Joseph‘s new album Good Luck Kid, came out via ATO Records last month and they’re set to play a run of UK dates this week.
With their intimate storytelling and restless intensity, this sibling trio from Portland journey in songs that careen and sprawl and often soar, ultimately spinning a narrative of life-changing transformation.
Their brand of impactful widescreen music ripples with powerful harmonies, layered instrumentation and infectious choruses they’ve been likened to Maggie Rogers, Lucius, and Haim. The gut punch of recent single ‘Fighter’ proves the power of sisterly connection, while also speaking to a nearly disastrous discord.
We caught up with Natalie Schepman of Joseph to get to know them a little better.
Hi, how are you today?
Hi! Today I am tired but happy on our way to the next show on this tour!
What was the first song you ever wrote?
I wrote songs (bad ones) for many years leading up to Joseph but the first song we wrote together was called High Society.
What was it like?
It was two chords, Em and Am and it was a dusty, jangly sort of tune with lots of crescendos. The song was a warning to someone who wants to move forward in their career but is surrounded by slimy people making false promises. “(They’ll) try their smile on you / Use a line or two / So you’ll look away / You’re a step in their tall staircase”
What was the first thing you released?
We released an album called Nouns under a different band name but our first Joseph release was our album Native Dreamer Kin.
What’s the music scene like back home?
We really got our start in Seattle where we all went to college and though I can’t speak to it now, at the time (2013ish?) the music community was very supportive of each other. The Fremont Abbey’s Songwriters In The Round was somewhere we met lots of other bands who would end up inviting us onto their bills. Seattle Secret Shows was a hub as well. Musicians came out to each other’s shows and it was a very all-for-one-one-for-all mentality.
How would you describe your music in five words?
Honest, Dynamic, Vulnerable, Inviting, Present.
Which artists do you admire?
Lizzo, Christine and the Queens, Feist, Lady Gaga, Kacey Musgraves, Lianne La Havas, Sia, Mike Viola, Sharon Van Etten , Penny and Sparrow, Lucius, Big Thief, just a handful off the top of my head!
What would be your dream collaboration?
Any of the artists mentioned above! I think it would be really fun to guest vocal on something dancey.
What are your views on sexism in the music industry?
Like any industry, it’s soaked in ages of male-as-default thinking and of course there are many very measurable ways that the industry is still stuck, like women not getting played on Country and Alternative radio or the grumpy sound guy who needs to patronizingly explain how to plug in your guitar etc. But speaking to the industry at large from my very personal vantage point isn’t as helpful as telling you that we’ve had an amazing experience. We have felt welcomed, championed, supported, and respected by our team and radio and audiences so while I can’t speak to the industry at large, I can say I know a lot of actual humans who care a lot about putting a megaphone to female voices and I see a lot of powerful women making their way in music. I see a lot of heart and effort and consideration being put into this exact issue and I love being a musician in 2019 because of that.
Can you tell us about your new album Good Luck Kid’?
We love this album! We sequenced the songs in a narrative arc of hoping for something, being let down by it, then walking away from it into freedom. Each of the three of us had to face daunting odds in different ways the last few years and the songs tell those stories. There are driving metaphors throughout and ultimately, the album is about getting into the driver’s seat of your life.
What’s the best band you have played with so far?
There isn’t a best. We have had so many mind-blowing experiences opening for incredible musicians such as James Bay, Amos Lee, Michael Kiwanuka, Penny and Sparrow, Dawes, Dave Matthews, etc but we’ve also had some of our favorite artists as openers for us as well like Becca Mancari, Corey Kilgannon, Bailen, and more recently my current favorite band Deep Sea Diver. I absolutely love getting to play live music but getting to WATCH live music every night nourishes me!
Are you looking forward to your UK shows this autumn/winter?
ALWAYS! We adore the UK. Maybe it’s the English breakfast (roasted tomatoes, yum!), maybe it’s similar weather to home (bring on the cozy grey!), maybe it’s the combo of Harry Potter and Love Actually and meat pies and potatoes and Benedict Cumberbatch and Adele and country inns on tiny roads and fresh bread and cheese from Borough Market or maybe it’s all the British friends we’ve made. I don’t know, we just love it. 🙂
Monday 11th November – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham
Tuesday 12th November – Bush Hall, London
Wednesday 13th November – Night People, Manchester
Thursday 14th November – Broadcast, Glasgow