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

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From my experiences of recording music, I always got the impression that producers were musicians who put their love of music into a job, spending years listening to other people’s music to a painstakingly intricate level over and over again until the thing they cared so deeply about lost all meaning and magic and became another job.

I carried this misconception for most of my adult life until I heard Beautiful Weird, the debut album from musician, instrumentalist and producer Josh Ingledew. His journey from musician to man behind the desk was a way of being able to realise his creative vision fully, and his collaborative approach has helped other artists express themselves as well as improve his songcraft.

I saw the studio as a way to realise that and take my ideas further. I got a bit obsessed with making it sound good, and in turn, I developed some engineering and production skills which I’d then use to help other artists.” He goes on to add, “I have picked up so much over the years producing for other artists, not only interesting musical ideas but how they craft and present their music. I’ve witnessed some of the most wonderful happy accidents, as well as sessions that are really carefully executed.”

I wanted the album to feel like the end of a chapter for me, but in hindsight, it feels more like the start of a new one

Josh is clearly someone who cares deeply for his craft and this, alongside a surprising (for a cynic like me) sense of child-like wonder, emanates throughout his album. Every note seems lovingly played, every structural component carefully curated and every song awash with boundless playful experimentation. Jazz, classical and pop are thrown into the mix and effortlessly blended, and influences such as Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens and Elliott Smith are nodded at and then adorned in crayon-like colour and melodic textures. It’s a wholesome listen that is cinematically evocative and thematically reflective, as Josh explains: “It centres around growth and decay, the passing of the seasons and how we mirror that as people. The penultimate track Seasons opens with a musical motif which appears in every track as an Easter egg that ties everything together.” He adds, “I am hugely inspired by film soundtracks, Danny Elfman’s score for Edward Scissorhands is a good example. When I first started playing piano, people would tell me I should write music for films, which at first I found frustrating because I was trying to write songs, but it’s become a part of my sound.”

The album was written, recorded and produced over a four-year period. I ask Josh if this patient approach was driven by perfectionism, the need to experiment or simply a case of fitting it into a busy life.

It was a blend of all of those things, with perfectionism steering the ship. When I started making it, I was still learning the ropes really, and I failed a lot. There were times I gave up on it for months. I wanted to re-record stuff all of the time and there was a constant urge to make it sound better. In a weird subconscious way, I knew I was making an album about growth and I felt like I had to grow as an artist, engineer and producer before it would sound how I wanted, and that kind of growth takes time. I wanted the album to feel like the end of a chapter for me, but in hindsight, it feels more like the start of a new one.”

Josh Ingledew releases Beautiful Weird on 5th April.

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