Josha Daniel

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Josha Daniel

Where are you currently based?

I’m currently based in Noordwijk, The Netherlands. A small village near the coast of Holland where I grew up.

How did you first start playing music?

Music has always been a very big part of my life. I always loved singing and remember one of the first rock concerts I went to in my hometown. I saw those guys playing live on stage and it just blew me away! I knew this was what I wanted to do and after that concert I asked my mother if I could play the electric guitar. She said yes and after having some guitar lessons I formed a band with a couple of friends from school, nothing serious but we had the best time of our lives. We always felt the urge to write our own songs and never really played covers. A few years later things were starting to get a bit more serious and I really wanted to write songs and make music on a more professional level.

What’s been happening recently and how has your Covid experience been so far?

2020 was a very weird, but also exciting year for me. I was busy finishing my album and had some plans to play live for the first time with my new music. The whole festival season was canceled so I thought it would be better to just focus on writing more music. I feel very grateful that I  have my studio at home so I can work whenever want, that’s really nice. Since 2020 I also signed a publishing deal with Cloud9. They connect me to other producers/songwriters so I really have plenty of work and inspiration that keeps me going. This summer they’ve sent me on a writing trip to Berlin and I even had some online writing sessions. It’s cool that we can use the technologie to write with people all around the globe, but I really hope that it will be over soon so we can truly connect again.

Your new album ‘Dream Of You’ is out now, what influenced the sound and songwriting?

‘Dream Of You’ is the very first album I produced and wrote myself. After quitting my band I knew I did not want to stop making music and felt that I wanted to do something truly for myself. I wanted to make music that felt pure and honest, without any compromises. Over the years I collected a lot of sounds, plugins, guitars, synthesizers and effects and they all inspire me in my writing proces. I love the sound of analog gear like my Prophet Rev2, but also use a lot of soft synths in my productions because they get better every year and it’s just really fast to work with.

How did you go about writing the music?

The way I write songs is the way a lot of modern producers work nowadays, with my Macbook and Logic Pro x. For me it always starts off with music only. I try to make a solid track that’s already tells a story to me, without any vocals or lyrics. When I feel that it’s time, I just start singing and try to translate the music into words to tell a story. For me this works for most of the time. Even for the title track ‘Dream Of You’ the instrumental was already finished for 99%. Only this time I liked the instrumental so much that I thought my voice killed the vibe of it. I just could not finish it. After a few months of trying I just woke up with the Dream Of You vocal ID in my head and now I’m really happy with the end result. Sometimes you just have to put an idea aside, especially when you work on it by yourself 🙂

Where and when did you record/produce/master?

All at the same time haha. Okay that’s not entirely true, but the way I see it is that it all works together as a balanced triangle. I write, record, produce and master in the same project. This way I have all my favorite plugins/FX and sounds ready so I can work fast. Also I can already feel the vibe of the master chain and get a better picture of the end result while working on the track. For me this works best, because I can just keep going without any time consuming exporting stems etc. When the track is nearly finished, my brother Devi (NEW_ID) opens up my project for the last tweaks and does the final master. We’ve built the template together and he knows exactly what he’s doing. I always think its great to have an extra pair of ears because after a while you’re just used to the way it sounds and you can’t make any objective decisions anymore. And sometimes you just have to kill your darlings!

Please tell us about how you approached the recording/production process:

For this album I wanted to experiment with lots of instruments and styles of singing, but still wanted to have a clear focus and overall sound. What really helped me accomplishing an overall sound is that I made a very big template with all of my favorite reverbs, delays etc. This way it feels like songs of the album sits in the same space. All guitars where recorded trough a Bassman 100 72 amp and I only used one mic for my vocals, the Aston Origin. My main synth sound for pads is the Dave Smith Prophet Rev2. I just love analog filters, noise and the level of imperfection. There’s just some magic to it that plugins sometimes can’t match up to and it really inspired the overall sound of my album. I recorded all synths and vocals true a UAD Apollo Twin Quad with an Octo satellite for extra DSP to go crazy on the plugins.

What programs/instruments did you use?

DAW: Logic Pro X. I started Ends > begin and Room for Error in Ableton Live, but ended up exporting all the tracks to Logic because it matches my workflow better
Plugins: Roland Cloud, UAD, Valhalla, Soundtoys, Fabfilter, Wavesfactory, Waves, Sonarworx & many more
Instruments: Fender Telecaster, Gibson ES325, Prophet Rev2, Epiphone Thunderbird bass

Please tell us about your transition from being in a band to going solo:

In 2013 I started a band with a few friends from my hometown: Silent War. We all shared the same drive and knew this was something we wanted to do. We experienced some crazy adventures together and I can only look back on that time with a big smile. Unfortunately after a few year we all felt that we needed to do something else and we all went a different way. This is when I started my solo project. I always produced the demo’s for the band, so it felt very natural to me to start producing my own music.

How did you come to work with and release on Enroute Records?

I met Quirijn at Armada when my brother Devi was invited to play there during ADE. My brother used to work with him when Quirijn was part of Volt & state so he introduced me to him. Q told me that he had some instrumentals he was working on and I offered him to write some vocals for them. The week later he actually send me the tracks and I was really thrilled to write for him. I wrote and sang the vocals for’ Higher’ and ‘On Your Mind’ and that’s how we started working together. I just started producing my own songs and asked Quirijn if he could give me some feedback on the production. After a few months I was confident to ask him if he wanted to release it on his record lable, Enroute. He helped me out with the release, promo and still gives me feedback on my tracks. He’s also very much into indie styles of music so I think it was just right place, right time. We became close friends and it’s just great to work with people who have the same passion about music.

What do you like to do away from music?

When I’m not in the studio, I love to go to the beach. I’ve been (kite)surfing ever since I was 13 and work part-time in a kitesurf store in NL. It’s just great to clear your mind, exercise and have some fun with friends. You should definitely go try it out!

Who are you listening to at the moment?

I feel very inspired by ‘indie’ acts like M83, Foals, the XX, RÜFÜS DU SOL, but also more ambient artists like George FitzGerald, Jon Hopkins & Rival Consoles. I guess what I love about music is that it’s a real journey and it takes you to another dimension.

What’s planned for the remainder of 2020 going into 2021?

For now I want to focus more on the live aspect and work on my live setup. Also I started on album 2 so let’s see where that will take me.

Favourite food and place to hangout?

Thai Food – Any beach.

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