Here's my interview with music producer Josh Wilson
How'd you get started in music?
7 years old, new primary school, late 80's. My parents wanted me to learn an instrument, and I wanted to play the guitar, but my parents said I should learn the piano and that would give me the foundation to play other instruments. It was a new school I had started at, they wanted to form a school brass and woodwind band. They did this school-wide music test, I was about 8 by then, I scored 112. So my mum took me to a music shop in Sydney, and there was this large room full of orchestral instruments, she said "You can learn to play any instrument in this room..." I looked around and found the most uncomplicated instrument I could find, I chose the trombone. In high school, at a different school, I joined their orchestra with the trombone. In the first year, the orchestra travelled to Japan for 2 weeks as part of a sister city program. During my high school years, I taught myself guitar from tablature. I started to write music around 16years old. In the late 90s, Instead of completing my HSC, I traded grade 12 for a year studying an advanced certificate in audio technology at the Australian Institute of Music. I did really well in a class called digital technology, which was electronic music production, writing and producing music using a computer and a music keyboard. When I had finished, I went on to complete a couple of short DJ courses. I started to produce music at 18years old on a digital 4track. Nothing spectacular, but as I got more complicated, I did end up getting little spots of airplay and recognition on national radio over the first couple of years of the naughts.
Who are your inspirations or influences?
I have a huge, wide taste in music. As a kid, I was influenced by music that I'd dig out of my parent's collection. Queen, Neil Young, Supertramp. I loved heaps of Pink Floyd. I was classically trained on piano and was given a 4 CD box of Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss, and Tchaikovsky. I loved some of Beethoven's piano pieces and Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture. At 11years old the girl next door got me into Guns N' Roses, I had to keep it a secret because my Christian parents didn't want me listening to all the swearing at that age. My uncle, a large family and he's the youngest, 4 years and one day older, got me into Nirvana and NWA one day. I learnt guitar from a lot of Nirvana's tab. My dad introduced me to triplej radio in my early teens, around the start of the yearly triplej hottest 100 countdowns, he had been listening to triplej from the beginning, and I still listen to triplej to this day. Through the 90's I listened to a lot of alternative music, indie music, and a lot of Australian bands, I saw the rise of Spiderbait, Grinspoon, Regurgitator, and Powderfinger. One of My fave eras of music that influenced me a lot was 1998 to 2002, with bands having their last say on the 90s and making their mark on the naughts. I knew of Nine Inch Nails, a really fave song of mine is March of The Pigs. I was listening to a 2 part interview with Trent Reznor (January 2000) about the production of The Fragile. I was intrigued by this interview, amazed by experimental recording methods and techniques and the 4 years it took to produce, I just had to have this album. I listened to it so much, in headphones, for about 3months, that really changed my taste in music and had me looking at things way past guitars and drums. Cousins in the late 90s gave me a listen of Ok Computer by Radiohead, but I didn't think much of it, it wasn't till Kid A and Amnesiac that I took notice. I never liked club music, I hated 4 on the floor. My taste for electronic music came around when Regurgitator crossed over from their grunge debut into their number one electronica album, I liked the big beat genre that came along with the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim. Things like Kid A and Unkle's Psyence Fiction showed that electronic music could be something more, I was always late to the party and Psyence Fiction was something I bought in the same purchase of Kid A. I loved what Aphex Twin was doing, and got heavily into Drukqs. I first got into hip-hop through EMINEM, I was outside a nightclub around the time The Marshall Mathers LP was released, there was this small car decked out, all the doors open and they were pumping this album at full ball down on the street, and I loved it, that was some crazy stuff. I ended up collecting a lot of EMINEM's music, and that got me into Outkast with the album Stankonia, and Kanye West with the album Late Registration. A house I used to hang out at during this time always had Dr. Dre's album 2001 playing, or the DVD up in smoke. This love of hip-hop got me into the Aussie scene, faves of mine, Hilltop Hoods, Bliss n Eso, Drapht, Horrorshow. I got into a lot of punk through the mid to late 90s, and was buying up a heap of record label samplers from Fat Wreck Chords, Epitaph Records, Fearless Records, Hopeless Records. One of the bands that made such a huge impact on me, the day I pressed play on the album Relationship of Command, At the Drive-In to this day is still my number one favourite band of all time, that album for me absolutely blew me away from the first day I heard it. In the same purchase, I got into Source Tags & Codes by ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail OF Dead, and I've gone on to collect a heap from both bands. These were my formative years.
What advice would you offer aspiring performers?
practice a lot, play a lot, and collaborate with others. I like what Dave Grohl said "When I think about kids watching a TV show like American Idol or The Voice, then they think, ‘Oh, OK, that’s how you become a musician, you stand in line for eight f*cking hours with 800 people at a convention centre and… then you sing your heart out for someone and then they tell you it’s not f*ckin’ good enough.’ Can you imagine?” he implores. “It’s destroying the next generation of musicians! ...Musicians should go to a yard sale and buy an old f*cking drum set and get in their garage and just suck. And get their friends to come in and they’ll suck, too. And then they’ll f*cking start playing and they’ll have the best time they’ve ever had in their lives and then all of a sudden they’ll become Nirvana. Because that’s exactly what happened with Nirvana. Just a bunch of guys that had some sh*tty old instruments and they got together and started playing some noisy-ass sh*t, and they became the biggest band in the world. That can happen again! You don’t need a f*cking computer or the internet or The Voice or American Idol.” ...It is a different world now though, and how you use the internet is important. But it's ok to suck, the more you play and practice and perform the better you get, and be yourselves, no one else can be the best version of yourselves. Let inspiration drive creativity.
How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?
I have always done my own thing, I've never used other people's music for the framework of what I am doing. I only started using software in 2019, I have always used hardware, multitrack digital recorders, and no midi. I want a sound, I pick up an instrument and play it. Limitations have always brought the best out of me. I've never tried to fit into any genre. Build as I write. I use a lot of FX. I edit a lot. I bounce a lot. Now I'm using software, and I can spread out a bit, a lot of stuff can now be done within the box, I still pick up an instrument and play it, and I try not to use too much quantise. What has always kept me in line is programming drums, and that side of things puts me into an electronic category.
Any new gigs or albums in the future
My project SPiNFiX has always been a studio project and has never been performed live. My spoken word album 'intangible brightness' was released in 2018. '8 Gritty Tracks from the 4 Track Years' was released in late 2020, along with '8 Faves From 21 Years'. I've been working on an instrumental collection called 'defined darkness', the first part was released in 2021 and there will be more down the track and plans to get heavier. 'Memorized, Covered, Vol. 1' was also dropped in 2021, and another volume to drop before too long. All this can be found on streaming services. There is a new track to be dropped within a week on SoundCloud and other pages, and when I have enough tracks this will lend itself to a new album before too long, check out 'the automation' released earlier.