DATE OF INTERVIEW:
22nd May 2010
METAL DISCOVERY: I actually first encountered your band in De Boerderij in Zoetermeer a few years ago. They were playing one of your DVDs in the bar next to the venue - I think I was there for a Riverside gig or something like that in 2005. I’ve since found out you seem to have a really big fan base in Holland and they really seem to have embraced your music over there, more so than in any other country. What’s led to your popularity over there do you think?
BRYAN JOSH: I think in England, in a lot of places, it’s probably just as big, if not bigger actually but, in Holland, I think it’s always gone down well and the people over there are fantastic, as you probably know. They’re open to music, and they support music. I guess that what we do they enjoy. We’ve played De Boerderij five, six, or seven times and we fill it every time now. The first time we played there it was about half full but from then onwards we’ve filled it, which is great. It’s one place in Holland we play but it is a particularly nice venue, as you know. I think the Dutch particularly like it; it’s just caught on there and we sell a lot of albums in the shops over there.
(Bryan Josh on supporting Bryan Adams at Murrayfield Stadium in 2007)
"I don’t know how many were there but it was just a sea of people. It was wonderful really…how many people get a chance to play a stadium? Bryan Adams was at the side the whole time...he loves the band."
Bryan backstage at the Drill Hall, Lincoln, 22nd May 2010
Interview & Photography by Mark Holmes
Photograph copyright © 2010 Mark Holmes - www.metal-discovery.com
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MOSTLY AUTUMN DISCOGRAPHY
Thanks to Suzanne Bielby for arranging the interview
For All We Shared... (1998)
The Spirit of Autumn Past (1999)
The Last Bright Light (2001)
Music Inspired by Lord of the Rings (2001)
Heroes Never Die - The Anthology (2002)
Catch the Spirit - The Complete Anthology (2002)
Storms Over Still Water (2005)
Heart Full of Sky (2006)
Glass Shadows (2008)
Pass the Clock (2009)
Go Well Diamond Heart (2010)
MD: You’ve played the Blues Café in Apeldoorn I think I’ve read before?
BJ: It’s been four years since we’ve been there but we did play that a few times. I love the place.
MD: It’s a tiny venue. It’s like a little pub, isn’t it!
BJ: It is!
MD: And Jan who runs it, a really nice bloke.
BJ: Yeah. We’d love to play there again but we’ve just not had the possibility. We’ve had some really good nights there; really hot and rammed out. But it’s a bit difficult to fit it in.
MD: You were booked to play Bloodstock, the first ever open air Bloodstock, in 2005 I think it was…
MD: Obviously it’s predominantly a metal fest - do you garner much interest from the metal community and have the organisers ever expressed an interest in booking you again?
BJ: Well, I was speaking to somebody who knows the organisers and I’ve asked him to tell them that we are interested because it did go down really well. It was strange because we put a heavier set on, because some of it is quite heavy, and all the kids there….it was predominantly kids there, 17 to 20 years olds or whatever, they were all going mental and it was just the strangest thing! It was really, really weird!
MD: What, like a big mosh pit for the first time in your career?!
BJ: Yeah, yeah! It was like they believed that was what you were supposed to be into so they got into it! And it went down really well. I think in the other years, I don’t know how they feel about having someone who’s already played there…you know, recently, again.
MD: I know they don’t book the same band in two consecutive years, but some they’ve had back every other year.
BJ: Well, we’d love to get on there again. I think we could put a great set on.
MD: I have to ask you about Murrayfield; Bryan Adams…how was that whole experience?
BJ: It was fantastic. It’s different playing in a stadium with god know how many tens of thousands of people. I don’t know how many were there but it was just a sea of people. It was wonderful really. A huge stage and…how many people get a chance to play a stadium? Bryan Adams was at the side the whole time, you know, he loves the band. He’s a big fan of the band so that helps! It was fantastic and an amazing gig. It’s a different sort of thing as you’re a bit further away; a little bit impersonal but amazing at the same time.
MD: Did you have a sense of - this is what it feels like to be Gilmour?!
BJ: Well, you sort of had a feeling of - this is big. It was something else.
MD: Did you have a feeling of - “Yes, this is where we belong”?
