The Kaje talks songwriting with Ruarri Joseph

Following a turbulent 2009, Ruarri Joseph finally released “Shoulder to The Wheel” album in November. Ruarri’s career rather peculiar music career began, in part, when his Mother –  a practising witch – relocated her young Family from Cornwall to New Zealand, away from his alcoholic Father. With a growing love of music Ruarri headed back to England, met his wife to be at 17 years old, became a teenage Dad and worked as a nurse for the elderly and mentally ill. Finding musical solace gigging in a Jazz Cabaret band he stumbled into a solo record deal and supporting David Gray, Seth Lakeman and Paolo Nutini (with whom he remains close), Joseph then quit his contract.

Returning to his roots of song writing for fun, with his wife he set up his record label and then he now presents himself with a new album, a recently completed tour of the U.K. and d a fresh new burst of enthusiasm. The Kaje spent a few minutes with Joseph sharing his experiences of song writing, touring and future plans.

Let’s kick this off with an interesting fact..

When I’m alone I’m asleep.

You started your own label, what was that like?

It was like a slice of butter melting over a big old pile of flapjacks.

Is there anybody else signed to it?

Yes, a band called Grey Dog who have a record called ‘Maps’ that I hope you’ll hear sometime next year.

How do you get inspired to write songs?

Songs for me are a way of understanding something that I can’t necessarily articulate.  Sometimes I’ll write a song about something that’s bugging me and then when I sing the song it doesn’t bug me anymore.  That make sense?

I’ve heard you retreat to your shed to write your music, what’s it like?

Cold and dark but silent and liberating.

What’s this tour like, did you have a theme in mind or a message you really wanted to get across to the audience?

Our ethos on this tour was about enjoying it and trying to make sure whoever turned up to the shows enjoyed it too. 

What’s your favourite musical thing to do, e.g playing live, writing music?

I reckon it’s got to be the creative process and that applies across rehearsing, recording, playing live, whatever it is…so long as ideas are being explored and trialed.

What was it like playing Glastonbury?

The first time I played Glastonbury was headlining the Cabaret tent as the double bass player for a band called the Rhythm Doctors.  We had no rehearsals and I learned their entire show from a video tape of a gig they’d done in Germany ten years previous.  Suffice to say I was terrified.  So whenever I do it now, it’s a breeze!

What’s next for you?

I might go and have a lie down.

Can you tell us another random fact about yourself?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a wrestler.

Words: Eleni Kypridemos


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