Sweden’s Jose Gonzalez returns to Australian shores this February for some very special shows, after releasing his solo album Vestiges and Claws at the start of 2015. With seven years between Jose’s solo albums, fans are extremely keen to see the intimate shows lined up for early next year. Blank GC’s Sarah McEwan chatted to Jose about his tour, working on a soundtrack and his new love for plum liquor.
We Aussies are pretty excited for you to return next year, you have some pretty special shows coming up, how long has it been since you’ve been here?
We did a show with Junip a couple of years ago, but haven’t been to Australia doing my solo work in a while.
Your solo album, came out earlier this and it’s been seven years since we’ve heard solo stuff from you, how did it feel to release a solo album after so long?
It feels really good, I was really happy with the album and the artwork and got together a band that’s really grown within the first couple of shows we’ve done. It’s kind of a relief and really comfortable to get back to basics with my vocals and finger picking.
In those seven years, you were working with your side project Junip, how did that project come about?
Junip has been around for a while – we started back in the 90s. We did a couple of shows and recording but then stopped for a while when I was in university and released my solo album and then we got together again around 2005 and later in 2009. It’s been a long project with some good friends. For me now I’m in a very different headspace as we had a couple of years with Junip and then I focused on my solo music.
You worked on the soundtrack for the film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, how was that experience for you, working with film’?
It was fun, I was very inexperienced so I started doing demos and we tested that out with the first draft of the movie – they had already filmed most the footage. I went to New York to watch the draft and was expecting a very unfinished movie but it was just like watching such a perfectly crafted movie, so all the material I worked on was to an unfinished movie, some of the songs on the soundtrack I actually didn’t write I just did the vocals for.
Within the years of your side projects and getting back into your solo work, did you get any down time to travel?
Yeah, within every album cycle that I do there is time off, so just relaxing at home doing normal stuff like cooking food and drinking beer.
As you’ve been within the music industry for a while, have you worked with anyone in particular that has influenced your music recently?
Yeah, I can say Jessica Pratt who was on tour with us, her music has made me think more about changing harmonies within a song,
I’ve also read that you’ve worked with a lot of orchestras and worked with a punk band?
So the punk band was when I was a teenager and with the orchestra we did a two-week tour around New York and it was about 20 musicians from Berlin. I have a wide appreciation for a lot of different genres of music, when I listen to music I don’t listen to a lot of singer/songwriters.
So now I want you to describe the perfect scenery, food and beverage you would want your audience to have at your show?
Okay, so starting with beverage, usually I drink beer, it makes me burp. But the other week we got plum liquor which has been working pretty good with some ice – fruity but not too sweet. What I think people should be doing when I’m playing is more about clapping hands, closing their eyes, hugging a partner or a non partner and depending on the song maybe shouting or singing, sitting or dancing.
What’s the most memorable gig you’ve played?
Back in 2003, when we were in Australia, I have fond memories. I remember doing a show in New Zealand where I went bungee jumping and did a show at a winery which was fun.
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Jose Gonzalez returns to Australia in February with shows in Melbourne and Sydney before hitting The Tivoli in Brisbane on 10 February, supported by Tiny Ruins.