Just imagine what Lovebox is going to be like if this weather stays put this weekend. Victoria Park will be veritably abuzz with sunny musical exhilaration, particularly with the likes of Goldfrapp, AlunaGeorge, Purity Ring and MS MR featuring on the bill.
Joining the foregoing highlights is 24 year-old Josef Salvat, who in the past year released 'This Life' and 'Hustler', two of the finest introductory singles we’ve heard in a long while. Growing up in Sydeny and studying law down under, Salvat decided to move to Europe — first Barcelona and then London – in order to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. The amount of hype he's had in the past few months on the back his first two releases is, in our opinion, entirely justified and to follow up his forthcoming Lovebox appearance, he is also preparing for a headline show at Hoxton Bar & Kitchen next month. Here Salvat tells us about how he started out as a musician, what he's working on at the moment and why he loves London so much.
Hey, hey, Josef. What brought you to London?
Music [pauses]. Music. I mean, it just made sense. London is full of opportunities. I just felt like London was where I should come to do what I want to do. I had wanted to move here for ages. It was just a matter of finally getting here, you know?
And when did you first start making music with a view to it being your career?
I guess, like, when I wrote the first song that I thought was any good and finished it and went – "oh, this is a good song! It would be great if I could do this full time!" In that sense, it was ages and ages ago. I mean, every time I am motivated to finish a song, it’s because that’s what I would like to do, as a full-time thing. In terms of actually, consciously putting the wheels into motion, I was kind of trying all throughout school but it was probably at the start of university that I really thought about it seriously – well, I studied law, yeah, and I realised pretty soon that music was the light at the end of that tunnel [laughs]. So that was when I first started really working at it. I produced my first demo when I was 21. My parents bought me some software to produce some songs and when that happened I was starting to make music in a format that people could access.
How did you then go about getting noticed by people in the music industry?
I came over here to London at the end of 2009, during your winter and our summer, and it was a pretty bad winter, actually. I had some demos with me and I was looking for management. That’s what I was initially looking for. I was hitting every single party, going to everybody I knew saying: “take me to things!”, I was handing out these demo CDs all around London. And then I went back to do my degree but I didn’t see anything coming out of it and within two weeks I got an email from the person who turned out to be my current manager. So that’s how it started.
We really love your first two singles. What new songs are you working on at the moment?
I am working with a guy called Richard Cooper, who is producing my songs and he’s amazing. I don’t have the skills to do all of the production stuff. I’m working on an EP at the moment -
Is that going to be your next release?
Yeah. I would like to get out a little body of work before I go into thinking about an album or anything more extended because I think the songs I have released so far are only representative of one part of what I’d like to do. And there’s other stuff as well. There are a coupe of songs on the EP that I am quite excited about but they are still very much works in progress. There’s a song that closes the live set which is pretty epic and it’s one I wrote last year.
What’s it called?
It’s called ‘Paradise’. There’s also a song called ‘Secret’ which, at the moment, I think will open my live set. The lyrics are not the lightest thing but… A lot of my songs have climaxes. This one doesn’t do that. And I like that.
How many songs do you currently include in your live set?
At the moment it is a short set. There are six songs. Basically, I’ve released two so it's relative to the body of work that has been released it’s a nice length. It’s like a showcase, I guess. In a little while I will be adding another 4 or 5 songs to the set but that won’t be for, like, another month and half, perhaps. It’s very much about an evolution of my career.
Do you perform solo or with a band?
I perform with a band. I just sing. I used to play the piano on stage before I came to London but it’s limiting to hide behind the piano all the time so I sing and I also have a bassist and a drummer and they’re great.
And what’s your song-writing process like?
You know, I could have answered this question a lot more coherently two months ago but then I started doing some co-writes – I’ve done my first couple of those recently and it’s thrown it all out of the window [laughs]. Before, I knew what my process was and now I have no idea. Basically, previously the music came first. And as the melody came, I would write the lyrics. I would normally write the chorus first. But now, I think that actually it’s more to do with me being in a certain head space and that would then lend itself to some chords and lyrics. So it’s more about what I’m thinking about at the time. I don’t really start with lyrics. Some people do but I don’t.
What’s your favourite thing about living in London?
I love the fact that it’s like 20 different cities in one. And everything that that brings. It’s amazing. Like, Hampstead Heath – it feels like you’re in the country and then twenty-five minutes later you’re in the West End. And there’s whatever you want there. And then, again, twenty-five minutes later you can be in Dalston or Shoreditch where there are so many venues and so much music happening. There’s literally a bit of absolutely everything. Oh and the galleries are free! All the museums and galleries are fucking free! [laughs]. It’s amazing. It’s a very generous city in that way.
Do you think you might prefer it to Sydney, then?
In that capacity…. I mean, look – Sydney is beautiful. And it’s where I grew up and there are a lot of wonderful things about Sydney. But London doesn’t have many parallels. I have lived in other cities, like Barcelona, for instance. But London just has something very special about it.
You’re playing Lovebox this weekend...
Yeah I’ll be playing on Saturday. With the band. And there’s a few other festivals coming up after as well.
Are you excited about it?
And finally, can you see yourself staying in London for the long term?
Definitely. This is... yeah. Yeah. [laughs]. For the foreseeable future, this is where I will be.