Joel Sarakula:First Impression Lasts(Interview)

Joel Sarakula

Australian artist now based in the UK , Joel Sarakula talks about his musical influences, how to survive when one is lost in Europe and so much more.

Give me a list of artists out there who are doing dreamy feel good pop songs. It’s hard right? Imagine my excitement when I got across this young independent music maker from Australia. I’d say first impression lasts. Joel Sarakula knows how to really project himself on the media which got me to write a little post about him. With the release of the single Matchstick Girl this gave everyone an ultimate hint of what he can offer and deliver to listeners. Music that floats along with the breeze, translucent guitar riffs that emit spectral colors, bass and drums that move currents of emotions like ships into the distant oceans of the senses, these are all the goodies we can expect from the upcoming album The Golden Age. Sphere Music is glad to conduct a one on one with the important artist of this generation.

I noticed you cite the following as your sources of musical influence: Kate Bush, Pulp, David Bowie, ABBA, Morrissey, Disco, Hall & Oates, Elvis Costello..and a lot more. They have one thing in common: soaring melodies and dreamy soundscapes. How do you view angst in music?

Ha. Ok, first off, not sure if Elvis Costello, Pulp, disco artists and Hall & Oates can be put in the dreamy category… but soaring melodies, yes, yes, yes, I love emotional music and part of unlocking feelings is through the melody… But that can be in a direct way or a floatier way like you’ve observed. Melody is big for me, I grew up on The Beach Boys too.

The floaty thing was definitely going on with Matchstick Girl: artists like Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, The Smiths (as you observed) and Fleetwood Mac were kind of informing the sound of the arrangement.

Angst. Not sure about that. I loved Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins in the 90s, so I had my angst phase like a lot of kids and teenagers. I guess I found a way of expressing it and turned away from that grungy thing… I prefer positive emotions to negative I-hate-the-world-and-the-world-hates-me kind of emotions!

Ah, I follow you on the Cocteau Twins and This Mortal Coil references because I am also a huge admirer of their sounds! Now Bohemian is a single which you are currently promoting on your website. I also noticed your love for the minimalist look. So I gathered you are also a prolific singer/songwriter and classically trained on the piano before picking up the guitar. Please tell me what’s going on today in terms of your current release.

Cool. Bohemian was released last year in March, and I Will Deliver came out last August. Matchstick Girl is my current single.

I am building up to releasing my first UK album in June “The Golden Age”. It will feature all of these singles and my upcoming single ‘Only One Still Dancing’. It will be a vinyl only release which is quite exciting, it’s a great, great format, so much better than CD.

Yep, I had piano lessons as a kid, and I am a self-taught singer and guitarist. I’ve released many singles and albums in Australia previously and also travelled the world touring my music. Actually, through a lot of the 2000s I lived out of a suitcase travelling around Europe as a one-man-band of sorts playing the great dive bars of this fine continent: it was a great training ground of sorts.

Do you have similar sounding songs to Matchstick Girl. That sound is growing on me.

Yes, there are a couple more ‘dreamy’ sounding sounds on the record, my UK debut ‘The Golden Age’. Guess you’ll have to wait til I release that in early June. I can get you an advance copy for review if you are interested however!

Yes yes! Send me please. Now, you mentioned your music took you around the world. Say, you are lost somewhere in Europe and you have no means as of the moment to get back or to secure funds. What will you do to be able to make it for three days using your talents?

Make friends with them, perform with a small band of gypsy travellers and stay on their campsite, drinking moonshine and playing the guitar til the sun comes up.

What are your marketing plans for the release of your new album The Golden Age?

It’s a vinyl-only (and digital) release and I’m not signed with a major so it needs to be treated more carefully than the average mainstream release. I have had some success on UK radio previously, so I want to build on that. Getting it to the right stores where people are interested in hearing new vinyl records will be important too. But it’s ultimately a record of pop songs re-phrased for 2013 (although I am reclaiming the word ‘pop’ to mean more of the classic pop variety, eg. Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths, Cocteau Twins, The Beach Boys…) so there should be an audience for this somewhere. I just need to find them!

Can you say something to musicians or artists (writers,actors,painters etc)about being able to generate a buzz to be able to make a living through their talents?

I wish I could. When I work that out for myself I’ll be happy to share my knowledge! On a more serious note, I think persistence and hard work as uncool as that sounds can pay off. But I’ve had to search hard and hustle for opportunities. The business side of this is not a pretty game.

If someone asks to if you are interested to appear in movies, provided these are movies meant to really get you out there, what would you do to take advantage of the situation?

Well, if I thought it would be a good movie I’d probably do it regardless if it’s a vehicle for my music or not. I love the cinema, it’s my second love.

With all the technology we have in making music, what do you think people still need to master to make everything better?

Well, one could say that there’s too much technology out there. We know how to use it already, but do we know how to get the best out of it? I’m not sure it’s about mastering our abilities of the technology, but limiting our use of it. Too many options can be a bad thing!


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