Interview: Meet Australian Singer-Songwriter Josef Salvat

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Photo by Mark Kean

Even the most ruthless of music fans would struggle tremendously to speak ill of Joseph Salvat. The Australian singer-songwriter’s smooth, electro-synth beats and flawless vocals, fastened together to form irresistibly captivating melodies, have scored him a number of noteworthy successes. For example: Sony used Salvat’s gorgeously epic rendition of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” for product promotions, Banks asked him to join her on the British leg of her Goddess Tour, and a growing, worldwide fan base has officially latched on and have helped his tracks reach millions of online streams.

Without a full album out (yet), we emailed the tremendously talented and heartwarming musician about kid’s bringing their mums to his show, Australia’s knack for creating brilliant music, and totally serious rumor’s about Kim Kardashian’s album.

Australia is becoming a major exporter of great music. Is it just something in the water?

Australia has always been creating great music, I just think the world is a much smaller place than it ever was before, so more of it is crossing borders than it ever has. That said, there definitely is some particularly amazing stuff around at the moment – Chet Faker made one of my top three albums of 2014. But I’m sure if you went through the Triple J archives over the past 40 years, you’d be blown away by stuff you’ve never heard of.

You’ve played a good amount of festivals. Which is your favorite? Do you prefer festivals over regular venues?

The best festival was a tiny Dutch festival called Into the Great Wide Open. It’s on an island right in the north of the Netherlands. I played in this little pine forest that was like something out of Lord of the Rings, and then after the music’s finished, everyone heads down to the beach where they have these huge bonfires. It was so beautiful. But in terms of preference, there’s something so charged and ropey about festivals; they’re really great.

Can you tell me about your experience touring with Banks?

Was really cool, which I think is a rare thing to be able to say with a support tour. Obviously she’s great and her team was super accommodating. The thing you worry about is whether or not the audience is going to be receptive to your stuff because essentially you’re just holding them up from getting the jackpot they came for. But Banks’s audiences were amazing, so generous.

What was going on in your life when you wrote “Open Season”?

I had just signed my record deal and it looked nothing like I thought it would. It was quite a lonely experience and I realized that in my single mindedness to make the music thing work, I’d left all the love/friends on the other side of the world and forgotten to make new ones. So it was about changing priorities and realizing that the most important thing in life is actually other people.

What are some things you do to get the creative juices flowing?

Driving, night time, silence, books and walks of shame.

You split your time between England and Australia. How do the two compare?

The sky feels much further away from the ground in Australia. You also have the ocean. It’s an easy life and incredibly beautiful. I spend much more time inside in the UK but I do a lot more, I feel like I eat more of life. I’m also far more aware of being a human amongst other humans in the UK, which I like. You have much more personal space in Aus.

What are some of the most exciting things going on right now in music?

There’s this dude Paul McCartney who has been working with Kanye and now Rihanna. Taylor Swift has trademarked ‘This sick beat’ and ‘party like it’s 1989’ and I think it’ll be really interesting to see the impact of that on general social discourse. Rumor is that Kim Kardashian has an album coming out.

What advice would you give to budding musicians?

Take your time. Things take a while to incubate, and it’s harder than ever to allow yourself that time, so you have to be vigilant, even if you’re desperate to put stuff out. My only regrets have come from when I rushed through things, when I put things out that I knew were shit just because of deadlines.

What type of people do you think are connecting to your music?

I honestly can’t tell. It’s seems to be a really mixed bag. A lot of kids bringing their mums to shows though, which is promising?

What are your plans for the future?

Short term, to get an album out, which will happen this year. Long term, to get better at what I do, to evolve. I feel like I’ve been stagnant for about 6 years just trying to get things started. I’m ready to level up.