98.9 KPNW Exclusive: Joe P

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John Fisher:  All right, let’s chat. All right, Joe P. Welcome to 98.9 KPNW.

Joe P : Thanks for having me.

John Fisher: All right, listen. Here is, the DJ. Quick, take that. When we introduce your song on the air, you’re like your little backstory, your bio in a nugget.

Joe P : Okay.

John Fisher: And you tell me if I’m on track here. You were in a band for a long time.

Joe P : Sure.

John Fisher: The band broke up at the beginning of the pandemic.

Joe P : Yes.

John Fisher: You retreated to your basement in New Jersey.

Joe P : That’s right.

John Fisher: And, reinvented yourself as a solo artist.

Joe P : That’s it.

John Fisher: You nailed it.

Joe P : That’s my whole thing.

John Fisher: Okay, now, did the band break up because of the pandemic?

Joe P : I think it was like how a lot of things broke up because of the pandemic. I think because of the pandemic equates to the true colors come out. You know what I mean? I think that was what it was like. It was super healthy, actually. The way it happened didn’t feel like this big explosion. It felt kind of almost like, oh, this is what it’s supposed to be. I think that happened to a lot of couples.

John Fisher: Totally.

Joe P : You know what I mean? I think it’s like, hey, we should move in together. Imagine those couples that were like, let’s move in together. And it was this big step, and they did it. And then it was like, okay, now let’s be together every day because we can’t leave that. I bet a lot of those didn’t make it, right.

John Fisher: People either fell in love all over again, or they wanted to kill each other.

Joe P : Exactly. Yeah. So, I think it was like that, where no one wanted to kill each other. It wasn’t a crazy thing. It was just this natural. Like, I probably looked crazy because it was like nothing ever changed. I didn’t retreat to the basement. I was always in the basement. So I was more like I was in my element. It was one of those things where it’s like I didn’t feel. I always say I stopped feeling like a freak for the first time in my life because I was, like, in the basement on a Friday, living by the Jersey Shore, and. And everyone’s like, come outside. But now no one was doing that. So I was like, I’m good. This is great. No one’s hitting me up every day to go somewhere. so I think with the band. Everyone was looking around, like, what do we do now? And I was like, what do you mean? We just keep doing what we always did. But I realized it was more so, like, I’ll keep doing what I always did. And everyone else was like, where’s the tour? Where’s the video? What bass part am I playing? There was no thing for them to do or latch onto, so you just kind of implode when there’s nothing there. Ah, luckily, I think everyone realized that quickly and was like, cool. You just keep doing this, right?

John Fisher: Well, I mean, I think you’re not the only musician who, this kind of evolution happened during that time. And it’s like the rest of us were just sitting on our couch watching squid games, and you’re actually doing something.

Joe P : I watched that, though.

John Fisher: Okay. But, yes, you’re doing something productive down there.

Joe P : Sure.

John Fisher: so I’ve seen you talk a little bit about this idea of  as a member of a band. what winds up in your songs is, just kind of, by definition, not completely all under your control. You’re playing with, in your case, I guess, three other guys, and it’s like the bass player will figure out the bass part, and I’ll worry about my part. And now all of a sudden, you go down into your basement, and you’re a solo artist, and you have infinite choices as far as where you want to go with your music. And obviously, the technology gives you a million different tracks and plugins that can make any sound you want to make.

Joe P : Right?

John Fisher: So, where did you go with that? I mean, were you just like, well, I’ll just goof around until something feels like I’ve got something?

