The coronavirus pandemic has been many things to a lot of people these last few months, but very few have seen it as an opportunity to launch into a music career. Thankfully for us though, singer and songwriter Josh David-Read aka Mojo JNR has chosen to break the mould by unveiling his debut single 'Miles Away'.
Recorded right at the start of lockdown, 'Miles Away' sees itself as an introduction into his world of wistful ambience and seductive songwriting. Channeling the soft and breezy tones of acts like The War On Drugs and Real Estate, this new release is sure to see him go very far in this scene, pandemic or not.
So with his new single doing the rounds right now, we sat down with him to find out more about his origins and what has inspired him over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
The Acoustic Guitar, I started out on a really really old dusty classical guitar from my Grandads house when I was small (playing mostly out of tune), it was in my teens I put more dedication into learning the instrument. I still have a long way to go to master it.
What has been the most prominent inspiration behind your music so far?
I’ve written a few songs during lockdown, some which wont be released and others that will. It seems the connecting theme is Nature and the outside, Miles Away is based on a book called Pan. A man who lives in isolation in these woods, but loves the nature around him. And the most recent songs are not as serious. Mostly about a garden and fruit.
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
My music tastes changed frequently during my teens, I grew out of chart music pretty quickly thank god. But to be honest and somewhat predictable I listened to The Beatles and other classic bands like Led Zeppelin. But I also had a big punk and grunge phase, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and other bands like Decendants. This was about the time that I started playing music. As I matured my music taste mellowed out, artists like Frank Turner, Laura Marling, Mac DeMarco and countless other bands are what was on repeat for me at the end of my teen years.
Can you remember the first song that made you want to pursue a life in music?
Nope i can’t, I’d be lying if I said I could. I do remember the first song I wrote that I was proud of and thought I could do this again and again.
When you wake up in the morning, what kind of music do you like to listen to?
KC and the Sunshine on repeat! Failing that have to settle for Jungle or Parcels.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
In previous bands I’ve written a few. The lyrics in my songs are hardly ever about one person. I just observe what is around me and don’t like to write about myself. It's that reason that I rarely write songs for my Girlfriend (Sorry!)
What has been the most memorable moment in your career so far?
It wouldn’t be immodest of me to say that I don’t have a career in music just yet. Mojo JNR has just started for me so I have a lot too look forward to. This project is very much a product of the Lockdown, it gave me the time, and the boredom gave me the motivation to begin this. If I had to choose, the most memorable moment will have to be the beginning of the writing process for these songs. Hearing the progress of the track and sharing it with those close with me and their reaction.
Outside of music, what is your biggest passion?
I’ve just finished University with a MA in History and Heritage, I have been involved in a lot of community projects since finishing uni, including Documentary film-making and Exhibition curation. History can be boring, trust me I know. But looking at new creative ways to preserve and show History and culture is something that excites me.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Probably strive to be a documentary Film-maker or something.
And what advice would you give to other musicians looking to stay productive through the coronavirus lockdown?
Lockdown can be pretty uninspiring, i’ve had days where I’ve been sitting at the desk wanting a magical Idea to waltz into my mind, if you feel like that then I’d just advise people to not push it. It can be okay to do nothing sometimes. I find that ideas and creative impulses come to me when I am not trying to be creative. But if you don’t want to do that invest in coffee.
Mojo JNR's debut single 'Miles Away' is available to stream and download now. Have a listen to it in the player below.