A newcomer, but welcomed jolt of energy to the Berlin scene, Joe James Boyle takes influence from all over the musical map. Originally from London, JJB will be bringing his garage-y interpretation of The Velvets to 8MM Bar on January 11th in the year of our Lord, 2018. If you want to test the hand of fate, enter one of our world-famous ticket raffles here.
Joe James Boyle, good to catch up with you. We’re big fans of your sound and excited that you’re calling Berlin home for the time being. What is it about Berlin that draws you in, that brought you here?
Well it all started after being at university for six months. I wasn’t feeling inspired by what I was studying and started reading a lot of books outside the course from writers who had lived and worked out on ‘the continent’. I rang my mother at the university office and said, ‘mother, I’ve decided to be move to Paris and be poet. I’ll be leaving after Christmas.’ No one was particularly happy about this decision. I changed my mind at the last minute and went to Berlin instead, I’m not really sure why, but I’m glad I did it. I wanted to move to a place where I would have to start everything completely from scratch.
We’re glad you landed on Berlin over Paris. Listening to your track ‘Berlin Undressing,’ you show a clear affinity for your new home. Any favorite spots or bizarre stories to share about the capital city?
Once upon a time I took the wrong medication for a migraine. This was around midnight. Soon my left eye starting swelling up till it was the size of a golf ball. Then I’m on the S-bahn heading to a late night apotheke at Hauptbahnhof, listening to an old lady opposite tell me how ‘there’s a new war coming, you should leave this city’, whilst the other passengers look at my swollen eye with evident curiosity. A real scene of paranoia for me. By the time I get to the apotheke my eye’s fine and then when I get home again the other eye swells up. You look in the mirror and say, ‘why am I here again?’ But maybe it’s not the city, maybe it’s me and my silliness.
This city can absolutely give you the feeling that you’re Gregor Samsa. Your tracks that are up on Soundcloud are all stylistically pretty different but work together well as a whole. You can see a clear evolution from your earlier, more Dylanesque recordings, to the more recent, fuzzed out tracks. Where do you take inspiration from? Where do you see your sound going next?
I guess this year I took particular inspiration for my guitar playing from bands like Jesus And Mary Chain. Listening a lot to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds probably also played a role in making some of my songs darker and more theatrical.
Nice, the Schmutz boys caught Nick Cave last year, pretty moving. Now that you’ll be hanging around in Berlin, can we expect any new recordings or a full length?
Yeah that’s the plan. My plan is to record an album very soon. The main objective for me this year is to record and release as much music as possible. Let’s see how it goes.
Last but not least, a favorite question of mine: what have you been listening to lately? Favorite records or shows from 2017?
I listened to Tamaryn the other day and found it great.
My favourite show was probably seeing Alex Zhang Hungtai of Dirty Beaches. He came to Berlin earlier this year and performed a very theatrical noise show with two percussionists. It went on for one hour without a break. Occasionally he got up and started playing wild saxophone lines or shouting things into the microphone. The whole show was really intense and had a very profound effect on the audience, from what I could see. It was very inspiring!
Haven’t gotten your fill of Joe James Boyle? Yeah, neither have we…
Beautiful photography by Monique Poirier.