Joe P : Yeah, I mean, you know what’s funny? I’m still figuring it out as far as how I want to do things and how I want to record things, because, yeah, there is that thing where you can do anything and when you’re alone. The thing. I’ll always love bands more than solo artists, which is ironic, but I will always love bands because I like the idea of, like, the Pixies is four people, and it’s like, if you take one person away, it changes it completely. You know what I mean? Whereas, like, a beck or, like, bjork or something like that, you’re going to get something per. Like, they were really into this style of production, so they did this for this song. whereas you listen to a pixie’s record and you’re like, cool. This is just them playing in a room. Nirvana, same thing. Like, in utero, that sound. And I’m like, I’ll always love that more. And so my goal is still to try to curate that, try to make that still feel. like when you listen to the records, it’s just like a live show or a live band. So I’m trying to actually, recently, I’ve really had this big mental breakthrough of, like, cool. I’m just going to make it sound like the live show. So I’m trying to get it closer to, like, there’s four tracks happening, you know what I mean? And it sounds big the way ACDC records sound big, because there’s just four people playing. It’s not like where you can go crazy. You can sit there and you can do 100 tracks and you can add this and fill out all the fluff, and then you ruin it, you kill it. Because there are no more mistakes, there’s no more nice little imperfections and things for people to actually latch onto. so I’m going to actually try to lean more into the more minimal approach to it, because I think you can get bigger that way. It’s scarier, but I think when you do it right and you do with the perfect ingredients, it’s like the best cookie in the world, rather than like, let’s do everything. You know what I mean? Yeah, right. That’s it.

John Fisher: I would just think in general, you can be like a complete studio wizard and make these elaborate records and stuff, but, I mean, ultimately, you want to make something that you can easily play on stage for people, right?

Joe P : Yeah, that is a big part of it. there is an element where it’s like, how much do you really want to do on stage? And a lot of people now there’s the whole world of backing tracks and everything’s to a click, which we do because we have a light show and it’s like, okay, we don’t have, like, a light guy yet, so I have to program a light show and make it myself and we have to play to some form of a click so that that has something to listen to and sync to. But I’m getting rid of the tracks more and more. The click I’ve automated so that it speeds up and slows down or turns off completely and then we come back. So I’m doing everything I can to stretch that. The day I have enough money to have a light guy, have, an extra guy on stage playing, like, auxiliary percussion, guitar. Everything’s going away. Wedges are coming back. No, in ears. I just hate all that stuff. Because to me, it feels so separate from the crowd. and I get it because the cool thing about technology now is that you can do these more elaborate shows at a smaller level because there’s clicks and there’s, programs that you can do. But I would rather, yeah, just do it the right way where it’s, like, loose and you’re in the room with people, and if you want to keep going on the bridge a minute longer, you can, rather than computer says you can’t do that or else the light show is going to be messed up.

John Fisher: Then all that, technology that’s available is limiting all of a sudden.

Joe P : Yeah, exactly.

John Fisher: Expanding.

Joe P : Exactly.

John Fisher: I have to tell you something that really impressed me about you. So we were playing off my mind since we put this radio station on the air, which has only been since the beginning of the year, really. And I love the song. And, back then I was like, oh, I’ll check out his stuff, and I go to Spotify. basically, it’s two EPs, really. Barely even real full albums, right. Which I have to say, like, one’s got seven songs, one has eight songs or something like that. And it’s like a half an hour long each one. And maybe I sound like an old, cranky person here, but I think movies are too long. albums are too long. You don’t need to put 17 songs on an album. Maybe Taylor Swift can do it.

Joe P : But sure.

John Fisher: seasons of shows, on Netflix are too long.

Joe P : Way too long. Right.

John Fisher: They have a great idea that they subdivide into, like, 13 mediocre ideas.

Joe P : 100%.

John Fisher: So I was just like, this is great because I listened to the whole EP and went on the whole journey, the whole arc of the thing while I was walking my dog.

