Taking us on a lush and ethereal adventure is a singer-songwriter, musician, and recording artist Josh Kroehn with his latest 8-track album, "Moving Out."
Josh Kroehn's art has been heavily influenced by the guitar playing of Ben Howard, John Martyn, and Nick Drake and composition approaches like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Radiohead, and Talk Talk. He's performed around Adelaide and South Australia while swooning listeners with his textured and dynamic guitar playing that speaks a thousand words. Now releasing his sophomore album 'Moving Out,' let's peel back yet another layer of the driven recording artist's complex creations.
The album 'Moving Out' kicks off with the blissful introductory track, "Leaves," which breaks open like a radiant beam of morning sun slowly peeking over the hills and rising onto the lush sonic foreground that is Josh Kroehn's stunning instrumentals and production. This song is a short but sweet interlude-type introduction piece that perfectly and hauntingly sets the tone for the following emotional and vulnerable tracks to come. We love the deep synth work alongside the floating and reverbed electric guitar, a combination for the soul.
As we move into track number two, "Quantity," we're met with the warm and smooth-sailing alternative instrumentals that open with a soothing keyboard melody and a wavy west coast-like electric guitar raining down from above. As Josh Kroehn makes his vocal appearance, he begins falling deep into reflection as he expands on leaving earth's peaceful and stable ground to float around and find his purpose. This song also features the beautiful vocal stylings of Rosanna Barani, which dance through our speakers with the utmost grace, clarity, and emotion.
Drifting into the third track, "School Photos," this song begins with Josh Kroehn's complex acoustic guitar picking that keeps the song's emotion at a high. As he begins to sing of childhood bedrooms and the photos within, memories come flooding back while Rosanna Barani's harmonious vocals come in to enhance that emotional experience. As a set of serene and orchestral strings begin to roam the background, Kroehn livens the energy and nostalgia through his sincere and soulful acoustic guitar melodies, ending the song on a resounding note of introspection.
Reaching the album's halfway point with "Residue," this song opens with incredible sonic emotion through heavy piano chords and crunchy electric guitars that slowly pierce through our speakers. As the piano melody begins to shift into this haunting and cinematic arrangement, the background sonics pick up the pace and bring us into a spiraling atmosphere that feels like the album's climax. This song is another instrumental but perfectly divides the project's first and second half through this magnetic and mesmerizing sonic journey.
Spicing things up with track number five, "Balcony Beers," for the first time on the project, we hear a hip-hop-inspired drum arrangement that opens the song with energy and emotion. The instrumentals later expand with added reverbed electric guitar picking and low, growing synths that deepen the atmosphere into this surreal and heavy soundscape. Listening to Josh Kroehn's lyricism, he expands on hovering crows and society's herd mentality that keeps us in line without questioning how we can step outside the box and carve our own path.
Each song's introduction on this project carries its own unique sound, and we can't get enough of the dreamy and mystical acoustic guitar picking on track number six, "Double." As Josh Kroehn's vocals begin to float through our speakers with the utmost poise and gentleness, he starts singing of the choices he's made that's landed him in some deep states of reflection, questioning if these choices were the right ones. Josh Kroehn carries such lyrical depth, and he's truly mastered the art of transmuting thoughts to cohesive, compelling lyrics.
The warmth and tenderness of Josh Kroehn's lush electric guitar open track number seven, "Breaking Out," alongside his delicate vocal portrayal that sings the familiar scenes of late-night blues and going through the motions day in and out. The song's gentle and reverbed electric guitar is the sole instrument throughout this entire piece. It perfectly allows Josh Kroehn to open up and shine in the spotlight with his delicate words of realizing the trouble he's caused someone and promising never to put them through such turmoil ever again.
Onto the project's outro and title track, "Moving Out," this song cinematically opens with a powerful and emotional piano melody alongside Josh Kroehn's warm and captivating vocals that touch on strolling his empty yard and hanging those memories to rest. This song is chilling to the core, and the addition of a warm acoustic guitar alongside the slight percussion offers vast depth and vulnerability. Not to mention the serene stylings of Rosanna Barani, she joins Josh Kroehn one last time on the song's outro to help close the album on a note of change, transformation, and rebirth.
Do yourself a favor and feed our soul with the eight lush tracks on Josh Kroehn's sophomore album, 'Moving Out,' now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Josh Kroehn. Congratulations on releasing your sincere and vulnerable sophomore album, ‘Moving Out’. What inspired you to create this reflective and personal project?