BJ: Yeah, oh definitely. Not just blowing our own trumpet but the band’s designed for that; it’s that sound…
MD: Definitely, yeah, it’s very epic sounding like Floyd.
BJ: Yeah, and it would really translate in that environment.
MD: Your ‘Pink Floyd Revisited’ DVD is pretty awesome stuff - have you ever considered playing a whole Floyd-based set again?
BJ: No, we haven’t really. It was something the record company wanted us to do at the time, knowing that we’re huge Floyd fans but no, we haven’t since. It can get a bit dodgy when you start going down the tribute kind of thing. You need to be recognised on your own merit really. It was fun but we’ve had to delete the DVDs for legal reasons because they got in a big row with EMI about it and Pink Floyd. And then when we got the rights to it, I just didn’t want to know; I didn’t want to have anything to do with that. We could’ve sold bloody loads of ‘em though. We get asked for it all the time.
MD: Yeah, particularly with Rick Wright’s commendation of the band too as he was a fan of yours.
BJ: He was, yeah.
MD: Was that around that time?
BJ: No, it was a bit after that actually. It was probably a year after that, I think.
MD: Apart from your evident 70s classic rock and folk influences, are there any more contemporary bands that you take anything from musically in any way?
BJ: Well, there’s bands I enjoy these days. Whether I take anything from them musically, it would be subconscious because we just write what we write. But I’m a huge fan of Coldplay, Elbow, and Keane actually, and Snow Patrol. I think they’re some of the great bands that I really respect now that are there and I really enjoy their sound. It’s funny as I didn’t like Coldplay for a long time but then something clicked and I got it.
MD: That was the same for me actually.
BJ: Yeah, for years I was like “I don’t like them”, then it was like “they’re unbelievable”. I just got it, you know.
MD: I think, for me, it was an anti-mainstream barrier where I told myself I’m not going to like it, then realised they’re actually really good songwriters.
BJ: Very good, yeah. Amazing live.
MD: What about a band like Porcupine Tree?
BJ: I like them, yeah. I’ve heard albums by them but I’ve never seen them. But yeah, a very good band.
MD: They’re an awesome live band.
BJ: Yeah, I’ve heard that from a lot of people.
MD: Are there any non-musical influences that inspire you to write music?
BJ: Only life really. Emotions and life.
MD: And the Lakes!
BJ: Yeah, stuff like that and things that happen in life. That’s what it’s all about really, things that you observe - heartbreaking things, beautiful things, You can never write a song, it just kind of happens. When you’re in a certain mood it charges and filters through, then it becomes something.
MD: Finally, apart from your tour schedule for the rest of the year, what does the future hold for Mostly Autumn…or what do you want it to hold for Mostly Autumn?
BJ: Well, it would be really nice to just keep progressing. I’ve always dreamt, as I did in the early days, to put some big shows on - very theatrical with the lights and stuff, and kind of marry the emotions of the sound and music with lights and a stage show saying exactly as I would like it to do. That’s where I want it to go. But progressing, and building, and more people getting into it. It all goes towards that. We’re gonna spend a lot more time this year trying to push the whole thing to another level because it’s hard being independent.
MD: So you definitely need to get Bloodstock again to get the kids into it!
BJ: Yeah, that’d be nice!
MD: I actually love coming to your gigs as I feel really young at 36 compared to most gigs I go to! You seem to get the older prog-rock crowd.
BJ: Yeah, well, we do. Funnily enough, some areas are a lot of young kids. It depends on where we’re playing; it really does. You go to The Brook sometimes in Southampton, or somewhere like that, and it’s a predominantly young audience there, as well as the older people. I’ve never given a hoot who’s in the audience as long as people are into the music.
MD: Out of interest, is there a noticeable difference between a crowd in Holland and a crowd in the UK in terms of age or gender?
BJ: Generally speaking, probably a bit younger in Holland, but it’s a bit of a mixture really. We actually get a lot of families with their daughters who have got into it because they’ve poured it onto them, so you actually get quite a crossover of that. You get a lot of younger people, and then they tell their friends. They’re definitely more open over there into music. They think good music’s cool, full-stop.
MD: Yeah, definitely. Right, thank you very much for your time.
BJ: Yeah, thank you, sir.