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INTERVIEW: Josh Lief

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

Hi! Thanks for having me. I’m doing fine.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Love In Disguise”? 

Of course.  I wrote main guitar riff as I was preparing to record the coming week in the studio.  I kept playing it over and over and heard the wah-wah guitar part in my head.  I recorded it with the Josh Lief Band, which is me, Debbie Flood on drums, and Thomas Schoppe on bass.  Deb and Tommy really helped come up with the groove of the song.  I wrote the words in one straight session once I came up with the concept.

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

Not one event.  Just life in general.  Love in the modern age.  People say one thing and do another.  How easy it is to text a sweet thing but not really mean it.  Like the song says, “words can be easy, but actions they speak the truth.”

How was the filming process and experience behind the video? 

The filming process and experience of making the video was awesome.  I was working with Whitney Asher of Marketing Mixtape on some marketing plans for my upcoming release and she introduced to a very talented videographer named Daniel Bagbey and together we produced the video I guess.  He had some ideas and I did as well.  My drummer Debbie Flood suggested we use dancers and it just all came together.  The song has a very 60s rock sound to it and the video really fits.

Why naming the album after this track in particular? 

The album is very personal (except for one song which is about Star Trek lol), and just putting it all together it fit my concept.  Plus, we just really liked the song and the message from it and wanted to lead with it.

How was the recording and writing process? 

The writing was easy.  It just came together to me in a night about a week before I had studio time booked at Montrose Recording.  I recorded my first solo album at Montrose so knew it would go smoothly this time around.  My band, which is Debbie Flood on drums and Thomas Schoppe on bass, had been playing a lot of gigs and we have really good chemistry.  We got the track down in one practice.  The rhythm track might be the first or second take.  We just got the groove of the song down right away and Adrian captured it.  I then overlaid the lead part and also got the take very early on.  We play it live and we just have a great feeling for the song.

What role does Richmond play in your writing? 

I’ve been heavily influenced in my writing by being in Richmond.  The lead track of my last album (Redemption) is Five Forks Woods about one of the last battles of the Civil War near Petersburg.  The second track on Love In Disguise is James River Blues about walking by the pipeline in RVA.  More than that, the local music scene has many great musicians and a lot of awesome original music.  Hearing and seeing local people playing originals (plus meeting Adrian through local musicians), has been the kick in the butt I needed to keep writing.

What aspect of Blues and Country did you get to explore on this record? 

Well I wanted this record to really go back to my blues roots.  So I purposefully wrote Deep Water Blues to have a slow traditional blues song.  Christine I wrote when I first met the lady of the same name, and is a semi-accurate account of our initial courting… There’s always some country in my writing, and Your Drinking Ways is more country rock than any other genre.  Plus it’s about drinking and that’s pretty country!

How did you get to blend and balance both so distinctive genres? 

I just write where the muse takes me.  It’s cliche, but like my favorite artists, I don’t chase a genre (and people are always tell me to), but I just go where the music and lyrics take me.  Every time I pick up a guitar I’m writing a different style – blues, country, rock, folk, metal, jazz, it all comes out depending on my mood.

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

Most of the songs are based on real life inspiration.  For example, James River Blues I was literally walking on the pipeline and the words all just came to me.  It’s all there – trains overhead, water running upstream, the railroad bridge.  Deep Water Blues is more of a feeling of desolation based upon drama at the beach.  Let Go is based upon my recovery.  The only song that isn’t personal on the album is Edith Keeler Must Die which is about my favorite Star Trek TOS episode lol (I’ve probably watched it 100 times).  And then there’s Christine, who motivated so much of the music on this record (and has been a big supporter and great sport as well).

Any plans to hit the road? 

Yes, I’m working on plans for some touring to support the album and really hope it comes together.  We have a great band and want to bring the music to more people.

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

I’m blessed to have a great band to play with, some really supportive friends, and the spirit and drive to keep playing and writing.  I’ve already written some new material and can easily see me recording a new album next year!

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, play guitar, music geek, movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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