Joe Peacock is a singer-songwriter from Birmingham (UK) who’s making a name for himself as a genre-hopping storyteller with a prolific output. Joe writes songs that explore different themes from most. He’s written about explorers, hermits, pioneers and even animals, but doesn’t shy away from expressing strong opinions on political and social justice issues, either. He released his first album in April 2021 and already has songs written for many albums to come. As well as releasing albums as a solo artist, he recently started playing live shows in an acoustic alt-folk duo called the Missed Trees.
His new album ‘Mirror Neuron Generator’ is out 22nd July.
What does the album’s title reveal?
“It reveals that I’m a massive nerd, probably. I don’t go for easy album titles that are just the name of one of the key songs. I thought about what I wanted people to take from my music, and that was around empathy and putting yourself into the place of the people whose stories I’m telling or the people whose lives they affected.”
“Mirror neurons are little understood, but seem like a very important part of the brain. They apparently help us understand others by mirroring feelings and actions, so I thought that was a great thing to get from art. If people connect with music, they must get some kind of connection to the feelings of the people in the songs. Music can and should be both about feelings and energy, but also something very cerebral, so that’s what I am aiming for. I want my albums to create thoughts and feelings for the listener that they wouldn’t have had without listening to these songs.”
Is there a consistent lyrical style through the album? Is it a concept album? What’s it about?
“My lyrical style varies a bit, but there’s always a strong element of narrative to it. This certainly isn’t a concept album, but dances around different times and places – from ancient authors, artists, explorers and fraudsters to fictional internet characters. There are also a couple of songs, as always in my work, that draw on my own experiences, too. I am trying not to be too predictable, but at the same time, I want there to be something that’s recognisably me, despite the genre-hopping.”
“I am providing Bandcamp purchasers with a lyric book for this album, so that they can immerse themselves in the stories a little more, as well as giving them some exclusive songs that won’t be anywhere else. I have written so many songs and struggle with the concept of having to wait to release them, but I am proud of this album and it’s a really important step in my progression as an artist.”
Does the whole album fit into a particular musical genre, or does it borrow from multiple forms?
“It certainly doesn’t fit into one particular genre, as I hope was the case with my previous albums. It’s broadly a lot more synth/electronica based than my previous releases, but there are slow trip-hop(ish) songs, parts that resemble disco, drum n bass, techno, trance and someone even suggested one song was closest to avant-garde musical theatre! I honestly would hate to have to write about this album as a reviewer, because I would be a bit lost as to how to describe it. I just hope people enjoy the ride.”