Vance Joy's "Riptide" is an unlikely global phenomenon. It's not made of the ingredients that generally ripple around the world. There is no glossy pop production, recognizable cameo, or crowd-baiting drops. I have a hard time ever imaging any kind of club remix treatment. Instead, the tall, floppy-haired Australian songwriter pairs inspiration fleeced from Midnight Cowboy with scrappy bits of ukulele, a worldly rhythmic romp, and an infectious melody delivered in his feathered, slightly whimsical voice. It's a solid tune, as effective stripped to its roots as it is in fully-cloaked, album form.
In our recent studio visit with Vance (which is an alias, by the way. His real name is James Keogh), the former professional footballer was kind enough to take our crew through a solo stroll of the hit, as well "Mess Is Mine"; another little musical wonder from his recently released album, Dream Your Life Away. Alone, it's a perfect setting for a pair of songs that evoke nostalgia, romance, and adventure as they cycle through. In between we learn a little bit about what it means to have the opportunity to share music with a growing, rather ravenous audience. The invigoration Vance gets from his audience works both ways. See what we're talking about in this special, stripped down session.
- My name is Vance Joy. My debut album is Dream Your Life Away. I think your songwriting is always evolving, so you get a lot of room in an album to give a lot of different colors and flavors. And sometimes songs come out fully formed, but then there's other songs that is like 10 or four or five different parts of songs that you've written. You don't even see that they can possibly fit together. And so it's about, I guess, I'm using the same chords. Maybe these things could work together. It's nice to be able to go on a journey throughout the album, songs that I started writing five years ago to the ones that I wrote just two weeks before the album was due. Talking like we used to do. It was always me and you. Shaping up and shipping out, check me in and check me out. Do you like walking in the rain? When you think of love, do you think of pain? You can tell me what you see. Well, I will choose what I believe. Well, hold on, darling. This body is yours. This body is yours and mine. Well, hold on, my darling. This mess was yours. Now, your mess is mine. Oh, your mess is mine. See you in the marketplace walking 'round at 8:00 a.m. I got two hours before my flight, luck be on my side tonight. You're the reason that I feel so strong, the reason that I'm hanging on. You know you gave me all that time. Well, did I give enough of mine? Well, hold on, darling. This body is yours. This body is yours and mine. Well, hold on, my darling. This mess was yours. Now your mess is mine. Oh, your mess is mine. Your mess is mine. Bring me to your house and tell me sorry for the mess. Hey, I don't mind. You're talking in your sleep all the time. Well, you still make sense to me. Your mess is mine. Oh, your mess is mine. This body's yours and this body is mine. Oh, your mess is mine. Your mess is mine. I started writing it in 2008. I wrote the first two lines as a verse, and then four years later, I wrote the melody for the chorus. And I kinda hadn't even tried to revive the song. I didn't really think it was ever gonna come to fruition. Four years later, I wrote this melody, and it kinda made the first two lines come back to me. And then over a few days, I kinda had this stream of consciousness of just writing and just experimenting. And that song was a lot of experimentation with different parts. And I was just letting those connections happen, fitting words into that melody. This song has just kinda opened doors for me. If it's like going to Sweden and playing it at a random TV show there or somewhere else, it's like I've just kinda set no boundaries. I was scared of dentists and the dark. I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations. All my friends are turning green. You're the magician's assistant in their dreams. Oh, then they come unstuck. Lady running down to the river tide, taken away to the dark side. I wanna be your left-hand man. I love you when you're singing that song and I got a lump in my throat 'cause you gone and sang the words wrong. Here's this movie that I think you'll like. This guy decides to quit his job and head to New York City, this cowboy who's running from himself. She's been living on the highest shelf. Oh, oh, then they come unstuck. Lady running down to the river tide, taken away to the dark side. I wanna be your left-hand man. I love you when you're singing that song and I got a lump in my throat 'cause you gone and sang the words wrong. I just wanna, I just wanna know if you're gonna, if you're gonna stay. I just gotta, I just gotta know. I can't have it, I can't have it any other way. I swear she is destined for the screen Closest thing to Michelle Pfeiffer that you've ever seen. Oh, lady running down to the river tide, taken away to the dark side. I wanna be your left-hand man. I love you when you're singing that song and I got a lump in my throat 'cause you gone and sang the words wrong. A lady running down to the river tide, taken away to the dark side. I wanna be your left-hand man. I love you when you're singing that song and I got a lump in my throat 'cause you gone and sang the words wrong. And I got a lump in my throat 'cause you gone and sang the words wrong. I guess the best bit for me is playing a good show and then meeting people after. And they come and they're like, "I love this song, and this means a lot to me. " That's so good because that kinda reinvigorates you, gives you that passion to sing the songs and be in the songs and feel them again, so it's good. Hey, this is Vance Joy. You're watching Baeble Music.
Vance Joys debut EP God Loves You When Youre Dancing will be released stateside by Atlantic Records on September 3. The 5-song recording includes the breakout single "Riptide which hit Australian Top 40, #1 on Hype Machines Most Popular Chart and has been a constant in the iTunes Top 50 Singles Chart. Tone Deaf notes, "Vance Joy is worthy of any and all swirling buzz and will certainly be an interesting young artist to watch develop and grow, while Crave Online explains, "Vance Joy is about to become Australias hottest export. See below for a full track list.
James Keogh is the creative force behind Vance Joy. After completing a degree in law, Keogh decided to take a break to focus on music. He traveled to India and Southeast Asia with a collection of songs that all fell into place upon return. "Im learning subtleties in my voice, understanding what I sound like and trying to embrace who I am, he says. "It wasnt rushed songwriting at all. The EP was produced by John Castle (Lior, the Drones).
Following the recent signing to Atlantic Records, Vance Joy toured the U.S. with American songstress Lissie. Additionally, Vance Joy has supported acts including Ben Howard, Of Monsters & Men and Julia Stone on each of their recent Australian tours. Throughout July and August Vance Joy will support Bernard Fanning on his sold-out "Departures Tour in Australia, in addition to a stop at this years Splendour In The Grass and a headlining sold out Australian tour. Further U.S. tour dates to be announced soon.