Q&A Scene: Joshua Moore ~ THE REDWOODS

The Redwoods, Photo: Xander Sanbrook

Tell us about your new single ‘I Wrote A Letter’

I Wrote a Letter is a song I wrote really intuitively at a time when I was going through a few different transitions. It’s one of those songs that I can recall exactly where I was sitting, what the weather was like, the view outside, all of that, as though it was yesterday. That sometimes happens with meaningful pieces of music for me, it’s like the creative process is left as a very specific imprint. The song itself is also a series of memories and images from my time in Oregon in the US, and the chorus was intended to bring all of those images and ideas together as a message of hope for what might come next.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time?

Currently I am making plans for the next video clip and single release. Making music is a part of my everyday life but releasing it into the world in an official capacity is still rather new and exciting, so I am enjoying the task of getting everything in place for the next creative venture. 

How would you describe your sound in food form and why? 

Perhaps it’s because I literally just ate this for lunch, but I kind of feel that it might be well described as a sushi platter. There’s a lot of rice, which is kind of a comfortable, well known staple, and that’s sort of reflective in the fact that a lot of the Redwoods sound is based upon the warm and familiar sound of an acoustic guitar, vintage drum tones, and a steady bass. We’ve heard it before but it doesn’t make it any less tasty. But then there’s a lot of different flavours going on around that. Be it lyrics, electric guitars with far out effects, odd percussion sounds, or the occasional extra beat in a bar, there’s always enough there to keep it fresh and interesting, just like a pepper squid sushi roll with a generous serving of wasabi.

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

Probably something I’ll remember forever is playing with Tom and Matt for the first time as a group. I think it was Tom’s sister who somehow worked for Greyhound Racing Australia and they needed entertainment at an event. I had never ever been to a greyhound race before and really can’t say the concept even sits with me very well but a gig’s a gig, right? So we go along and set up in a fairly in-the-way place, the security staff didn’t really know what to make of us and the whole event got rained out. The event staff were kind enough to give us some food vouchers but because of the rain only one food truck had turned up. Even as I recount the story, it feels like I’m talking about some vague dream I had. Everything felt out of place. If I remember correctly, we had a couple of beers and played some pool afterwards and it was a pretty good day, but I don’t think I’ll ever do that again.

What, or who, inspires you?

Right now I find myself really inspired by a lot of the Australian indie and rock music coming through. I didn’t much in the past, but I listen to a lot of Triple J these days and it can be a challenging experience sometimes because of how eclectic the rotation is, but I learn more about music through doing that than I would listening to my favourite records. And man, there is just some really great Aussie music happening right now. Spacey Jane is my current favourite.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Probably ‘Yesterday’. Is that too cliche? I mean, it’s just a perfect song. It’s evocative, catchy, relatable. It feels like it can’t have been written by any one person. It should have just come as the default song when music was created.

What’s next for you?

Looks like a whole lot of lockdown. I have been slowly putting together a vintage drum kit with pieces from the 70s and 80s and I’m looking forward to pretending to be a drummer for a while. Other than that, I just got Stardew Valley on my Switch, so I’m going to be watering a lot of crops.

What’s your scene?

It depends on the day of the week. When I’m looking after my daughter, my scene is hanging out with all the Mornington soccer mums at swimming lessons or the playground. If I’m playing music my scene can range from jazz nerds to headbangers. But at the heart of it, my real scene is hanging out at small music festivals, jamming around a fire until 3am with people I’ve never met, and trying to pretend that the hippy movement never died or got swallowed by capitalism.

THE REDWOODS ANNOUNCE NEW SINGLE & VIDEO I WROTE A LETTER

Gentle, philosophical and lush, Melbourne-based indie folk group The Redwoods have today unveiled their new single I Wrote A Letter.  The track acts as a loving obituary of sorts for a band no longer together; a collage of memories and happier times.  The Redwoods have also released a stunning video to accompany I Wrote A Letter, directed by Tomas Busby (Millar Jukes) and starring Jessie Oshodi.

I Wrote A Letter has a reverie to it that is deeply compelling – temperate, rambling percussion assuredly drives the story forward as soft acoustic guitar strums along underneath lead vocalist Joshua Moore’s idiosyncratic voice.  Recorded at Sing Sing Studio and at producer Callum Edwards’ home studio Sloth Studios, I Wrote A Letter evokes influences such as Fleet Foxes, Mumford and Sons and even iconic troubadour James Taylor.  Speaking on the creative process behind the track, Joshua says, I Wrote A Letter is a song I wrote the day after splitting up with a band I loved due to an altercation with the drummer who I also love but have had a troubled friendship with.  The lyrics came together in about 10-15 minutes and are mostly images, memories, and musings from some time we both spent in America, and in particular Oregon.  Though there’s no reference to the book, I often think of Jack Kerouac’s ‘Dharma Bums’ when I play it.  I like to leave my songs open to the interpretation of the listener, but the chorus is intended to evoke a feeling of both overwhelm and hope, two feelings that for myself I have often found to be mutually exclusive.”

 

The video for I Wrote A Letter is as compelling and powerful as the track itself.  Footage of The Redwoods performing the track amongst an actual forest of redwood trees is interspersed with footage of a young woman scrambling for answers amongst a steadily growing influx of letters, appearing as if from nowhere.  The clip is visually beautiful, hypnotic even – as Joshua describes, “I workshopped the idea for the clip with Tomas Busby, the director, one afternoon during lockdown.  I knew I wanted the clip to be shot at the Redwoods in Warburton and that I wanted a female lead to play a part, but it was Tomas who brought up the idea of letters actually appearing in the video, which made me think of the scene from the first Harry Potter book when letters come streaming through the chimney.  So, the aim became to slowly overwhelm the screen, the band, the lead actor Jessie, and the viewer with letters as the song went on, in something of a surreal horror-esque concept that could leave the audience guessing as to what was what and who was who.  Often I find that music and nature can tell their own stories without us getting in the way.”

 

I Wrote A Letter is a truly captivating song, expertly crafted by a songwriter who so clearly understands the power of exceptional songwriting – with this understanding probably due to a lifetime of loving music, as Joshua reflects, “I got into music through my father, who played, and still plays, bass in blues and rock bands.  So I spent a lot of time at pubs in Warrnambool when I was young watching him play.  I later took guitar really seriously when I left to board in Geelong, as I wasn’t really interested much in doing well in school and preferred to learn to play all my favourite records.  Things like Led Zeppelin, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty were staples, but there were bands like Jet, the Darkness, and the Vines that were popular at the time too.”

I Wrote A Letter is out now.

Listen: I WROTE A LETTER

Watch: I WROTE A LETTER

About Mary Boukouvalas 1301 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.

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