Joe Peacock is a singer-songwriter from Birmingham. This year he released his first ever album as a solo artist and his second album ‘Before the robots told us where to go’ is out on Bandcamp on 3rd December along with the single ‘Keep the nightmares out’, which will be available on all streaming platforms. This is the presave link.
Joe writes songs that tell the stories he finds interesting. Sometimes he writes autobiographical lyrics, but is also fascinated in the lives of other people, so has written about writers, explorers, hermits and even animals.
How would you describe the album?
“I don’t think you’re allowed to call your own album: “All killer no filler”, but that’s how I feel about it. It’s a very tight album of songs that are all very special to me. I had twenty plus songs that I played to Joe Adhemar, who produced the album and together we chose the ten best that make up the album. Three of them have already been released as singles, but I don’t think that those songs define the album, because I like to surprise people. I mean, listen to the three of them: ‘Mr Stanley, I presume’ was all powerful shoegaze guitars, but a song about how screwed up colonial thinking was, yet how little we’ve progressed from that today, ‘Is not everything morbid?’ was a bluesy piano riff with a story about a lesbian poet whose dark writing I found inspiring and ‘Blind Bends’ was an effects-laden indie rock song about my voyages through anxiety in the early hours of the night when I can’t sleep.
There’s possibly more of a punky feel to the rest of the album than people would expect, but there’s also electro-pop, reggae and the last track which is also the fourth single and is the one, I think, that will really blow people away. A few people have listened to it and said it made them cry at the end, which is also how I feel about it. I am so proud of that song, and although I intended the album to have a happier ending, I know that it has an emotionally powerful one with that song.”
“I hope that people will see this album, as I do, as a journey that takes you away from the present and into some very powerful stories that are worth exploring. I didn’t want to write a lockdown album that was about lockdown. I wanted to write an album that charted my attempts to escape the very small world I was inhabiting and look at what we can learn from some big screw ups of the past. My internet history would mess with the heads of anyone trying to make money out of it, but here it is (partially, at least) on this album for everyone to enjoy!”
Did you have to overcome any difficulties with the writing or recording of this release?
“My main difficulty is that I am not very good at recording and mixing music. I just don’t have the skills and patience to make instruments sound as good as they should do. My strengths have always lain in coming up with guitar (and sometimes keyboard) riffs and lyrics, but not necessarily with the whole package of putting songs together. I put out my first album with my own very amateurish attempts to do it and although (I think) the songs are great, they are really let down by the quality of the recording, the production and the lack of someone else to tell me where I could improve them.”
“Luckily, Joe Adhemar appeared in my life after my first album and said something like, “Joe, you have some really good songs, but you have to sort them out and mix them properly.” He was a bit brutal, but I needed that. The first song we did together was ‘Lightning Telegram’, in which he helped me sort out certain bits without making big changes, but then the second song he completely transformed! ‘Is not everything morbid?’ is my only song so far that has reached a thousand streams on Spotify and some of the reaction it got from listeners was the first time I really felt that my art had connected with people on a deep level.”
“With Joe A’s help, I think my second album is a really special piece of art. My main problem with it has been impatience and just wanting to be able to share it with everyone since it’s been finished. It’s torture for me not to just be able to put it out straight away and say: “Here you go, listen to this!” I really hope people will be as passionate as I am about it.”
What are you hoping to achieve with this release?
“My biggest hope is that people will engage with the stories that I am telling. If the songs don’t touch people either intellectually or emotionally, they won’t have done their job. Essentially, with the type of songs I’m writing, I see my role as a story teller. I can’t pretend to be the most technically proficient musician, or the most amazing singer, but my skill lies in touching people through the words and the emotion the comes through the musicality of my songwriting, which hopefully draws the listener into these tales.”
“I started from absolutely nothing in terms of my music career until very recently, so I am very grateful to have anyone listening at all. If all goes well, I’d like to build on this release and put out more music next year. Playing live still seems a way off, unless it’s the odd small acoustic performance, but I could release another three albums next year. I’d love to put out something a bit more electronic, kind of in the way Damon Albarn has with Gorillaz or Thom Yorke with his solo/Atoms for Peace work, another rock album and something acoustic with more of a folk influence. Watch this space.”