MIMR Band Chat: Josh Phillips

We welcome to the blog, Manchester based singer-songwriter Josh Phillips and he’s gone on a very interesting journey as he prepares for his upcoming EP release.

I caught up with Josh to talk about influences, songwriting and festivals

MIMR: Great to have you on the blog, tell us about your journey as a artist so far and what this year has been like so far?

Josh: Great to be talking to you!

I’ve been playing guitar for about 8 years now, since I was about 12. I started trying to sing along with my guitar a couple of years later, then around 2015-ish I started to have a go at writing my own songs, and I started recording them a couple of years ago. I released my first EP in early 2018, and my new EP querida, soledad is out on July the 12th!

This year has been a mixed bag for me so far, to be honest. I spent a lot of early 2019 frustrated and doubting myself musically, and that really wasn’t a good time for me. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless when trying to do what you love. I managed to finish this EP in early spring this year, and that brought a lot of relief. I’ve spent the last few months in a really good place too. I have a group of really talented people around me that I really value and enjoy being with, people that I’ve known a while now and a lot of new people too. I’m also really loving this city (Manchester) right now, and I’m feeling inspired every day. I can’t wait to finish more new music and start playing some live shows!

MIMR: What are your main influences on your music?

Josh: Wow, that’s a tough one. In terms of my all-time heroes, I’d have to say Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan and Laura Marling. Oh, and The Beatles, can’t forget them.

I love Wilson for his use amazing of harmony and his constant innovation and Dylan for his genius lyricism and the way he wears his heart on his sleeve. Laura Marling is just brilliant, her evolution as an artist is incredibly inspiring to be honest. Listening to her music makes me feel like “the greats” aren’t something of the distant past, because on every album she has songs that stand up there with the best of them.

Of course, I could go on for ages talking about artists I love and all the reasons that I love them; The Smiths, Joni Mitchell, Tame Impala, Joan Baez, João Gilberto, Sleaford Mods, Neil Young…… I could go on for a while here…….

MIMR: Tell us about your recent single ‘I don’t Believe’, what’s it all about and is there a formula you follow with your songwriting in general or is it more free flowing and take it how it comes kind of attitude?

Josh: The song was a demo that I had, originally just the two chords going round and round. Then I added the riff and some extra guitar parts by just jamming an getting it all down. I usually work like that, sat at my computer with my keyboard, a guitar or bass, just seeing what works and what sounds awful. Later I came along and worked out the melody and the drums and bass, before writing and recording some lyrics. The song came before the words. Generally, unless I set out with a theme or idea in mind when writing the music, the lyrics will come later. I rewrote the lyrics to this song like 3 times too, although I want to get better at writing both music and lyrics at the same time.

The lyrics just reflect how I feel a lot nowadays. This overwhelming desire to leave this sad and scary culture we find ourselves in, the hopelessness, the gargantuan problems we have to solve. But even then, where could we go? As well, the title comes from something I notice about myself and my peers, the fact that we don’t believe in any of the myths that bound the generations before us, whether that be religious purpose, optimism for the future, class identity or investment in the paths set out for us. We don’t really want the things we’re supposed to want anymore, that ship has sailed. So yeah, pretty heavy stuff. I try not to do too many like that.

MIMR: We’re in the midst of festival season already, what would be your three headline acts you could pick for your dream festival line up?

Josh: Talk about hard questions!

If I had to pick 3 artists from the past, I’d love to see early Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Talking Heads, and of course The Smiths. That would be like some surreal dream come to life.

3 current artists? Tame Impala, Sleaford Mods and Fleet Foxes.

MIMR: Thanks Josh for chatting to MIMR, how can people follow you on social media and check out your music?

Josh: It’s been nice chatting to you!

Listen to my single I Don’t Believe and my upcoming EP querida, soledad on Spotify, Apple Music, Bandcamp, iTunes and all other reputable streaming services! Just search for it and it should be there. Querida, soledad out on July 12th!

You can follow me on Twitter (@joshuaj_p) and Instagram (@posh_jhillips).

you can pre-save the upcoming EP on spotify it here…

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