Huw Joseph Q & A
By Crimson Cookie
CC: It’s fantastic that you had the support of your friends to start your career as a rock comedy singer/songwriter. Did you ever have doubts about your work and where it could take you?
HJ: At the start I didn’t really have doubts because it was all just fun and having a laugh, even when things started moving along with the first video clip and gigs and so forth. It's when you make that committed decision that you want to do something as a career that's when the doubts creep in. I've learnt over the past 2 years that the doubts are still there but you just get a bit better at taming them. At the end of the day, its cliché, but you're the only know that really knows why you're doing something so stand by that and go for it I say regardless of what negative feedback you get. I've been lucky with some close friends as my support network that still support me today. Shit, I'm gonna cry... that was deep.
CC: You have achieved a great deal in three years, does it seem like forever since you wrote your first lyrics?
Oh thank you! No it doesn't really feel like forever, because I haven't actually released anything yet, I've just been busy building the foundations so it still all feels fresh to me. Even the first songs I wrote still make me giggle (even I find them ridiculous) if I haven’t played them for a while. I guess it has been a while though. When we where just on a tour recently someone asked me before the show if we could play a song called Love Punched and I really struggled to remember how it went, so I guess it probably has been a while! Whoops.
CC: What are your shows and the crowds like in Europe compare to Australia?
The gigs over there where surprisingly similar to shows here. I really had no idea what to expect and was pretty bloody nervous when I went over last year, but people generally responded the same. Most of them got the jokes in the songs and enjoyed it and then other people (up-tight people generally hehehe) got upset that somebody said f_ _ _ in a song. Oh well you can't please everyone, and in all fairness I do swear a bit, hmmm oh well f_ _ _ em! Actually I have song about the drug ice and how the only positive thing about smoking ice is there's only 2 sleeps until Xmas - sorry Ben Cousins:( - and apparently over there it's called crystal meth not ice so I had to quickly change the chorus to 'The only good thing about crystal meth, is there's only 2 sleeps till x-mas'. Worked a treat!
CC: What is it like having your own radio show ‘Afternoon Delight’ and have fans requested to hear your music?
The radio has been really really rad! It came about sooooo quickly, literally I was having a coffee my friend who said "A couple of us have been chatting and we think you should get into radio" so he gave me a mutual friends number who had a radio show. The guy got me on for an interview 2 days later, then the following week asked me to fill in for his show, the week after that the station manager asked me to fill in for someone else, the week after that he gave a late weds night slot, 5 weeks later he put me on prime Sat lunchtime slot. It has been a blast and we've had some really big name Aus acts in and had them perform live. I LOVE DOING RADIO!! People have asked to hear my stuff and I feel a bit creepy to play it, but oh well it's just music and it is a radio station after all.
CC: How does it feel being referred to as ‘Comedy Rock Extraordinaire’?
It's interesting. I don't claim to be a stand up comic but all my songs have comical lyrics and are generally written with a pop rock approach so I guess whatever works. I guess it's good in the sense that people will know straight off the bat that they are about to hear something very different. At the start I used to just get up and play songs with a bit of banter in between, then I started implementing more of a stage show with the band with all sorts of sketches and surprises, really trying to make the show exciting and engaging rather than just banging out a set list. These Melbourne Fringe gigs will be my first attempt at putting on a stage show all by myself. I have surprises!!
CC: Have you hade negative feedback or responses due to the genre of your music? If so, how do you deal with it?
HJ: Oh lordy yes!! Many times, I've even had a couple come up to me arguing because one person loved my show and the other hated it. They somehow incorporated me into their conversation and I resolved it for them. I ended up saying (with a hand on each shoulder of course) "Hey it's cool, you're both entitled to your own opinion, to be honest I don't give a shit if you didn’t like it but your boyfriend here did so just let him enjoy it. I'm sure he hates your Avril Lavigne records but he doesn’t write her mean letters does he." Then they asked me to play at their wedding, which is when I realised how smashed they where. Hey, it was at Revolver Band room after all. Basically you can't please everyone, and a lot of my lyrics are confronting to say the least so I totally understand if it's too much for some people, I don't get upset.
CC: Where did the signature accessories stem from?
HJ: Well I love Nikes, so always gotta rock a fresh pair of AF1's or similar, and I don't have many opportunity's to wear suits so I thought for the stage shows - Fresh Nikes, Pierucci suits and throw in a top hat for good measure. Plus I get the odd pair of free sunglasses from Electric so I rock those when it's not nighttime. I wanted the image to be consistent and this attire is something I enjoy donning for shows, so it stuck!
CC: Does it ever surprise you how fast things have happened for you and how far you’ve come?
HJ: Well because I'm in the middle of the day-to-day process of it all it actually feels like it hasn't moved that quick. I haven’t really looked back over everything so it's hard to say. I guess I feel like there is still so much I want to achieve and in that sense, it feels like its moved pretty slowly but I suppose things have always been moving forward it hasn't really felt stagnant. I just get so keen to do things and at times I've taken on more than I can handle so these days it's a process of picking and choosing more carefully what to do and what not do. As soon as I snap at my girlfriend about something stupid and she gives me that smile with the death eyes that scares the shit out of me, I know that I'm stressed and it's time to buy her flowers, deeply apologise and take things back a notch. Stressy Huey equals pissing everyone off:( .
CC: What is your favourite song, which you have written and why?
HJ: My favourite is probably 'Coming Down'. It's the quintessential calling in sick to work song after a big night out. The chorus goes 'Call up my boss and say, get f_ _ _ed I ain’t going to work today!' It's also pretty cutesy and refers to staying in bed with someone you find hot rather than going to work. Perfect really. I've had a lot of good feed back about that song from guys and girls.
Huw Joseph performs at Red Bennies on Saturday 25th September and Sunday 26th September as part of Melbourne Fringe Festival. Click for more event info.