Josh Gilligan is an independent artist from Ocala, Florida. He recently contacted MFH and asked me to give him a listen. With a sweet voice, and a definite knack for creating a listenable folk-pop song, Gilligan reminded me of MFH favorite Andrew Belle. His debut full-length record, Flesh and Blood, comes out June 19 on iTunes (more info below). Recently, Josh was kind enough to answer a few questions. Enjoy!
My Folking Heart: When did you decide to get into music?
Josh Gilligan: I come from a very musical family, so I’ve been surrounded by music nearly every day of my life. I really started to cling to music during my high school years, and I tried to learn any instrument that I could get my hands on (trumpet, bass, piano, guitar). When I graduated high school I bought some recording gear, and that opened the door for me to begin to write my own music at home and share it with my friends. I started hosting my music online in 2010, and I’ve been writing as much as I can ever since.
MFH: How would you describe your sound and/or musical style?
JG: I would say my music is melodic folk with a pop sensibility.
MFH: What can you tell us about your new album, Flesh and Blood?
JG: Flesh and Blood is my first full length record, and I couldn’t be more excited to release it. When I was writing the record, I tried to write songs that I’d want to listen to in 10 years. I approached the record with the mindset of it being a body of work, and I pushed myself to not just write a collection of disjointed singles. Since it’s my first release, I wanted it to pack a punch, so I capped it at 8 songs, and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.
MFH: How would you describe yourself as a songwriter? What is your songwriting process like?
JG I tend to write very personal songs. My songs almost always birth out of monumental personal experiences involving my relationships, my personal struggles, or my faith. As far as the process goes, it usually starts with a voice memo on my iPhone. I try not to force anything, and I like to let the songs grow over time.
MFH: What was the process like in creating the new record? How long did it take you to write, and then decide which songs would be included?
JG: Flesh and Blood was recorded in a friend’s lake house over the course of 4 days. I needed somewhere quiet, and I needed a place that sounded good. The lake house offered both of those things. The upper floor of the house has wood floors and a very open floor plan. My engineer, Jeremiah Dunlap, was able to achieve a big room sound that went right along with the feel I wanted for the record. I wrote most of Flesh and Blood in the month leading up to my time at the lake house, but I had been sitting on a few of the songs for about a year. Flesh and Blood tells a story, so I tried to only include songs that furthered that story.
MFH: You’re from Florida. What’s the music scene like down there?
JG: Florida has a lot of great music. Florida has a lot of forgettable music. Like any music scene, you dig for the good stuff and sift out the rest. The good artists will always rise above the noise. I can only hope that my music will find the people that need to hear it.
MFH: What was it like working with TW Walsh, who has worked with Sufjan Stevens, Rosie Thomas, and David Bazan?
JG: Working with TW has been awesome. He is a fast communicator, and that really helped things move along quickly. He’s very open to implementing the personal preferences of the artist into his work, but he still finds a way to leave his sonic footprint on the project. He’s worked on some of my favorite records, and when the opportunity arose to have him master Flesh and Blood it really was a no-brainer.
MFH: Where can we find Flesh and Blood, once it’s released?
JG: Flesh and Blood will be available on iTunes on June 19th, and there will be hard copies of the record available for online purchase at the beginning of July.
MFH: Are you planning on a tour in support of the new record?
JG: I would love to tour in support of the record, but I haven’t yet set anything in stone.
MFH: What should we look for from Josh Gilligan in 2012 and beyond?
JG:I plan to release a small EP in the fall that will include a few of the songs that weren’t complete at the time I tracked the record. Beyond that, I’m just excited to see where the record goes.
Extra Questions for Fun: (All of these answers are very much MFH approved)
MFH: Band/artist you’d love to play a show with?
JG: Ryan Adams
MFH: Favorite road trip jams?
JG: The Tallest Man On Earth
MFH: Favorite summer song?
JG: So far this summer, it’s “Icarus” by The Staves.