Focus: Joseph Brown | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Who are you and where are you from?
I am an ex-folk and punk musician making DIY pop – originally from Wiltshire but now more than at home in Newcastle

What is it you do?
I make shaky pop structures out of stuff I have lying around but I also make videos, draw zines and cartoons, take myself on photography adventures, solder awful circuits together, investigate soundscapes and sound art, and fiddle with code when I have a spare minute

How long have you been doing it?
I think I’ve always been a musician but I’ve only really got a grasp on it in the last few years!  I’ve figured out a routine and a style recently that combines most of the stuff I’m interested in but also leaves space for me to improvise

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by all sorts which can get really diverting!  I read a lot and that leads me down strange paths – just been finding out about Very Low Frequency waves and recording lightning and such which was a rabbit hole and a half – but spaces and memories of special environments (my parent’s garden, the woods near my grandma’s house, newcastle’s various underused car parks, attic rooms, the vast amount of Neolithic monuments around Salisbury) always spin out wonderful thoughts.  I find these places just get my mind racing with ideas.  Really though, its my amazing and fabulously queer friends and artists who do such wonderful stuff and are graceful enough to share that with me

Tell us about your music.
I oscillate between writing straight up songs (hangover from the folk songwriting days) and embarking on overly complex electronics and code projects! My masters final project was a musical website that you could get lost in and discover musical objects and mysteries ( but right now I’m in the songwriting space – just sitting down with a weirdly tuned guitar.  I enjoy doing multimedia stuff as well: making zines to go alongside music projects or trying to write stories and memories down with photographs.  I’m a free improviser at heart so that’s usually my starting point and then I let whatever is happening to me spin me off somewhere else.  There’s usually a folk/traditional aspect but also noise and improv and sampling/cutup ideas from hip hop which is another of my passions.

What have you got coming up in the future?
Coming up I have a jangly pop album with a possibly fictional band, an electronic folk and spoken word album centred on queer transformation and palaeontology, a live electronics and gadgets act with the definitely fictional New Keys (authors of the musical website), and some bad zines about politics and anger

Where can people find out more about you?
I try and keep everything I do all together in one place.  At the moment that “one” place is my website which documents what I do but also tries to be something interesting itself.  My website installation can be found at  for you to lose yourself in.  If that’s too intense then Instagram is the place to be. Currently all my videos are on YouTube.

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