Joe Hicks - Debut Feature Interview
When I first started Sonically Awkward, the goal was to bring you, the reader, directly into the middle of the new music scene, helping you find new bands, artists, and songs that you can share with your friends. Never did I envision being able to interview the new artists that I admire so much, but Joe Hicks, the holder of the 8th Song of the Week, was kind enough to give me my first taste at an interview.
Joe Hicks is a UK artist from Newbury, Berkshire, which is about 40 miles outside of London. When we did chat, it came less than 24 hours after the attacks in London, and I can say with great thankfulness that Joe and his immediate family were not in any way affected. Joe has spent a little over a year in the US, studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston, as well as having traveled to Nashville, LA, and San Francisco.
Joe is a 26 year old brand new artist, having just two songs out at the time of the interview; 'Best Clothes', and 'Something in the Water'. When you first play his music, you're going to feel a sense of familiarity, but with a sprinkle of Joe's own touch. When asked about inspirations in his music, Joe referenced John Mayer, Prince, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, among others. Mayer's influence is evident via the guitar Joe plays on his songs - which is absolutely fantastic. When I asked about the resemblance of Joe's music to that of John Mayer's, he said; "For a long time I was scared of making music that was just a carbon copy of him - because of my love for his music, and how much he has influenced me as an artist - from guitar to singing. I got to a point where I realized there was no way it would sound exactly the same, as I am my own artist - the influence is undeniable, but at the same time I aim to make unique and genuine music, from my own perspective and experiences."
Joe was raised in what you may view as a 'typical' UK style in terms of music. His parents played tons of The Beatles, BB King, Clapton, and Bowie, all of which clearly had a positive impact on Joe's ear for sonic melodies and guitar. Some of the bands he currently enjoys and admire include; Jamie Woon, James Blake, the 1975, and Paul Simon.
I asked Joe later on in the interview if he had ever played his new music live - to which he answered no. But, let's specify - he has been playing gigs since he was 14 years old, but as of yet, he has not had a chance to play this new music to a crowd - I believe that will change this summer.
I asked him about his plans for the immediate future; "I'm about to put out a live music video of 'Best Clothes' on Monday (3/27/17), along with a brand new EP titled 'Best Clothes - EP' - featuring 3 new tracks, 2 being alternate versions of 'Best Clothes.' I really love that song, and wanted to focus my first project around it. The plan is to release a string of EP's throughout 2017." We discussed the excitement surrounding this release, and how it will hopefully lead to live performance opportunities, specifically thanks to the cool live videos he's been shooting (you can view the first below).
When we were wrapping up, Joe had very nice words about Sonically Awkward; "I think the world needs a lot more of you. Especially for up and coming artists. It can be quite hard to get a foothold in the scene and get people to listen. You're passionate about music and finding it and getting it out to the people, and that can only be a good thing. You're onto something cool Hans, I can sense it already." I can not thank you enough for the kind words, Joe.
For those interested, you can find the entire interview transcribed at the end of the post, as well as Joe's brand new music video for 'Best Clothes', and his new EP! Lots of great stuff here.
I want to thank Joe again for the time and patience dealing with me over the phone, as our discussion ranged everywhere from Portland's coffee, to the 'Portland Sway' at concerts, to my offer of hosting home in Portland once he does make it this way. I for one can't wait to see where Joe goes from here, and will be rooting him on the entire time. Cheers.