Originally known to us as one of the curators of the Hangar venue and lofly label in Brisbane we shouldn’t have been surprised that Joel himself had a musical project — the collective have more fingers in pies than Georgie Porgie after all. What we weren’t expecting, seeing as his label mates lean more towards the electronic and experimental side of the musical spectrum, was the polished pop and rock awaiting us on his MySpace page. “Edge of the Road” is a huge beast of a song replete with male choir backing vocals that offset Joel’s tender lead while “Giant” hooked us with its softly strummed guitar and hazy organ combine with a lyric that runs with the “I am a giant you are a lake” metaphor for a refreshingly non-clichéd breakup song.
That was a year ago though and we’ve had to wait patiently for the release of Joel’s debut album Invisible Steps (lofly, Sept 26), delayed by the usual “from studio to shop” logistics compounded by a relocation to Melbourne which resulted in Joel being band-less and embarking on the next stage of his musical career. We fired off our standard 15 questions to Mr Edmondson and his responses proved wry and illuminating, just like his songwriting.
01. Who is Joel Edmondson?
He’s the ultimate idealistic pessimist – slowly he’s learning that everything that goes wrong inevitably goes right. He writes songs about overcoming repression and fear and sings them like a kind stranger in the night.
02. What do you sound like?
The winds of change gently disturbing old wounds.
03. What do friends say you sound like?
Solo, they say somewhere between John Lennon, Joe Cocker and Jeff Buckley. The album attracts a cornucopia of comparisons because it’s so stylistically diverse.
04. Full-time musicians or wage slaves?
I have a day job that I believe in and get paid well for. But I plan to be doing less of that and more touring next year when I have finally escaped the debt trap.
05. Current band highlight?
When we were together.
06. Favourite decade for music?
The 1970s of course.
07. Should music be free?
Musicians with something to offer society apart from their fucking attitude should be paid handsomely from collected taxes to create and perform all year round, and their creative output should otherwise be enjoyed and shared for free by the taxpayer.
08. Which 3 musicians would you invite round for dinner?
David Bowie, Scott Walker, Lisa Gerrard
09. Preferred tour reading?
I Am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj.
10. Best mood for songwriting?
The end of my tether, or the beginning of a new tether. People never talk about the beginning of tethers. They are a silent minority and have a lot to offer, if only we’d open ourselves to them. Humans love to focus on the negative.
11. Last record you bought?
Cosmogramma by Flying Lotus
12. Five favourite albums?
An unfair question. But if I must: 1. And Their Refinement of the Decline – Stars of the Lid; 2. Drums Not Dead – Liars; 3. Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes; 4. Teen Dream – Beach House; 5. Astral Weeks – Van Morrison.
13. Your biggest rock and roll fantasy?
Being able to play a convincing guitar solo.
14. Goals for the next 12 months?
I just want to do some good launch shows and be at peace with the universe.
15. First time listeners, where should they start?
“Giant”, the lead single off Invisible Steps, probably sums up the core message of the album.
Like the man says start with “Giant”…
…then head to to myspace.com/joeledmondson for more from the Edmondson canon. Or watch brand new song “Prisoner Behold” from his Brisbane album launch: