Hello! VENTS, thank you for having me. I have been great and staying busy. This week there has been a lot of co-writing here in Nashville, which I love. I’ve been finalizing some details for a couple of upcoming shows, and spending time reaching out and thanking all of the radio stations that have been kind enough to play songs from my latest release “Under Plastic Stars!!”
Can you talk to us more about your song “Let It Rain”?
“Let It Rain” was one of those songs that stuck out for me from the other songs I had been writing at that time. And as I continued to write, it was one that even after it was written was still lingering in the back of my mind. It started out as an idea consisting of only the 1st verse and a chorus. It sat that way for a while until I came back and finished it. I had set a goal for myself in 2014 to write 100 songs in the span of the year. “Let It Rain” was #44.
Did any event inspire you to write this song?
I didn’t know what I was writing about in this song until it was done. Probably the simplest way to put it is; it sums up what was going on in my life at the time, but written from an outside perspective, though someone else’s eyes.
Any plans to release a video for the track?
Peter Lieninger, (who has shot all of my videos), and I were just talking last week about the possibility of shooting a video for “Let It Rain.” We will likely shoot in the same style as the 1st video, “17” from “Under Plastic Stars.” We haven’t set a date to start filming just yet, but it is definitely something we are planning.
The single comes off your new album Under Plastic Stars – what’s the story behind the title?
The title “Under Plastic Stars,” for me, sums up the narrative that runs through the songs on the record-as well as the record itself. I chose the order of the songs on the album to tell the story; the songs are more like chapters that complete a book and less like a collection of short stories, if that makes sense? The image that comes to mind when I think of the title “Under Plastic Stars” is a bedroom with thousands of glow-in-the-dark plastic stars lighting the ceiling. But, going back to the theme of the record, be careful what you wish for because it might come true, or it might not. It really depends on what the songs mean to the listener.
How was the recording and writing process?
The writing process for this record was challenging and helped me to reach a little deeper inside myself to get to the heart of what I was trying to say. We had planned to go in and record 10 songs for “Under Plastic Stars” but on the second day of recording, I brought in the song “17” and “Lucky At Leavin’”, so 10 became 12. We recorded at Sound Emporium in Nashville, Tennessee. It had been a while since I had recorded to tape and I enjoy that process. My engineer Dave Reiley, did a great job helping out with production ideas and getting the overall vibe for the basic tracks we cut at Sound Emporium. Once we wrapped tracking of the Acoustic, Bass and Drums, I brought the record back to Black Gold Speakeasy, my studio here in Nashville, to finish all of the overdub and some additional production elements.
What role does Nashville play in your writing?
I think Nashville has played an integral role in the writing of this record. Being surrounded by so many great songwriters and musicians on a daily basis is very inspiring. It definitely helps to keep me on my toes, and makes me want to write the best songs that I can write for the sake of the song.
What aspect of your life did you get to explore on this record?
I really got to explore a lot of personal experiences on this record that I had tried to bury or hide away. Writing as many songs as I did at this time, I noticed every song I wrote brought more of my skeletons to light. I’ve always gravitated to the idea of taking a universal theme and making it very personal. If you take the time to really listen, the songs develop a much deeper meaning, but the same songs also work just as well if you don’t. On previous releases, I don’t feel like I’ve always been as honest to the listener as I am on this record.
Any plans to hit the road?
Yes! In the last couple years, I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio working on my own releases and producing albums and songs for other artists. And while I’m still continuing to do that, I am also going to do some shows this year in support of “Under Plastic Stars” and my next release “The Misses.” So far, I’ll be playing two solo acoustic shows in March, one in Austin, Texas and the following week I’ll be in Peoria, Illinois. I’m starting to get the show schedule together now and rehearsals with the band will start shortly. I want to play for as many people this year as I can.
What else is happening next in Joshua Ketchmark´s world?
What else? I have a new record ready for release called “The Misses.” It is 10 rockin’ songs that were tracked live at Sound Emporium in Nashville. We tracked “The Misses’” two months after “Under Plastic Stars.” I also have two additional singles to be on the look-out for this year, as well as a four song EP called “Jilted Lovers,” that will be released on Noise Trade for free. And last but not least, I have one more record for you that will be released later this year. My fingers are crossed! Hopefully I will be able to release at least one video per release. 2018 marks 10 years for me of being a solo artist, so I thought, why not make the most of it?