Hailing from Cincinnati, DIY musician Joey Joesph will be releasing his fifth, yet self-titled, album on July 3rd. It’s a diverse journey through pop, folk, and punk, all created and produced by Joesph in his home studio called The Eyebrow Palace.
Joesph plays all instruments and sings on the LP, except for his sister Alisa Cook appearing vocally on “Little Heart.” His previous full-lengths where recorded under the moniker Joesph, but this time out he’s using the name Joey Joesph.
Joesph was a member of indie pop group Pomegranates until 2013, when he departed to focus on a solo career. Influenced by folk singer-songwriters, TV show theme songs, punk spirit, and pop tunefulness, Joesph mixes all these genres into his music.
Rebel Noise is stoked to host the premiere of the punkest cut off the album – the blasting opener that drive forward with a fast-marching drum beat and whirling, fiery guitars. Joesph’s exclamatory vocals are echoed and swirling, adding a psychedelic touch to the grimy grind.
Joesph kindly gave some insight into his recording process, the meaning behind “I Don’t Know If We’re In A Garden,” and his outlook for the rest of this year:
Heya Joey! Good to touch base with you. Tell us about your latest single "I Don't Know If We're In A Garden" and the new s/t LP it's off of. Are there any themes musically or lyrically that we should know about?
I wrote “I Don’t Know If We’re In A Garden” back in 2012. My girlfriend was studying in Holland, MI, and I was living in Cincinnati. It hadn’t been all that long since I had sworn to myself I’d never do a long-distance relationship again, and so with over 5 hours between us I was feeling good and angsty.
I had just gotten home from a tour with this band Jookabox from Indianapolis - they were amazing. Such sweet people. They had a lot of fast, heavy tunes with a ton of thick delay on the vocals, outer space punk music, and when I got home I was like, “I’m gonna rip them off” - haha.
So I did my best to write a sad, “wish-you-were-here” song that had that kind of spacey, heavy feeling. It may have done some magic, because my girlfriend and I are still together, over 10 years now!
The rest of the album ranges a bit; there’s a song for her dog, Ceili, who we all really miss. One of the songs is a mash-up of a couple different dreams I had; one apocalyptic, and one where I was making out with Courtney Love on a metal, folding chair in a school gymnasium.
Talk us through your recording process. You do all home studio recordings, correct? What is your set-up and what are some of your favorite recording tools?
Yeah, I’m very grateful for the space I have here in Cincinnati. I’m in the lower level of a mid-century ranch in a pretty quiet neighborhood. Good vibes, for sure. My set-up is simple - Reaper is my DAW. I’ve been using it for years, and I have a couple friends who use it, so sometimes they’ll show me some tricks. I have a Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 with a Scarlett OctoPre, bumping it from 8 to 16 channels.
My friend Jacob runs a studio in town called Sabbath Recording. He sold me a UA 710 Twin-Finity which is my main pre. Pretty much all bass guitar goes direct into that, and I’ll use the 710 with a 3U CM-1 as a mono drum overhead most of the time. I got an Electro-Voice RE16; that’s my main vocal mic, and I’ll use it on guitar amps, and occasionally on toms and stuff.
My friend Isaac has a studio here too, called Marble Garden, and he gave me a Yamaha MT50 that I’ll use sometimes to mix down rhythm tracks, but for the most part I stay in the computer. I finally got Soundtoys 5, and the FabFilter Pro-Q 2 which was a game-changer for me. Their plug-ins are amazing, and they kind of teach you about audio while you’re using them.
When I’m tracking, typically I’ll start by laying down a scratch acoustic/vocal track to a click, just to get the song down, then I’ll do drums to that. Since the drums will be a little loose, I’ll mute the click and build the rest of the song up from there, starting with bass usually, and doing vocals last, mixing as I go.
I like singing to a mostly finished track so I can hopefully get a little more feeling into the performance. Then it’s good for me to step away and not listen for a couple days so that when I come back the tweaks that need to be made in the mix are a little more clear to me.
For this album I tried to work quickly, and not spend much time on any of the songs. Since most of them had been either in my head or in demo form for a few years I pretty much knew what I wanted going in, so I tried to leave it to instinct and not over-think anything.
Obviously everyone's plans are up in the air for the rest of 2020, but tell us what goals you have as a band and where you think things are heading.
I just finished mixing an album for my friend David, who releases music as Coast Off. The album is called Honest August and I’m really proud of how it turned out. All the drums were tracked here, and then he tracked pretty much everything else himself. It’s the first full-length I’ve mixed for someone else, and I really want to do more.
I’m working on a couple of my own records currently; one of them will be a double album. The one I’ll probably release next is kinda like if Diamond Dogs had been more of a disco record. The one after that, the double album is kind of my early-Roxy Music-does-Exile On Main Street, with a little bit of Richard Harris thrown in. That’s what I have in my mind anyway.
I’m really excited to be able to play shows again. I miss that - playing in front of people. It always feels pretty stressful to me, but I also start feeling weird and antsy if I go too long without performing. All in all though, I’d say this downtime to rest has been really good for me. I’m trying to take advantage of it. I’m trying to work hard; exercise more and drink less; take things a day at a time!