. Although the song is not necessarily about an ideal time in my life so I suppose part of me would love to hear that no one else can relate to that kind of experience. But if it can help those who can then that’s great! 

I wrote Hollow over about a week, just at home on an acoustic guitar. When I started to demo it was when I got the idea to add all the guitars playing 16ths to drive the chorus along. Then when I went into Studio 91 with Sam Winfield we tried to take it even further that way. I had that Friendly Fires song Jump in the Pool in my head as the direction I wanted to take all the percussion and everything, and I think we did well in achieving a similar vibe! My friend Ed Broad played the drums and he’s a mighty man behind the kit, especially his hi-hat work, so it all came together smoothly. 

As we (scarily) draw close to the halfway point of 2019, what are your plans for the rest of the year, musically? More singles? Or dare I hope... an EP?

You’re not wrong with ‘scarily’, I’m still saying Happy New Year to people.. Musically I’m sitting on a little bit more music to put out this year that I’m really excited about! It’s already been recorded and I’m hoping to put something out over the summer. Not sure whether I’ll culminate this years music into anything like an EP yet but we’ll see. I’m definitely keen to release something of a longer form soon having released a string of singles over the past year. Watch this space. 

Talking of the rest of the year... you've got some shows coming up with Adam Barnes in Oxford, Bath and Nottingham in June. Acoustic guitars, gorgeous harmonies and fantastic beards aside, what should we expect from the shows?

Well I have no plans or even biological ability to grow a good facial offering so the beards will be singular on that tour. Really excited to play with Adam again, he’s one of my best friends and we’ve been playing music together in various forms for about 7 years so it always feels very natural. At the Oxford show in particular we’ll both be bringing slightly bigger setups, but the other two shows will be two young bucks with our guitars playing our songs and trying to collaborate on each others stuff as much as possible! Well worth checking out the deer in the background of the tour poster. Possibly my finest photoshop moment to-date.

Is there anything else in the pipeline for the next few months? Any festivals coming up?

I’ve got quite a few shows coming up in June and over the rest of the summer. Readipop Festival on the 13th of July is going to be a lot of fun! They’ve done a lot to try and support artists from the local area, so it will be brilliant to be a part of that. I’m also playing in Southampton, London, Portsmouth, Devizes, Didcot, Bristol and Newbury currently, with more shows in the pipeline. Hopefully going to go back to Europe in the Autumn and do a bit more too. Details on all my confirmed shows can be found here.

Finally... here is your chance to recommend some music to me! I'm curious - what is in your headphones a lot at the moment? Lately I've been listening to a lot of Novo Amor in anticipation of his headline slot at Bushstock Festival in June, I can't recommend his debut album enough!

Oh awesome! I shall check him out. Definitely a name I’ve been seeing pop up a lot (perhaps a lot on your blog) so I’ll give him a go. I’d love to recommend something super cool but the reality is I’ve been listening to mixes of my next release a lot and very little else. I did however have Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head on super loud in the car driving back from Oxford the other night so I think everyone should go back and listen to that. 

If you want a more current answer I’d say you should check out the band LongDayLateNight from Newbury. Very good, lovely gents, annoyingly young. 

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