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INTERVIEW: Josh Birdsong

Hi Josh, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’ve been busy preparing for the release of my new EP, “Where the Light Bends”, since releasing “Simple Geometry” last year… thank you for having me back at Vents!

Can you talk to us more about your latest song “Complex Context”?

“Complex Context” is the first single off of my newly released EP, “Where the Light Bends”.  It hints at the overall ambient tones and textures that are threaded throughout the entirety of the six songs.  As the initial release from the EP, it especially showcases how I use looping in a compositional format, setting a base hypnotic guitar motif while continually layering guitar harmonies to create an almost “orchestrated” guitar feel.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

I don’t think there was one particular instance that inspired this song, but lyrically, it focuses on how quick we are as a society to judge an entire storyline of a situation, or make unfounded assumptions about a person.  Hopefully it prompts towards looking deeper to understand the complexities of different dynamics, and authentically taking the time to listen to one another’s stories.

Any plans to release a video for the track?

I am hopefully releasing several graphic videos to coordinate with several of the songs from the EP… so stay tuned in the future!

The single comes off your new album Where The Light Bends – what’s the story behind the title?

“Where the Light Bends”, which is the EP title and concluding song, was inspired by one of my favorite poems by Rumi…  Each song certainly carries their own concepts and thought processes, but there is a thread reaching to understand beyond the surface level and grappling with healing when seeking the unanswerable questions.

How was the recording and writing process?

I truly enjoyed the writing and recording process for this EP.  Each song seemed to piece together quite naturally in the music and lyrics from the pure songwriting standpoint, and I was able to explore far deeper into the ambient and electronic textures that I have always loved in production.

What was it like to work with Stephen Leiweke and how did that relationship develop?

I recorded my previous EP, “Simple Geometry”, with Stephen as well, and he is incredible to work with. He has such a defined ear as a producer, and really has helped to capture and incorporate the ambient and electronic vibe threaded throughout the core of the songs.

How much did he influence the album?

Stephen was instrumental in selecting an array of studio musicians who are experts in their craft.  He listens to many of my favorite artists ranging from electronic artists including Tycho and Imogen Heap to the songwriting of The Smiths, so he has an extraordinary sense of direction in terms of translating organic instruments into the larger textures at work in the songs.  His ear is the utmost articulate and meticulous, which is imperative in the studio process.

What role does Nashville play in your writing?

Nashville plays a tremendous role not only in my songwriting, but also in the crafting of the sound of the recordings as well.  There is great interplay between electronic and organic in the studio setting.  The level of studio musicians in Nashville is unparalled, and the musicians who performed on this EP truly were able to capture this live “sampled” and electronic feel, which created such a sense of life within the ambient production for the songs.  Recording this style of music in Nashville creates a solid balance between the intricate components of more electronic influenced music, while integrating the living, breathing feel of live musicians who are experts in their craft.

How has Sting and Morrissey influence your music?

Sting and Morrissey are not only both profound songwriters and performers, but are also such innovators musically.  I am constantly trying to elevate my songwriting by learning from their sense of phrasing, both melodically and lyrically.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

Personally, the overarching storyline to these songs is about the process when one truly tries to understand the deeper questions.  There is a sense of non-duality, because many of these songs lyrically don’t have a clear-cut plot and resolution.  In many ways these songs are about the acceptance that life provides ambiguous answers that usually result in the next level of questioning, seeking, and understanding, which perhaps is simply the larger element of being human.

Any plans to hit the road?

I usually keep a consistent show schedule in the Detroit and Nashville areas when I am there respectively. In this upcoming year, my plans include to expand to further cities and settings.

What else is happening next in Josh Birdsong’s world?

I’m so looking to performing these songs throughout the upcoming shows, and will also be looking to add more instrumentation and visual elements as I continue touring.  You can continue to stay updated on new music and shows by following me at Josh Birdsong and Josh Birdsong Music on social media, as well as at joshbirdsong.com

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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