Allow me introduce the person who was able to bring trippin’ the rift back to life – Josh Furey. His new album Petals is coming out this Friday, and trippin’ the rift grabbed a few minutes of of his busy pre-release schedule to talk about him and his music.
tipkin – Hi Josh! Since this is your first interview with trippin’ the rift, do you want to introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about how you got into music? What inspires you, what makes your music sound the way it does?
Josh Furey – Sure, my name is Josh Furey and I am a producer based out of Calgary, Canada. I just finished my sophomoric album called Petals and will be releasing it December 13th on Nocturne Records. Oh yeah, I also run a small indie label called Nocturne Records.
I started out emceeing and producing music with two friends, one of which, Halfcut, is now signed to Nocturne. I was always more drawn to production than emceeing but I started getting heavily into the compositional aspect when I heard guys like RJD2, Nightmares on Wax, DJ KRUSH, and DJ Shadow. They really changed my perception of what could be achieved with instrumental music.
In terms of inspiration I am always listening to early electronica, trip-hop and golden era hip-hop. I have also started to listen to a lot of ambient music in the past couple of years from guys like 36, Marsen Jules, and Biosphere. The minimalism and subtle use of samples and synthetic instruments is something I love to hear.
When you are talking about sample based music of course the people you sample are a big part of the sound. More so when you know what you want and are looking to get a very specific feeling from the sample. It really has to be something that either encompasses the feeling or can be used to build toward it so I can’t help but be influenced by the samples I choose.
I am also a big fan of minimalism when it comes to any type instrumental music. The reason I love a lot of early 90’s hip-hop is due to the fact that it’s so simple in its brilliance, so with that in mind I always try to find a balance between keeping it simple but interesting for the listener.
t. – It’s been four years since Archaeology came out. Did you start working on Petals right away or did you need a break from all the work that went into the first release? It’s not easy to follow up such great release. Did you feel any extra pressure from fans (like me) anticipating another masterpiece?
J.F. – If you are just going by material with my name in bold on the cover then it has been roughly four to five years since a release, but I have been working on various projects the entire time a lot of which helped me develop my sound so I could create the new album.
Almost immediately after the release of Archaeology I started buying any second hand instrument I could get my hands on which lead me to work on the Pawn Shop album. After that I worked with Canadian poet Ian Keteku producing his debut release. That was a great experience since it was a lot of percussion free and ambient production. I also became very interested in sound design for film, you can find various short films and video projects I worked on strewn about the internet if you really try.
Meanwhile while all of that was going on I was running the label and helping out with releases and promotion. I did create a good deal of solo material during those four years some of which I send out to people who pay for Archaeology, some of which made it onto the album and some of which will never see the light of day.
I really don’t look at Petals as following up Archaeology. Too much has changed including myself and the development of my music. They are two totally different experiences from my point of view. I did feel a bit of pressure but it was mostly from myself, I wanted it to be exactly right so I really spent a lot of time on each track and each element within the track until I got what I wanted. It lead to less music being made but I think it is some of my best material yet.
I did get people telling me they were waiting on the album but instead of feeling pressure from that it more so made me feel like working on the album was a worthwhile endeavor, not just for my own self-indulgent reasons.
t. – While definitely not different in quality (I’ve listened to the release and it’s great stuff), Petals seems like a departure in mood. The melancholy is still there but I feel like it is of a lighter nature compared to Archaeology. Am I totally off here? What other similarities and differences may fans expect?
J.F. – Personally I like to think there is a broad range of feelings expressed in the music from darker to lighter. It is really interesting to hear peoples take on how the music has changed and the feeling of the new stuff. I think I am too close to it to see or hear the overall tone. Since it is literally representing me, I can hear the flaws and imperfections but the overall tone escapes me for the most part.
Obviously I have developed my style a bit since Archaeology. With that release I was really experimenting and trying to find my own sound, where as with this album I really knew what I wanted and focused on getting that out of the music.
There is also the aspect of live instrumentation. The first album had a couple of tracks where I played keyboard and bass but this album has live instruments on every track so you will hear a lot more of me playing bass, guitar, keys and even zither. One thing that remains the same however, is my love for samples. Although, I will say it becomes much harder to find the right sample when you know exactly what you want. There is a lot of layering five to ten samples just to get one sound which is the beauty and the drawback of sample based music. Don’t let anyone tell you sampling is easy or a cop out, because that is utter bullshit.
t. – Speaking of moods – are you trying to create a certain mood with your music, or rather describe a mood/feeling/emotion?
J.F. – I try to keep in mind that music is subjective in terms of mood and emotion but yeah, generally I set out to create a feeling with my music. A track will start out with a certain mood but as I spend time adding elements and making it my own the music it often changes to reflect any number of things or combine certain emotions and feelings within the same song. A lot of the darker sample based stuff I listen to like Portishead or Amon Tobin isn’t so much portraying a certain emotion as it is the idea of a certain time or feeling. With that in mind I try to create music that emotes but is open to interpretation. What you hear is truly subjective. What sounds more upbeat and positive to you can sound sad and melancholic to me.
t. – Just out of curiosity – how big is your record collection?
J.F. – I have actually slimmed my collection down to about 150 of my favorite records over the past couple of years. When I moved back to Calgary from BC I got rid of a ton of stuff that I just wasn’t listening to and was taking up space.
It also fluctuates while I am working on an album. I spend a lot of time in dollar bins and various record shops if I am looking for ideas to start or add onto a track so I can rack up 20-30 records in a day or two but they usually don’t stick around for long. I generally return them to second hand stores unless I find something that I really like or want to keep around for sampling.
t. – How can people get a hold of Petals?
J.F. – Petals will be out this Friday (December 13th) on Nocturne Records. You can head over to my bandcamp to buy a digital copy. I am also getting a limited run of CD’s and about 200 records pressed for this album. The vinyl is really special because I created a separate piece of artwork for the cover. I wanted something that would not only play on a turntable but be would look great in a frame or on display.
For those of you that enjoyed Archaeology, if you are one of the first to purchase Petals on vinyl you will receive a limited edition cassette (yes tape) of Archaeology as well. Hope you enjoy the music!
Vinyl! Tapes! Somebody give this to me for Christmas! Seriously though, this would make a killer present for a music lover in your life. If you are not convinced, check out this video preview for the album. My review will follow shortly (but those precious vinyls may be gone by then).