Joe P : Totally. 29 minutes. Yeah. That is cool. I never even thought of that. The thing is, I think also, if you’re still figuring it out, I’m just not fully ready to be like, I know exactly who I am, what I want to do, everything. It’s like, EPs are great way to try stuff, right? And not be so, like, it didn’t quite track. seven isn’t quite what I wanted, but it’s okay. It’s an EP, right? I can redo that for the album version. Exactly. So I think an album is okay, but I think it better be, like, perfect in that sense of, like, I mean, from top to the bottom, it should feel like you really needed every song and every no fillers. Yeah, that’s the thing. When people talk about a full length a lot of people put out the long, like 13 to 18 songs. And I kind of love the like, born to run. I think there’s nine songs or eight songs. Born to run.

John Fisher: The limits of the vinyl format were really.

Joe P : Totally. Then you get better songs. You know what I mean? I think that was it. We got to get better songs.

John Fisher: And the thing is, the thing I’m talking about with you, I mean, it made me want to hear more. It wasn’t like, jesus, this is exhausting. How long have I been walking this dog?

Joe P : Yeah. And it’s not quite single. Single as far as like, that’s the other way people can approach it where they put out a single, which is nice, but it’s nice to put out some type of a body of work. It just doesn’t have to be an album because even just an album versus an EP, like the statement that’s making is bigger.

Joe P : So now people are expecting this big perfect thing.

John Fisher: So if you go EP, people are.

Joe P : A Little more like, okay, he’s working on it.

John Fisher: Yes.

Joe P : And I like that. Right? I like that. Yeah.

John Fisher: Well, good for you for restraining yourself because again, the limitless possibilities, you probably have a stash of dozens and dozens and dozens of song on a hard drive or something.

Joe P : Exactly.

John Fisher: and, speaking of being concise, you, made a horror film that’s like half an hour long.

Joe P : Yeah.

John Fisher: and it’s called if we Run.

Joe P : Yes.

John Fisher: And, the cool thing about it is it’s a real horror film. It’s hilarious and it’s gruesome.

Joe P : Right.

John Fisher: And it’s also got four of your songs on this fake, late, night TV show thing. On a TV monitor. That’s part of the narrative, which is brilliant. And you obviously have a guy who’s kind of your video. Yep.

Joe P : Tony. Yeah. And he plays bass in the band. Right. So he pretends to play bass, but he’s really a director.

John Fisher: Well, it’s amazing stuff. I mean, all the visual interpretations of your stuff is just nutty and great.

Joe P : It’s just what you want. Thanks. I love that. You know what it is? It’s fun. It’s like the video element of being an artist or whatever. I can understand how you can be totally removed from it. And you get a treatment to do this and you show up and you film the video like a Cardi B video. Like she doesn’t know. She shows up and does it and home. But I think it’s such a great opportunity to get to people, make, them feel what you’re feeling. Even more so than a song. Like, a song is one thing. Obviously you can’t beat that. But when you have the chance to bring a visual to it, even if it’s not going to make them like the song more necessarily. I look at it like it’s a new song. It’s a new art form mixed in with my music. I want people to watch the videos and be like, oh, this is just a cool thing in itself. Like, forget the song. I just like that this part of his brain works like this. Cool. You know what I mean? I kind of like that more than trying to make the perfect thing for the song and fit it together and it’s like doing a school project, you know what I mean? That’s what it always feels like. It feels very like we can do anything.

John Fisher: It has that. Like that, hey, kids, let’s put on a show.

