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Joshua Idehen

28th November 2022

Interview: Amy Bell

Joshua Idehen, a mainstay of the UK jazz/electronic scene and chameleonic artist follows on from recent successes, which include being named a 2021 one-to-watch by NME as part of jazz crew Calabashed as well as contributing vocals for two Mercury-nominated albums. Idehen also worked on the highly praised Sons Of Kemet album ‘Black To The Future’ alongside Kojey Radical and D Double E and it is this experience that Joshua brings to his new incarnation. Eager to push boundaries and express himself Joshua met in Stockholm with producer Ludvig Parment aka Saturday, Monday and decided to work on tracks exploring gospel house, rave and spoken word, in the vein of artists such as Faithless, The Streets, For Those I Love and Real Lies. 

Thanks so much for talking to ReVamp, who / what first inspired you to start creating music? And at what point did you know you had a passion for it?

I can speak to many instances that pushed me forward, but if forced to pick one: I came home from bartending, switched on the TV to Channel U, and saw the end of Dizzee Rascal’s I Love You which included a bit from the song Vexed. I’d never heard hip hop like that before: it felt more like a musical poem at the time, so honest and unflinching. It made me think “music could be different”.

Do you remember the first song you wrote/recorded and how has your music changed since this? 

It was a song called This Is London. I basically spoke over an Antibalas sample my brother banged together. I’d really hope my music has moved on since then

Your new EP ‘Hold Up Your Chin’, is now out, how has the feedback been so far? 

Tbh I had braced myself for a long battle against indifference: I am, of course, a spoken word artist making dance music. But yeah, the love has been real. Real in ways I didn’t expect. I got messages from places I’ve never even been. That spins me well, you know?

What made you create this EP and what was your inspiration behind it?

It’s a taster of what myself and Ludvig have coming. We wanted to put out an EP before the end of the year because we love tiny milestones like that.

How do you decide which songs will be on the EP?

Honestly? It came down to rock paper scissors. I lost, so you’ll just have to hear the amazing music that didn’t make the EP… later.

What goes on behind the scenes of recording and writing an EP?

Ludvig sends a beat. I spend anywhere between an hour to a month to write the verse and chorus. We record everything at Ludvig’s. We get our friends on the chorus. Then Ludvig spends an ages weaving god (producing)

You were nominated in 2021 for the NME one to watch, how did that make you feel knowing that your music was being recognised by such influential media? 

Weeeeeell, it wasn’t just me. Alabaster De Plume and several others formed that project so I can’t claim it all to myself. It felt great, validating: Calabashed is one of the greatest jazz projects ever to be undone by the pandemic. In a way, tho, it was that recognition that gave me the confidence to move forward with my own solo works.

What is next for you? Any shows in the works? 

By the time this comes out I would have done a mad, long weekend; three shows in three countries. After that, we’re finishing off the next big release and writing the album, and making sure my daughter has as muh laughter in her life as possible.

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