Josh West

Tell us your real names, country of birth and childhood experience.

Our real names are Josh West and Glen West. We were both born in the US. I (Josh) was born in Glendale, Arizona in 1999. I’m actually a New Year’s Baby. My dad (Glen West) was born in Syracuse, New York in 1961. Glen started playing guitar at 15 years of age and hasn’t stopped playing since. I became interested in music early on because my dad was a guitar teacher and musician. Then when I was 11 I got serious about it and we started writing songs together when my dad realized I had a knack for melody.

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Tell us your academic qualification.

Glen graduated from the Musician’s Institute in California in 1984. I was homeschooled and graduated early at the age of 15 to start my musical career as soon as possible. Funny enough we did some research and found that 15 was the most common age for rock stars that dropped out of high school.

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Tell us about your music career, band name, musical background, experience and skills.

We’ve been writing together since 2010 and have only been performing publicly since about 2014. Dad is a black belt in music theory and guitar. I have no credentials whatsoever. But, we find that the differential in our musical abilities has been more of an asset than anything else. We always say that what I can’t do, he can and what he can’t do, I can. In 2017 I was on NBC’s The Voice, was a four-chair turn, and made it to the Top 20. It was a great experience for me. I learned a lot about being a performer and vocal theory, as well as how to present myself to potential fans. That was our first real big break, but we still have a long way to go.

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Tell us about your genre, concept and idea behind your music and the song.

We consider ourselves alternative pop rock. We write songs in lots of different styles, but that seems to be the focal point of our creativity. I’d say the song shoots pretty straight down that line. Alternative sounding lyrics and music with a rock energy and some pop sensibility in the melody is a good way to describe most of our songs.

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Tell us how to run a record label independently and successfully based on your experience as an artist.

Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? One time a record exec said I should sing more about girls like Justin Bieber does. Maybe that’s the secret sauce. In all seriousness, I think it comes down to having great songs and an even better strategy of getting them in front of both fans and gatekeepers. If somebody’s figured that out please let me know.

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Tell us how you are promoting your music.

We’ve recently started focusing our attention on YouTube because there’s a huge market there that is really hungry for music. There are a lot of people wanting covers so we figure we can build our channel with covers and slip our originals in to build our fan base.

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Tell us what makes you happy and what makes you sad.

Creating music is our favorite thing in the world. That moment when we find the song in whatever idea we’re working on is the best feeling in the world. It makes me sad when I consider our culture and how shallow and homogenized it all is. There’s very little humanity left in it. When was the last time a Top 40 song made you cry or made you feel invincible. I can’t. I have faith that true art will come back into popular culture, but sometimes it just feels like it’s an impossible climb for someone who wants to do something genuine and against the grain.

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Explain clearly the story or concept behind the song.

The story behind the song itself is actually pretty funny. Our favorite TV show was a comedy on NBC called “Community”. It was about a group of friends at a community college, and the characters really struck a nerve with us as well as being hilarious. There’s a dynamic between two characters named Troy and Jeff in the show that always intrigued me. I can’t remember the initial inception of the song but it was probably me just singing the phrase ‘Don’t make me laugh” while Glen and I were songwriting and later reverse engineering the song around that phrase and the meaning I had attached to it. It’s a conversation between Troy and Jeff. Jeff is older and more mature, but he’s also jaded, selfish, and shallow. Troy is much more innocent and kind-hearted. Throughout the show Troy is often shown questioning how to be a man and Jeff trying to lead him down a more cynical path. But, deep down Troy always knew it was wrong, and so did Jeff. The verses and chorus are Jeff speaking to Troy from his perspective of teaching and the “how can you be so sure?” lines are Troy questioning him. The bridge is Jeff’s ultimate confession of the hollowness of his lifestyle and the harm he brought on himself through it. We’re not this dreary in real life. I promise.

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List the radio stations, TV stations and blogs that have aired or featured your new song.

None to speak of except this one. But, we appreciate Broadtube featuring it!

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Give us links to where the song can be purchased.

 

iTunes

 

Google Play

 

Amazon

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Tell us about other members of your band, music producer, crew or music video director, how the song was recorded and how the music video was shot.