Joe P : That’s what it is. DIY. Like, just try to figure it out the best you can. Because that horror movie was great because it was the first time we ever had, like, a crew of people. It was almost weird. It was one of those things where me and Tony have always done everything completely alone with no money and no resources other than what we can pull together. And then to have this crew of people, like, we’re ready to do whatever you need. We’re ordering food, so it’s ready. We’re like, what you eat on the day you work? Yeah. So it was really interesting to have that and to get used to that and almost, like, delegating some of the work. And it was really funny because it was all these people from York City, Atlantic. They probably literally came from a Cardi B video. And now we’re like, we’re meeting in the woods of Central New Jersey in the Pine Barrens, essentially, in Jackson. And, we had cars, we had houses, locations, props, and they’re like, where’d you get all this stuff? How much did this cost? We’re like, it’s free because you just meet people and you know people as you do things by yourself. Growing up, you accumulate resources where they’re like, oh, we’ll just rent a car. It’s New York City. We’ll just get a rental. And I’m like, that’s going to cost a $1,000. Do it. Call up your boss’s friend and see if you can mow his lawn to get his car for a day. You know what I mean? That to me is like, it’s a little more annoying. And, I mean, I was returning the car at three in the morning because the guy needed it. Had to leave my own video and be like, guys, I got to leave. They’re like, what they couldn’t believe. I was like, I’m in this car. Like, I got to take it back to this guy’s house. It’s like an hour away. They’re like, what are you doing? This is why we got to rent. I’m like, no, this is how you save money and how you get stuff done in a way that’s more, I don’t know, organic and more original because it’s baked in. Everything’s baked in as far as, like, no one else is ever going to get that car because that’s like my uncle’s car. Yeah, it’s not the rental car. Nobody’s going to rent it for.

John Fisher: Another. So you, on each of those two EPs, you do a couple of kind of mainstream cover songs?

Joe P : Sure. Yeah.

John Fisher: You do, the Led Zeppelin song going to California. What about that song spoke to you?

Joe P : You know what? I was going to do Heroes by David Bowie. That was my original plan. And then I was watching something, and that song popped on, like in this movie or something. I was like, oh, that’s really nice. And my piano is just, like, in my living room. and I walked over to the piano because it’s on an acoustic, and I was like, it was one of those things when you try to cover something, you should. For me, anyway, my rule is immediately I try to take away all the things that are exactly like it. So they did it on acoustic guitar. Let me not do that because you’re not going to beat Jimmy Page at that. So just give up. You know what I mean? Move on to something else. You’re better off trying to just go your own lane with it. So sat on the piano, and I’m not very good at piano, which I kind of like because it kind of limits you into this kind of simplistic style. And then I just started playing it like that, and it felt like its own new thing. And I was like, I like hearing this with a piano. I’m going to do this. and I just have such a connection to the Led Zeppelin because that’s the first thing I ever heard that ripped me out of top 40. Kind of like pop mainstream, kid, whatever. They’re going to feed you radio, right? And a little more like, this is cool, dad, what is this Led Zeppelin? And I thought it was the guy’s name. And learning it’s from the 60s, it’s like all these cool things. And I remember feeling just so like, oh, this is like a new. My brain woke up to that. And then it was ACDC and Hendrix and all that classic rock hit me, but they’re like the bridge from the kind of Backstreet Boy World to that. It got me out of what was being fed to me, to going back further and finding my own stuff.

John Fisher: Well, I thought it was an interesting choice because, you put out some bangers. I mean, you can rock, too. You could have done, when the levee breaks or black dog or something like that. That would have been perfectly on brand for you, too, I think. and then the other song on the other EP is, I’m on fire.

Joe P : The. That’s. I mean, that’s the Jersey thing. And I grew up in North Jersey, never listening to Bruce. Because in North Jersey, it’s different than, like, Asbury park down the shore. Everyone down the shore, that’s like their God, they are upset. It’s a totally different Jersey. I just. I didn’t grow up with my parents loving, you know, I did the where, you know, then I went down there and I moved there, and I moved to Belmar. And that was the first thing I moved there because it was the cheapest music scene I could move to besides New York City. And I was like, okay, cool, I’ll go there. I can get an apartment there and, like, wait tables. And all of a sudden, everyone’s talking about this Bruce guy. And I’ve always heard about, you know, and Bruce is weird because he doesn’t have this superhero thing the way led Zeppelin or AC DC does, where, like, Angus Young blew my mind because it’s like watching a, like, do something. Bruce, if you’re too young, you don’t get cut. He’s not that good at guitar. He’s not that cool that it’s going to hit you as a kid. You’re not going to hear the lyrics and feel anything. And then I started kind of like, being like, I should look into this. I lived on B Street, and I kept hearing about E Street, right? Band. I’m like, wait a minute. If there’s a correlation, I looked it up. His house is right there. The house they practice in was there. So I drive over and I’m panicking because I dropped out of college. Like, what am I doing with my life? So he was like, the only thing I had that I could look up to in this way of, like, cool. I’m Going to follow this path. He started here. Maybe I can do this. It was a big moment of having a homegrown thing. I never had the New Jersey pride about anything. It’s hard to. So, he was all I had. I was like, okay. And I didn’t even necessarily love his music yet. I just was like, I’m going to kind of just relate to this guy in this way of like, we’re on the same street trying to chase this music. And I felt like it was my ode to that kind of moment of getting into Bruce.

