After returning last year to deliver their much-loved comeback offering 'Preferences', Nashville-based outfit Ducky Neptune are back once again to offer up their breezy new single 'Charlie'.
Channelling a wonderfully smooth and easygoing aesthetic from start to finish, 'Charlie' makes for a warm and enticing listen. With its rich and woozy grooves layered against some beautifully alluring vocals throughout, this is definitely one to kick back to after a hard day's work.
So with the new single available to stream now, we say down with vocalist and bassist Josh Blanco to find out more about his origins and what has been inspiring him lately.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Tough to answer. We are a band but Shane and I would say guitar. My father used to attempt to sing me to sleep, but he would often fall asleep before me.
Shane picked up guitar due to his mothers urging. I imagine the conversation went something like this:
“If not sports, music…after school you have to do something.” -Shane's Mother
“How about drums?” - Shane
“Guitar”-Shane’s Mother (Realising it’s way cheaper and a hell of a lot less noise*)
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
Across the board we all grew up loving rock n’ roll. We’ve discussed our “dream festival”. Led Zeppelin, Pearl Jam, The Stones, Beatles, AC/DC, Neil Young, Steve Miller, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, and Supertramp, etc… the list goes on.
What was the first album you remember owning?
The first CD I unwrapped and put in my boombox was Lynyrd Skynyrd: Greatest Hits.
Non-compilation is hard to remember. I do recall enjoying Jackson 5 when I was really young. But, In my teens Jack Johnson’s On and On made a huge impression. I listened to Jack religiously, and haven't missed an album since.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
High gravity songs often come from despair. I’d rather not go through the feeling of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come.” However, to lend that level of comfort to a listener; I hope our poetry speaks to someone like that.
Compositionally, I think the group would agree, we wish we wrote “The Wall’- Pink Floyd or “Exiles On Main Street” -The Rolling Stones. The Story of Exiles is our favourite.
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
The majority of the writing starts with Shane and I. I may write a verse and chorus over chords and Shane will help with the intros, bridges, outros and all the compositional stuff. Or, Shane may write a progression that evokes a certain feeling. He brings the tune to me and I’ll write melody and lyrics before we take it to the boys. (Drums and Keys)
One habit we try to practise is not “telling” each other what to do. Rather, we ask leading questions, “Do you think piano would sound good here? Could we try a lighter or heavier drum fill?” Questions open a creative door that we would lose with a single director. We are a group and you can hear it in our music.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Idles, Fontaines DC, Wunderhorse, Mt. Joy, Khruangbin, My Morning Jacket, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jon Batiste, Gary Clark (Specifically the live Albums), Tedeschi Trucks Band.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
Pearl Jam, We know Eddie would sing one with us.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Short Answer: Expression.
Long Answer: Art seems to do two things; express and impress. Through our expression we hope to impress the listener. However, our reward, focus and effort will always be “expression”. When I first moved to Nashville I played at a Motel 6-bar every friday. During a break, a father of three shook my hand and told me he really enjoyed a lyric about “Heaven not being above, but around” He was dealing with the recent loss of a loved one and needed to hear that. All in all, using the universal language (music) to express love, is without a doubt the most rewarding.
And what is the most frustrating part?
Hate to admit it, we need more gigs. We have been working hard but we want more work. We have dreams of playing 200-300 nights a year. *Fingers crossed* we are putting it out there into the universe. If you enjoy our music, share with your friends, please. If you're a music professional that can put us to work. Bring it on.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Indirectly: “You are never more than a half-step away from a right note.”- Victor Wooten.
Directly: Our engineer, Spencer Coats gave us the advice to trust our former selves. His advice was in regards to moving forward in the studio. We’ve applied the advice to all the other creative and business decisions surrounding the Ducks. “Should we have worded this email differently? Is this Tik Tok right?” “Send it” Keep moving forward. “Trust your former self.”
Ducky Neptune's new single 'Charlie' is available to stream now. Check it out in the player below.