In Conversation With: Joesef

Lewis Webster chats to soul-pop Glaswegian Joesef

Lewis Webster
19th October 2021
@joesefjoesefjoesef on Instagram
Alternative singer-songwriter, Joesef, emerged from East Glasgow back in 2019 with his debut song, Limbo. He quickly sold out his first gig, gaining impressively rapid attention from many big names in the industry. Now, after eighteen months of lockdown restrictions and with two EP’s behind his back, the singer has returned with a new tour. I sat down with Joesef at The Cluny to talk all about his new single, Fire, and how he managed to collaborate with the legendary Loyle Carner over lockdown.

Hello mate, nice to meet you how’s it going?

It’s going good man! What’s happening with you?

I’m good, thanks - how’s the tour going?

It’s good mate, it’s class. It’s good to be back in a van full of sweaty bodies. Aye, it’s amazing man and everybody’s just kind of been up for it every night as well. Even the people in Manchester last night, you know? It was a Monday night and they were charging man, it’s fucking class.

Yeah, I saw the videos you reposted on your Instagram – and was it at Leeds you were saying that people in the crowd were screaming louder than you could sing?

Yeah, I couldn’t even fucking hear myself. People were just crying as well, there were so many girls crying. Leeds was amazing, that was probably my favourite one so far, so we need to top it tonight! But aye it’s been amazing man, it’s just good to be back out and doing normal things again and shit like that. Everybody’s just happy to be out the house.

Definitely, that’s the thing with being cooped up for so long. Nobody’s been able to enjoy live music. And I think the live music industry was definitely one that was affected most from lockdown.

Definitely man, it’s just good to be back.

So, I’m curious to know about your new single, “Fire”, which I’ve listened to about a million times by the way (laughing). What was the meaning and inspiration behind that song?

Well, I moved to London last September before the big lockdown and I’d went through a massive break up before I left, and I thought moving away would help me kind of get over it and all that. So, it was like running away from my problems and when I first got to London it was like “Ah, this is amazing” but then it turned out all of my problems followed me there and so the song is just about realising you can’t run away from your issues. Like, you’re the issue and you carry your issues about. So aye, it’s like very specific about somebody but it’s more about the situation. It’s very intense, but at least I got a good song out of it (laughing).

Very true! I was wanting to ask you about “I Wonder Why”, which I’ve listened to a lot - what was it was like working on that song with Loyle?

Aye it was amazing man, he’s like one of my biggest – I fucking love Loyle Carner. But I never thought I’d ever get to work with him. I started that tune, and when we finished it, my manager was like “he would sound amazing on this”, and I was like “he would never”. And then they sent him the tune and I got a random text of a voice memo of him rapping over the song, the one you actually hear on the track and I was fucking screaming me gaff down man, it was mental. It was during lockdown as well, so I didn’t really get to meet him, but I’ve met him a couple of times now and aye it was amazing. He’s literally the nicest guy ever. It was amazing to have him on that track, especially so early.

Ah cool. I guess as well, on the topic of lockdown, how did you manage to stay creative when you’re so limited to only your room or your home?

See, I feel like when you’re in that situation, you’re having a lot of bad feelings and usually when you’re feeling bad you kind of become more creative. I do anyway. I feel like when I’m happy, I’m kind of just coasting like I can’t be arsed writing tunes, singing or whatever but I feel like when I’m feeling really fucked up about something, I can make something nice out of it. I feel like that about lots of art like films and TV. They’re made during periods of depression but after it, some amazing art gets created. But aye, I think through lockdown I was just trying to capitalise on my sadness (laughing) and make some nice tunes out of it. But aye, it’s hard as well cos it’s boring – all I wanted to do was fucking booze with my pals. But I managed to make my EP which is alright, hopefully it never happens again.

Yeah, fingers crossed.

Nah literally man, if we ever had to go back into lockdown –

It’s gotten to a point where we just have to live with it and deal with it kind of thing.

Absolutely. But yes! Talking about your first EP, how do you feel your sound has evolved from then to now?

I think my production has gotten better. It’s more evolved and more realised. I’ve been able to make my sound bigger and a lot cleaner. I mean, when I was making tunes in my gaff it was literally like my guitar, my laptop and working until something just stuck. Aye, I’ve been working on my musicianship and being better about the sounds I’m using. Just overall trying to make things better. But aye, hopefully, it is better. With the new stuff I think people will be surprised because it’s all just faster and a bit more dancey.

I’ll be looking forward to hearing those. I guess as well something I’d like to know is, out of all of the songs you’ve written, which is your personal favourite? Which means the most to you?

Hmm, what’s my favourite? Hard question, man. It changes. It changes a lot. I like “Limbo”, my first tune. It kind of reminds me of a time in my life, and it was the first time I made that tune that I was able to say what I wanted to say without fucking everything up. I just love the sound with the drums and the guitars and everything like that. I feel like I sound like a wee baby on that track, my voice sounds so quiet. But yeah, Limbo or the new stuff – I love “I Wonder Why” cos I just think it sounds like a Bond theme with the strings and all that. But aye, it changes. Depends on what mood I’m in. What’s your favourite?

I think “The Sun Is Up Forever”.

Sun is up Forever, wow I love that.

It was definitely a song I had on repeat at the start of this year because it was quite a depressing time.

I know, literally.

And, you know, it’s quite an uplifting, “light at the end of the tunnel” kind of song.

Yeah. I feel that song means the most to me, cos it reminds me of my Mum and stuff like that. But aye, “The Sun Is Up Forever”, that is a tune as well. (Laughing) I love my own songs.

(Laughing) No, that’s good.

I think The Sun Is Up Forever means the most to me because it’s not about me. And it makes my Mum happy when she hears it. It’s quite chill, people love that tune as well. It’s been nice to play that live because we’ve played festivals but obviously, you don’t get that close to the crowds, but in Leeds and Manchester, people were just crying. There was this one group of girls and one girl was crying the most and the rest were all crying around her, so it must have been her breakup song or something. But aye, I can’t really choose. That was a really long answer (Laughing).

(Laughing) Not at all, the long answers are nice to hear. So, what’s coming up next from you?

What’s coming next… A bigger project. I can’t really say at the moment, but you can imagine what a bigger project would be. Aye, just bigger tunes, better songs. The songs are better, they’re faster and just better (laughing) hopefully. I don’t know.

(Laughing) I get it, you have to remain tight-lipped about these things.

(Laughing) Ah, I know, cos I will chat shit about everything. Sometimes if I drop something in an interview, I look and my manager’s like “you can’t say that!”. But aye, hopefully just more songs and better songs. Songs you can dance to. And a bigger tour next year.

Yeah, that’ll be good. Is there anything you’d like to add for people that are reading this interview?

Just that I love Newcastle. I feel like it’s very nice. There’s nothing I’d add about myself. I feel like Glasgow has a bit of an affinity with Newcastle. Aye, I just love Newcastle. I love the people and I love the accent as well. I feel like I could live here as well, so you might see me stalking about the streets in Newcastle next year.

Brilliant. Well, I think we’ll wrap it up there. Thanks so much for talking to me!

Thanks for talking to me, bro. You’re a legend.

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AUTHOR: Lewis Webster
I'm a 22 year-old final year student, currently studying English Literature with Creative Writing. Particularly interested in gaming, TV, music and film.

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