John Fisher: well, that’s a good role model to have for.

Joe P : I think it is, man, in.

John Fisher: Your.

Joe P : I always.

John Fisher: I think I always heard that he kind of wrote that song, thinking of it as, like, an Elvis Presley kind of.

Joe P : Sure. Yeah, you’re. You’re right. Right. Yeah. And I think it’s like two and a half minutes or something. Yeah.

John Fisher: Very short.

Joe P : So short. It’s like one of his biggest songs, but, yeah, it’s great. It’s a cool one again.

Joe P : And I really did it for something else. My manager was like, hey, we need to submit these three videos. I think it was a radio thing, and one of them has to be a cover. And I just grabbed that one. I had to do it quick. And I literally set up one microphone like this, like a dynamic mic, and played just like this because I was like, this isn’t like a recording. I just got to get this out to people. And I played it, and that’s the recording. I ended up throwing it on the EP just last minute. Nice, because I liked how it sounded. And it’s funny because it got all these views, listens, and it’s the least amount of thought I’ve ever put in recording. And it’s the most poorly recorded thing. It’s just one bad mic. I’m like, man, maybe I should just start not trying so hard to record.

John Fisher: Think. Yeah, there’s something to that. In the creative world of just don’t overthink.

Joe P : Unfortunately, that is always the case.

John Fisher: Don’t use that part of your brain.

John Fisher: All right, well, you’re doing a show tonight here in Seattle at Madame Lou’s, and, I guess you’ve already done maybe an East coast tour as a solo headliner.

Joe P : That was the first tour ever.

John Fisher: And now you’re out here, and just in general, how is it, being Joe P. And you do have a band.

Joe P : Yeah, the band is like. It heightens everything. Everyone’s always so much like, I can’t believe you’re this crazy live, because on TikTok and Instagram, I’m just alone in my house, so I just post, like, it sounds like acoustic guitar. So it’s funny. People come and it’s like, I have like two Marshall Stacks and there’s feedback and it’s loud and I’m going crazy. And they’re probably like, oh, I didn’t know that was going to be the show. And they end up being like, it’s better live. I love it. It’s great. Or the people that hear the recordings end up being like, I love the live show even more because of that energy, which is another reason I’m pulling myself more towards recording that way. Like, try to just record live. How could we capture whatever happens in that room? And it’s hard to do because you get in a studio and all of a sudden it’s cold and you stiffen up or you do it and then it’s done and you just feel like that was too easy. We got to add stuff. Like add a harmonica, you just start losing your mind. Right. But really, maybe that’s the key, is to kind of just listen to what’s know when you’re out on the road. Good.

John Fisher: Well, good for you for listening to that voice.

Joe P : Yeah.

John Fisher: Well, it’s great to meet you, and, I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight. And I’m sure we’ll see you back in town again, probably in a larger.

Joe P : Venue, as the plan. Yeah.

John Fisher: Joe P. Thanks for coming by.

Joe P : Of course, man. Thank you.

John Fisher: All right, let me stop this.

Joe P : Save this.

John Fisher: And then we’ll do a hip.