London-based singer-songwriter and producer, Joseph Bell is releasing his first single Flat 15 (Step Up) on January 31st at the end of the month, and with influences from both FKA Twigs and Bon Iver, The Fountain were intrigued. Joe spoke with The Fountain about his plans for 2020 as well as his gig at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival.
TF: You have a new single out, that must be exciting?
Yes!!! The single’s coming out on January 31st, super excited about the release as I’ve been sitting on it for a while now. Wrote and recorded it last summer, when I was finishing university in London.
TF: And what has been the reception been like to Flat 15 (Step Up), can you elaborate on the single?
So far so good! I’ve been taking my time to release music – I wanted to make sure I had something I was really happy with. I’ve spent the last year or two forcing my friends and family to listen to countless demos and a lot of crap too! I was really excited about this one, and the reception I got from the people I sent it to was great, so I finally decided I was ready to go. I built this song around the ‘beep’ you can hear playing all the way through – just looping bits and adding things. Then I wrote a load of verses before I settled with the ones in the final version. I wrote the song as I was coming to the end of university – I was stressing quite a bit about what to do after and all the existential threats of last year – climate change, Boris, etc etc… It’s basically a song filled with millennial angst and about all the pressures of the modern world. The song is called Flat 15 because the night I had the idea for the song I had to run off to a house party at my friend’s place, flat number 15. So I made a little voice note, saved it as Flat 15 and then came back to it the next day.
TF: And I know this is your debut single release but can we look forward to an EP or LP from you soon?
Hopefully! I have a few more songs I’ve been working on, which are nearly there. The plan at the minute is to release another single, and then an EP. I’m a massive overthinker and perfectionist so finishing recordings always takes me longer than it should, but an EP in early-mid 2020 is the goal.
TF: Will you be touring with this single release or launching it somewhere, will we have the pleasure of seeing you live soon here in Scotland?
I’ll be playing a short set at The Bedford in London on the 4th February, which is a great venue. May have a launch gig on the 30th January, but nothing 100% confirmed yet… A tour this year would be the dream, but no plans as of yet! We’ll see after the EP! I’ve spent the last 2 or 3 years gigging regularly around London and a few in Brighton as well so the plan is to keep expanding in 2020. I’d love to play in Scotland – if anyone wants to put me on then please get in touch. I’m quite low-maintenance – no extreme diva requests (yet)!
TF: And what has been your favourite gig to date?
I’ve enjoyed (nearly!) all of them for completely different reasons! I did play a stripped down set at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival on their Launchpad stage last August, which was loads of fun. I don’t play folk, but it was more about spotlighting local artists with acoustic influences. Everyone was sat around on hay bales, the beer was great and my ten-year-old brother and eight-year-old sister came and danced with me on stage. Super nice vibes. One of the days a guy called Tom who did Gong Bath workshops and specialised in Tibetan instruments joined me on stage – Flat 15 sounded very different! The whole weekend was great, that was definitely a 2019 highlight. I’d love to play more festivals this year.