The song was recorded at Brick Road Studio in Scottsdale, Arizona. Scott Leader was our co-producer and engineer. The verse ended up sounding very Pink Floydy. That happened organically in the studio when they were getting the guitar tone. It just meshed perfectly with the vibe of the guitar part and the melody. I remember from the inception of the song I had found the chorus melody and thought it reminded me of Oasis. In fact, it sounded so familiar that we didn’t finish the song until we had searched through Oasis’s catalogue and made sure we hadn’t ripped them off. I wouldn’t want to scrap with them Gallagher brothers. Lyrically this is one of our more complex songs. It took a lot of time to get all of the imagery to make sense to us and to keep it consistent with the meaning of the song. This song ended up coming together much more simply than most of the other songs on our EP “Proof of Concept”.   But, one of my favorite unplanned musical parts we threw in in the studio is a baritone guitar part that plays during the Chorus and Bridge. It really made the song for me.

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Tell us how long you have been in the music industry, your experience and your future goal.

Glen has been in the music industry since the late 70’s. I’ve been in it since 2014. Our goal someday is to be the biggest band in the world. It might sound a little lofty, but if you aim low you’ll always hit your target.

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Tell us what makes you unique from others.

We’ve always thought of ourselves as being very unique in one sense and at the same time entirely pedestrian. I think the most unique aspects of the “Josh West” project are Glen’s particular and unique sense of chord structure combined with my ability to craft the melody to follow whatever direction he goes in and our lyrical emphasis on introspection and ideas. Plus, I guess the whole father/son duo thing is pretty out of the ordinary.

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Tell us your weakness and strength pertaining music.

Well, we tend to balance each other out when it comes to weaknesses and strengths, but I think we can both agree that both of us come up short in the area of production and recording. It’s never been something that either of us has excelled in or had much experience with. But, we’re working on changing that in the foreseeable future.  More importantly though, we refuse to follow trends or try to be commercial by compromising our artistic vision for our music.  That is strength for us personally but also a weakness in that it limits our opportunities for exposure and a readily available fan base.

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List your five favorite songs including the artists.

“Lover, You Should Have Come Over” by Jeff Buckley

 

“Eleanor Rigby” by The Beatles

 

“Seeking A Friend For The End Of the World” by Chris Cornell

 

“The Blues” by Switchfoot

 

“Starry Starry Night” by Don Mclean

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Tell us your position on “DIY” Do It Yourself” and signing to a major label.

That’s a tricky one. We’ve always wanted to be huge, but I don’t know if that’s possible without a major label. That seems to be changing, but I don’t know if indie artists will ever get the attention that major label artists do. It always feels icky when we talk about getting signed because of the horror stories you hear, but at the same time all the great bands that we love were signed to major labels. Of course, some of those horror stories are from the very same bands.

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Tell us other activities you will like to pursue apart from music.

Our day-to-day tends to be consumed by music so we don’t have much else going on. But, I’ve always been interested in film and TV. I also have made a hobby of tabletop roleplaying and creating my own game. Quite the nerdy hobby, but I take solace in the fact that Robert Plant was a big Tolkien Fan.

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List your various works.

Proof of Concept is our only EP.

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State links to connect you on social media.

 

Facebook

 

Instagram

 

Twitter

 

YouTube

 

Reverbnation

 

BandsinTown

 

Zazzle

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State the official date of release.

August 18th, 2017.

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State your artist’s name and elaborate on it.

The artist name is Josh West. Even though the musical partnership between me and my dad has always been 50/50 we decided it would be easier to market a single person and since I’m younger we went with Josh West. We’re considering changing it to the band name of Vanilla Aardvark, though. That was the name we originally wanted when the idea of working together was first conceived.

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State the title of the song and the meaning.

“Don’t Make Me Laugh” is a warning to those being led into a shallow, cynical and selfish life.

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State the title of the album and the reason for picking the title.

“Proof of Concept” is the title of the EP. We went with that because it was our first real musical statement and so it was sort of like we were designing a prototype for the rest of our career. We wanted to know if people liked it and if we could do this thing that we’ve dreamed of. So it was a very literal choice on our part in some sense. The album cover has a hand with drawn like the Vitruvian Man with fingers going in three main directions. One is going straight up, one is going diagonally up, and the other is going horizontally out. This symbolizes the three paths we can take in life. We can’t go straight up because we’re not perfect. We shouldn’t walk the horizontal line because that will get us nowhere. So, we have to take the hardest route and go at a slant towards Heaven. In my mind that’s become our calling card. I think people will see that symbols pop up a lot more in our designs as time goes on.

 

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