INTERVIEW: Jjoseph brownn | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image by Maria Ferrie

When it comes to expression and self-expression, the choice of which creative medium to use can be a difficult one for artists. Whereas pre-internet this choice was limited by resource, ability and access, our digital age has provided so many potential creative tools for an artist to use that often we are influenced by the paradox of choice; there are so many options and tools to choose from that projects may stall at the idea generation stage as we get overwhelmed by possibilities. 

Trying not to restrict his art into one form, but also placing self-imposed boundaries on his work to ensure an end result, innovative Newcastle artist jjoseph brownn is taking a multi-media, multi-disciplined, approach to his new album, Chalk Flint Remains, and supporting his new music with various audio visuals in the form of an interactive web zine which the viewer can explore as a 3D landscape

Yeah, it was quiet a project!” Laughs brownn. “At one point there were so many different ideas that it was hard to keep up with the project and not let it get so broad that it could never be finished.” Using time as the key boundary for the project – “I had a chunk of time in between university and starting a new project and those drop-dead dates helped with my focus and clarity about how to end the project” – brownn chose to focus on the music first and then surround it with visuals exploring themes of home, metamorphosis, distance and friendship.  

At one point there were so many different ideas that it was hard to keep up with the project and not let it get so broad that it could never be finished

I think coming from a punk background really helped with the whole project,” confirms brownn, when asked about the challenge of the multi-layered release. “What I take from punk is the DIY ethic of doing things for yourself and pushing yourself into new places even if you’ve never worked in that space before. In some ways, exploring new music can be limiting and frustrating, but in other ways it means you don’t play around with too much gear or have too many ideas, which helped me.”  

Full of the type of ambient, beautiful electronic compositions made popular by the likes of Brian Eno and The Grid, Chalk Flint Remains would be a stunning listen by itself, though the layering of media adds a beautiful depth in contextualising and staging of the piece. brownn would rather not be drawn on the boundaries of the complete work, rather letting the viewer/listener decide their individual favourite interaction style. “I don’t mind if people listen to the record by itself, or if they view the content at the same time, and in a way both parts of the project can be separate or brought together; the project works on both terms. It seems most common for people to listen to the album first, and then to watch the content afterwards, which offers further context behind the material.”  

Layering images and text over, under and around the album seems an interesting way to bring out the core themes of Chalk Flint Remains. “I guess the album is about the idea of home and the visuals are some of my dreams and childhood memories, so in a way it becomes autobiographical if you piece the two parts together,” brownn comments, although he’s emphatic that the decisions about the art remain with the audience.

jjoseph brownn releases Chalk Flint Remains via The Luman Lake on 16th May.


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