‘Altro’ enters Joshua’s lexicon

2015-08-04 06:00
Joshua Grierson is offering fans a new perspective with FOLLOWER.  



Joshua Grierson is offering fans a new perspective with FOLLOWER. PHOTO: LESCA LEA

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His fans know him simply as Joshua Grierson, but the Brackenfell singer and songwriter has been cooking up something different with his new project, FOLLOWER.

Joshua had been writing a number of songs using a loop pedal and, known for his melancholic storytelling, decided he wanted to do something else with his music.

“I wanted to make music that makes people dance,” and so, FOLLOWER was born.

Joshua, who has been a part of the local music industry for the last 15 years, has experimented with almost every genre under the sun, but dance is new territory for him.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the ethos and everything behind it,” says Joshua. His brand of dance or electronic music is, as he says “still typically Josh”. The music is a hybrid of recent Thom Yorke solo music, mixed with a bit of Portishead and elements of Florence and the Machine, coupled with Joshua’s introspective, thought-provoking lyrics. He’s dubbed his new sound as alternative/electro or altro for short.

“This journey has been interesting for me, because I didn’t know if I could pull it off.”

Rocking the DaisiesJoshua confesses to not being able to use music production software, so he decided to employ a DJ/producer to help him create the sounds in his head. Enter Nicolaas van Reenen from Bateleur and Fever Trails.

While enthusiastic about the project, Nicolaas is too busy to join Joshua on stage, so the second member of FOLLOWER is Gean Burrel. They’ve already been booked to play the Van’s campsite stage at Rocking the Daisies this year.

Besides wanting to make people dance, Joshua also aimed to create something entirely different so that it could be possible to live and work in Europe where the vocal electronic movement is growing. He says he’s been feeling slightly stifled in the current South African cultural climate and is looking for a place to spread his wings.

Essentially though, Joshua created FOLLOWER to give his listeners a distinctive sound in which to immerse themselves: “A richer-bodied experience.”

Joshua’s plan for the next few months is to release singles, get them on radio, release music videos and ultimately release a body of FOLLOWER work sometime in September.

Ideally, he wants to eventually turn FOLLOWER into at least a quartet with a small choir of four or five people behind him.

“I really want to make this exceptionally beautiful in terms of live sound.”

Some fans may have seen Joshua promoting a “farewell tour” at the end of last year. Despondent with the local industry, he decided to stop performing under his own name.

It’s not the first time Joshua has been on stage under another name though. He performed as Emo Kid Josh when he was a teen. He also performed as Mercurial for a short time.

“I killed myself off, in musical terms, but I realised that I can’t live without singing melancholic songs about weird characters.”

Joshua says he needed to resurrect himself and fans can look forward to a new Joshua Grierson album when he releases Strange heart: A suburban short story, also in September. The album contains six previously recorded songs produced by Dan Roberts that Joshua hasn’t been able to release until now.

On stage When he isn’t performing under his own name, as FOLLOWER or as Joshua and the Trouble, Joshua is also a part of BIG EXIT, his rock band. Their single, “Prize fighter”, is available on Soundcloud. His other project is Field of giants, which he describes as instrumental, post-rock experimental music.

FOLLOWER will be on stage at the House of Machines in the city centre tomorrow and Joshua will be on stage there every Wednesday in August. He’ll also be at Alexander Bar on Friday. V

Visit the Facebook pages for Joshua’s various projects for more information. His music is also available on Soundcloud and YouTube.

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