James Rawlings had a chat with upcoming artist Vance Joy, better known as James Keogh.
JR: The first time I heard your track ‘Riptide’ was the first video of a girl using a hula hoop. Where did that video come from?
JK: That was my friends girlfriend, she just made that. It was a cool video.
JR: How did you go from that video and a few recorded sessions to top of Triple Js 100?
JK: Yeah, that was crazy. Definitely didn’t expect it to go number one, but we were celebrating each time we were counted down from five. It feels pretty awesome, that kind of celebration.
JR: Beyond your last EP, what’s your next plan?
JK: I’m recording my first album over the next couple of months so hopefully have that out by the end of this year. Then tour, mainly England, Australia and America and see the year out.
JR: Are there places you’re particularly excited to go?
JK: London was awesome, the Scala was beautiful. We’ve got a mate with us actually from London. We’re picking up mates along the way. We’ve got a mate in Berlin where we’re hanging out for a couple of days, then on to Paris. I haven’t been to Berlin or Paris.
JR: You said on Twitter you don’t always dance, but do when the right song is on. What is the right song?
JK: There’s a lot of good song. Recently I’ve been listening to the Daft Punk album on the plane and I couldn’t help myself, that “Doin’ it Right” song, “when you’re doin’ it right, when you’re d-d-doin’ it right”. You know that song? There whole album is the right song.
JR: It’s a lot of travelling with a lot of equipment. Obviously the Ukulele is a portable option. What else do you bring to your shows?
JK: A keyboard, some drum stuff, a couple of guitars and a base guitar. We don’t have a huge rig, we’re pretty light. Still, its lugging a bunch of shit. Once you get to the shows it’s a good moment when you’re done lugging all the stuff.
JR: So why Ukulele over guitar for a lot of the songs?
JK: I have a ukulele and I liked the way it sounded. It had a nice song and responded well. Its electro acoustic, a company called Kala. They’re really good. They sorted me out with a couple. They have a nice resonance. It’s a tenor ukulele.
JR: ‘Riptide’ doesn’t use the standard tuning does it?
JK: I tuned it down, I kind of regret it cause I have to sing so bloody high. It’s the top four strings of the guitar, DGBE. You can play it on guitar on the same pitch.
JR: When you were writing the LP were there some big influences? I’ve noticed some similarities with ‘Beirut’, especially ‘Nantes’.
JK: Yeah, I’m familiar with that song for sure, and you know maybe with osmosis, you listen to it a lot and it effects the way you write songs. I definitely appreciate the way they write songs and music. Also the instrumentation they use. I think they use ukulele’s and beautiful. I remember singing covers of that song ‘Elephant Gun’ in 2007/ 2008 just because I loved the song so much.
JR: You’re lyrics seem quite personal, how personal are they?
JK: You can’t help bur make it personal, to sing it like you believe it. They’re not all my stories, personal experiences. All the different creative stuff. I’m glad they do sound personal though, that some bits do that, because if it sounds personal people can relate to it.
JR: Off the EP what is your favourite track?
JK: Probably my favourite song to play live is ‘Emmylou’ the first track and I have a soft spot for ‘From Afar’ which is an older song. It’s a stayer and something I think we’ll be playing for a long time.
JR: You say ‘From Afar’ is quite an old song. How old are some of the songs?
JK: I played that song in probably 2010, toward the end of the year. Performed it then. I added a bit to it, I added the outro to it in 2012. You keep songs around and they find a long lost home.
JR: Do you have songs that haven’t found a place yet?
JK: Definitely, I’ve got a lot of songs that I want to find places for and sometimes they want to go into places and sometimes they resist. You’ve just got to wait until its not too forced. I’ve got a few odd songs floating around, which is good. It’s good to have some spare parts in your garage.