Vance Joy Q&A

Written by Alana Mazurke

After an incessant amount of touring just this year alone, Vance Joy or the more formally known James Keogh has had a string of good fortune with the recent five year signing to renowned Atlantic Records. He has showcased his debut EP ‘God Loves You When You’re Dancing’ relentlessly over parts of Australia and the US as well as playing multiple support slots, sold out local shows and will be playing at this year’s Splendour In The Grass. If that wasn’t enough, Vance Joy have just recently announced a solo tour of Canada along with another Australian stint, with details to be announced shortly!




Of course the first question I’m going to ask you about is the most recent signing to epic record label Atlantic Records; did you even initiate a thought let alone a doubt before signing or was there more to the decision for you? 

I had been talking with Atlantic Records for quite a while. So a lot of doubts I had came early on in the game. Like any big decision you spend a lot of time pondering and contemplating. But I realised I was in such a fortunate position and just went with the flow. I have a great team on my side. 

Is it hard to believe that from starting out by performing at open mic nights in Melbourne, you’ve gone to then opening for the likes of Julia Stone and Of Monsters and Men, to the success of the recent release of your debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing; what made you start performing and did you ever see yourself attaining all these accomplishments so very quickly?

It has all happened pretty quickly, and I am just enjoying the ride at the moment.  I guess back when I started I just wanted to play my songs for my friends. Then other people started enjoying them as well… I have been very fotunate to have been given a chance by these artists to support them. Touring with Julia Stone was amazing.She is great. It was great learning from artists that have been doing this for so long. Currently I am in the US touring with Lissie. She is a gun. 

Q3. With the rapid increase of your success in Australia and with the EP to soon be released through Atlantic Records worldwide, where do you see the end point for Vance Joy and or how would you like to see it finished? As bleak as it is to think of an end especially at this point in your career, I only ask because I can see yourself doing many great things with your music and I wonder how you want to be perceived as a musician in the future.

I don’t really foresee an end goal. I suppose I am inspired by people who are uncompromisingly themselves. I think that I would like to continue to be true to myself in the music I create. 

What are your thoughts on playing festivals? You’ve recently been announced to play at this year’s Splendour In The Grass and have had a recent stint at renowned SXSW; is it more intimidating in a way or rather easier as it is often a completely new audience?

SXSW was very interesting. You play shows to industry and sometimes punters. You’re basically just playing with thousands of other bands waiting to be heard.  Other festival performances like the Hills Are Alive that I did in March are great. Its just people having fun with a beautiful view to perform to. I am really looking forward to playing Splendour. I am not sure what to expect but I am excited by the line up and will take some time to enjoy the festival. 

It has been noted that a few of your influences include the likes of the great Paul Kelly and you’ve just been announced to join Bernard Fanning on his Australian tour starting from July; do you find yourself listening to predominantly Australian artists in particular male singer songwriters as you yourself are one? 

Not particularly. I listen to various artists and have done so since I was younger. You could argue that lot of what influences you you pick up randomly, like osmosis or something. 

2013 is basically the year of the tour for Vance Joy; throughout May and June you will be in the US as solo support for the wonderful Lissie before coming back to tour in Aus. With the signing to Atlantic Records am I safe to assume that you will head straight into an album rather than releasing a second EP and if so how much additional pressure is on yourself to write and complete an album while there’s so much else happening?

There is a lot of touring this year and I am learning to deal with everything that comes with that. It is all new to me, i am learning to adapt. I am working on an album. At the end of the Lissie tour I will record some songs in LA & then in a cabin in Seattle. Im really quite excited to start work on the album & put these songs that have been floating around in my head to bed, that might free up some room in there. 

Do you find your writing processes divulge between your present tense – what you’re doing then and there or in fact come about through more an imaginative coagulation  of stories and exterior influences? 

I think everything goes in the pot, the past the present…things you’ve dreamt up. You might start with a true story and tweak it to make it more interesting, or tweak it to make it more ambiguous, the tweaking might never end. 

You’ve recently released the film clip for ‘Riptide’ produced by Dimitri Batil (The Grates, Flight Facilities, The Holidays); how did this partnership evolve? It’s possibly one of the best film clips I’ve ever seen to cleverly bring light to the lyricism of a song! Was it the case of finding an actual Michelle Pfeiffer lookalike?!

 It was an interesting one. I had been sent a lot of various ideas. Some were great some were just not quite what I was looking for. There was something about dimitri’s that I just couldn’t say no to. He simply said ‘ I want the video to be literal.’ He even had a friend that looked like Michelle Pfeiffer. He intrigued me & his filming techniques even more so. He just went out on the road with some friends for a week & shot a whole heap of footage & the video is what returned.  I couldn’t be happier.  

Film Clip for latest single ‘Riptide’

EP ‘God Loves You When You’re Dancing’ available to buy here