Thanks for having me guys. This album was mostly written during isolation in 2020 when the pandemic first started. It was a time when I was getting used to living on my own for the first time, as I moved into my house in March of that year. It was also the year I released my debut album ‘State Of Devotion’ which is such a different record to this one. ‘Moving Out’ is a collection of songs that are essentially reflections on previous events that I just sat and pondered about greatly, whilst moving into my house and enduring the lockdowns and restrictions imposed here in Australia.
What is 'Moving Out' at its core? What does this album represent and mean to you?
I think it’s a record that shows I have moved on from the darkness of my debut album ‘State Of Devotion.’ I endured a lot of stress and trauma in my teenage years and early twenties, and my first album was a cathartic release of all the pent-up emotions stemming from that. Over the last few years, I have achieved a lot on a personal level, and I feel like I am completely comfortable with who I am now and I will no longer change who I am to suit others. That was something I was guilty of for far too long, and it really did take its toll on me. Learning to be unapologetically myself has been truly fulfilling and liberating.
What was it like working with vocalist Rosanna Barani for 'Moving Out?’ Was this the first time you worked together?
Rosie was fantastic the whole way through the process. My initial plan was to only have her sing on the track ‘School Photos’. The song idea came from sitting on my bed going through old school photos when I was unpacking crates moving into my house. I couldn’t help but think of the people who had already passed since I finished school in 2012, some of them my friends. I had always wanted to sing a duet with a female vocalist, after being inspired by Dallas Green’s collaboration with Pink (You + Me) and Phoebe Bridger’s collaboration with Noah Gundersen. Because ‘School Photos’ is about sharing memories of those who have passed with others so their memory can live on, I wanted an extra voice on the track to give a sense of harmony and togetherness. Back in 2016, I was hired to play guitar for Rosie’s performance of ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ by Joni Mitchell. I’m a big Joni Mitchell fan, and I was immediately impressed with Rosie’s angelic tone and control. When I was looking for a vocalist for ‘School Photos’ I thought back to her performance and felt she had the kind of voice I was looking for. Once we had ‘School Photos’ figured out, I felt it would be a waste of an opportunity not to get her to contribute more to the record. Her part on ‘Quantity’ was meant to be a short fade-out transition into ‘School Photos’, but instead I got her to improvise her own vocal melodies over the last instrumental. Joseph Cheek (Island Studios) the studio engineer and I both liked her parts that much, we decided to just layer them like a collage, which created one of my favorite soundscapes on the album. She has very natural control and super accurate pitch, so I wanted to give her creative license, rather than instructing her what to do too much. I’m also glad she sang such lush harmonies on the closer (the title track) which really lifts the second half of the song, and to me represents a reprise of the first tracks of the album.
Could you take us through what your creative process looked like when formulating songs for 'Moving Out?’ How did you begin that process?
It was very sporadic, and the timeline was all over the place. Both ‘Double’ and ‘School Photos’ were the first two songs to come about through messing around with strange tunings on my acoustic guitars during the lockdown in 2020. ‘Leaves’, ‘Quantity’, ‘Residue’ and ‘Balcony Beers’ all quickly followed. These were also the result of experimenting with obscure open tunings, and I found one that I really enjoyed playing in on my semi-hollow Les Paul, which was used for all four of these tracks. ‘Leaves’ is the intro to ‘Quantity’ and ‘Residue’ is the intro to ‘Balcony Beers’. I consider them co-dependent of each other, however, I wanted them as separate tracks so that the listener could choose to skip the ambient openings if they wished. ‘Breaking Out’ is a sorry message to my Mum for breaking out of her work carpark with her company car when I was younger on a night out. In lockdown last year I thought back and felt guilty about the stress I put her under in the aftermath of that event and ended up writing the song in about 20 minutes. ‘Moving Out’ as the title track is the summative song of the record, and it was written last. It is a reflection of how I was feeling in March 2020 when I first moved into my house, and I feel it is the perfect closer.
What emotions or thoughts do you hope to evoke in the listener when experiencing your recent album, 'Moving Out?’
I’ve always said that I like my music for the most part to have a sense of ambiguity, and I like the idea that people can interpret it the way they want to. I think that is what makes instrumental music so powerful. Both Leaves and Residue are instrumental tracks on the record, and they are an indicator of the direction I am going to head into next if I choose to continue to make music. In terms of the more lyrically driven songs, they are introspections about past events, and I feel these are events that are relatable to many. Therefore, I’d like listeners to have their own individual experience, without me imposing any pre-conceived notion of how one should be feeling or thinking whilst listening to the record.