We interviewed Josh Simons in 2013 for the Human Spring release and recently that interview appeared in my ‘On This Day’, which got us thinking about what was happening for Buchanan now… and so we reached out to do a new interview and see what’s happening.
It’s been a very busy three years for Josh, and we found out a little about them in this interview.
Hi Josh, welcome back to Beauty and Lace. Thanks for talking to us.
Thank you for having me!
It’s been 3 years since we spoke to you and there’s been lots of huge stuff happen for you, can you share a bit about your personal journey?
Indeed – a crazy few years, to say the least! In short, I moved over to London for a year to write with some up and coming acts, got a tad bit sick and had to come home for treatment. During the course of that I found myself in a committed relationship, then suddenly out of it, and then I managed to write this album in between haha! I call it like a sonic Instagram of my last few years. We’ve also been on tour, done a TEDx talk and released quite a bit of music. Plus I’ve been making an app called Vampr which will help transform the way musicians meet and find each other, which I’m very excited about… so a busy couple of years!
When we interviewed you in 2013 it was just as Human Spring was released and here we are again with the sophomore album just released. Can you tell us a bit about Pressure In An Empty Space?
Pressure in an Empty Space is an album for anyone who has ever had to deal with compounding stresses and pressures in their life… so basically everyone! It was written during the course of the aforementioned life events, and I’m just incredibly proud of it. It’s the most honest I’ve ever been on record and we spent a ridiculous amount of time on every detail – I’m not sure how else to speak about this particular record. It just kind of is what it is, and even though I joked before that it’s for everybody, of course it won’t be for everyone, and some people will love it and some people will hate it, and that’s perfectly fine. I’m just very proud of it – it’s exactly what I wanted to say.
How would you describe your sound?
I think we’ve moved into a more progressive realm as a band or entity. I wanted to explore how traditional rock sounds, which are struggling in radio land right now, might survive moving forward. So I’d probably describe it as progressive, but then I know others would simply refer to us as an electronic rock group or indie or alternative or something. To be honest, I don’t really subscribe to genres anymore, and haven’t for a minute. It’s all kind of b*llsh*t, especially now when you have artists like Taylor Swift collaborating with Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna working with Tame Impala. It’s a great time for music.
There have been a few tracks released into the world already, how have they been received?
Good I think! We’ve certainly won over a lot of new fans as we’ve dipped in and out of the worlds of EDM, electronica, funk and trap… and we don’t seem to have lost any of our old fans. Most seem to really dig it. And I think that’s because the melody is still the hero, and it always will be with Buchanan songs. If I write a song that can’t be translated across multiple styles then I generally cut it before anyone hears it, because a strong melody or song should work in any format.
Recently the video for Stop! premiered, can you tell us a little about the song?
The lyrics for Stop! are pretty literal, despite the fact we disguised it as pop/funk song – I really love that, when you entertain one tone in the lyrics and then the complete opposite sonically. So Stop! is about asking for a ceasefire with someone you’ve spent a lot of time fighting with. It’s like the dark horse of the album and we weren’t sure if it was going to make the cut originally but I’m glad it did. It’s shaping up to be a lot of people’s favourite… And that’s great!
The video was shot in Brisbane, how did you choose the location and come up with the concept for the video?
I’d had the concept for that video in my head for well over a year, when we first started planning the album rollout. It was originally meant to be the first thing people saw from this album – like a teaser track before we dropped the first single, but then plans changed and that particular video got pushed back. We ended up shooting it in Brisbane because the producer of the video used to teach at that dance school and when she asked if they were interested in helping us they were generous enough to say yes! It’s really cute and turned out exactly as I had envisioned – it was a lot of fun working with the girls at Do Dance Academy and all of those talented dancers.
Can you tell us a little about your decision to write and record in London?
It wasn’t so much a decision than a result of simply that was where I was living at the time. I hadn’t made a conscious decision to start writing another album, at least initially. I had met Simon at my local pub in Queens Park and we quickly established a mutual love for several artists and admired each other’s work, so I asked him to record a few tracks with me – some of those actually ended up on the Living a Lie – EP which we put out in November last year. Then I got sick and that was kind of when we decided to make Pressure in an Empty Space. Also, London is just one of the greatest places on the planet to be making music. It’s an inspiring and electric city, and it most certainly has its own sound, and I was keen to explore that. I didn’t want to make Human Spring 2.0, despite feeling that pressure from industry folk back home. Commercially it might have been a smarter move, but none of my favourite artists have ever made the same album twice. So it was about following in their footsteps and pushing myself as well.
Tough question coming, have you got a favourite track on this album?
Probably ‘I Don’t Want to Die’. That was a hard one to finish, emotionally, but it’s a proper songwriting achievement and I think Simon would agree.
How did you decide the order of the tracks?
That’s such a contentious part of the process of making any album. I had decided from very early on that I was going to make an 8 track album as that’s my favourite number, and this was always going to be a very personal and naked album. We had a lot of demos. So I was always writing and re-writing lists with the track order throughout the whole process. And then as you finish and cull songs and write other tracks, things kept coming in and out of that list and being re-ordered etc. Ultimately we ended up with a 9 track album though haha – but what fun is setting rules for yourself if you can’t break them, right?!
What was the first single released, and why?
We released Coming Down in July 2014. It was a very European sounding track, and the timing was good given what was also being played in Europe at the time. We’d finished that super early on in the process, and it was heading into the European summer, so we thought “f*#k it, let’s put it out!” We hired a radio and club plugger in the UK and Europe, and it ended up reaching number 29 in the UK Music Week club charts, which is still one of my most proudest achievements to date. It’s also one of my favourite tracks on the album still.
Are you planning a Pressure In An Empty Space tour?
Well we just came off the Living a Lie Tour in February where we previewed and played a lot of the tracks from the new album. So we’re going to go back into hibernation for a bit and just let this new album breath for a bit, and then we’ll see. I’d like to think this album would justify another little tour, but who knows! I’m off to LA soon and have an app to launch so I will definitely be keeping busy for the remainder of the year!
Thanks for your time.
Likewise, always a pleasure!
You can check out Buchanan in all the usual places:
Pressure In An Empty Space album available now!