Print Edition: January 11, 2012
Josh Hyslop, a local musician from this corner of the Valley, took time away from mixing in the studio to answer a few questions about his musical aspirations, style and favourite music-based film with The Cascade.
I started playing music when I was about 15-years-old. My family and I moved to Scotland and I was having some trouble fitting in at school. My dad taught me C, G, and D and I was hooked. From then on I played every day as much as I could and learned mostly by ear and by jamming with friends.
What instruments do you play?
I play guitar, banjo, mandolin and piano, but I’m self-taught in each of those so how good I am at any of those instruments is debatable. I had piano lessons when I was about 9, but only for a year. My teacher encouraged me to learn by ear. Maybe because she believed in me, or maybe because she didn’t want to teach me anymore. I guess we’ll never know.
How would you describe your style?
I’m always hesitant to attach a label to my music as far as genres go. I’ve been called alt-country, folk-pop and singer-songwriter. I think it’s somewhere in between folk-pop and singer-songwriter, but I don’t really care. Plus, it’ll probably change as I get older and continue to explore different styles.
What’s your main motivation for writing songs?
My songs are very honest reflections of things that I think or have gone through. I journal a lot and so most of my songs come from there, or from other people’s stories and experiences. As long as I feel like I have a unique perspective on something, I feel inspired to write.
Do you perform live often?
Not as often as I’d like. I have a few tours coming up. One in March with a friend of mine named Zaac Pick who is an incredibly talented local musician and another in May after the release of my full length album.
Of the two (performing and recording), which do you prefer and why?
Before this year, I probably would have said recording, only because I get really nervous before a show. But so far this past year I’ve recorded my EP, Cold Wind, as well as my first full length album and several B-sides. I’m definitely looking forward to getting out of the studio and playing some shows soon!
Are you working on any current projects right now?
I’ve kind of answered this already, but oh well. Yes! I’ve just finished my first full length album and now we’re working on album art as well as some music video ideas. Things are moving along nicely, I think this year is going to be pretty busy, which is great.
Have you done any collaborations with other musicians/bands?
Not officially. I’d really love to. The few times that it’s been a possibility it hasn’t lined up schedule-wise. But I’m definitely open to it.
If you could work with one musician, who would they be? Why?
That’s a hard question. I think, either M. Ward or Kanye West. M. Ward because we have somewhat similar styles, I love his voice and how creative he is with his melodies and I think he’d have some great advice for me. Kanye because he has an incredible work ethic and his style is absolutely nothing like mine. Plus then I could tell people I know Kanye West. I think that could really take me places.
Who have you been listening to lately?
Josh Ritter, Ray Lamontagne, Radiohead, Angus and Julia Stone, Bon Iver, The Civil Wars and many others.
Do you have a favourite music-based film? If so, why that one?
I hope it’s not considered emo or hipster, but I really love the movie Once. I’ve been a big fan of The Frames for a long time. I love Glen Hansard’s passion in his singing and Marketa Irglova has such a beautiful voice. It’s just such a nice story set to such beautiful music. It’s really good. If you’re at HMV or on iTunes, after you’ve bought my CD, I highly recommend buying Once.
What are your future plans as a musician and artist?
I don’t want to get pinned down by a label or genre or by other people’s expectations. I don’t want to put out music just for the sake of putting out music. I want to believe in what I’m doing and saying and hopefully I’ll get to do this for many years to come.