Meet Joesef, who dissects heartbreak with his new EP, Does It Make U Feel Good?
The six-track EP features gentle songwriting, devastatingly beautiful lyricism, and a guest feature from Loyle Carner.
Header image by Nathan Jenkins.
Despite only recently coming across the name, we already know that Glasgow-based musician Joesef is someone that can really emphasise emotional depth within his songwriting. It was something central to his 2019 debut EP Play Me Something Nice, an introductory collection of tracks that presented not just a peek into the Scottish musician's craft and skillset, but also into what forms him as the person behind the acute lyricism; the EP navigating the highs and lows of a relationship as it reaches it most passionate moments – in both the good and the bad ways.
It's been a year since that EP came out, and Joesef has grown – a lot. Does It Make U Feel Good? showcases this, with the six-track sophomore EP being a snapshot of his life a year later, and the evolution that has defined the musician's past twelve months both in the context of that relationship and also his processing of it, emotionally and musically (which really come hand in hand). It depicts the relationship's continuing journey – its end, its re-beginning, and its final end (we've all been there) – with a more evolved potency, one that really draws you into the story to feel its every aching moment.
Does It Make U Feel Good? is awash with these aching moments, even in its most euphoric parts. Everything Belongs To You marries gentle keys and gospel-like cries in the space of a short two-minutes that leads into The Sun Is Up Forever, a moment which feels like Joesef freeing himself from the constraints of the past relationship: "Don’t want you to hold me, console me, control me / You know that I am better off out here alone," he sings.
The EP's title-track captures Joesef at his most upbeat – musically, anyway – with a chorus rushing with brass and percussive overlays amongst the EP's brightest hook. At the same time, I Wonder Why offers a stark contrast, enlisting Loyle Carner for the moment. It's one the EP's most reflective; an opportunity for Joesef to process the ever-changing shift of emotions through a musical lens, in perhaps the EP's most obvious example. "I think I was avoiding addressing that I was a bit fucked up at the start of the year because of a situation, so this tune sort of put a line under it," he says.
As a whole, the EP does a spectacular job of storytelling, diving into the complex depths of relationships in a way that feels like it grapples with every facet of it – even the ones that more than often are impossible to explain. "This EP draws a line under a relationship that I’ve written about in Play Me Something Nice, if that EP felt more hopeful, this is the end game," he says. "The bitterness, and the lies that stem from fading love, to the aftermath of dealing with loss and regret, and finally taking responsibility for my own actions. I don’t really give much away ever, so it will always make me feel uncomfortable sharing such personal aspects of my life, but maybe if it can help me work some shit out, it could help somebody else too."
It's powerfully beautiful, and you can dive into it below, as you better introduce yourself to the force behind the music:Tell us about yourself?
my name's joesef, i'm from glasgow, scotland, i'm a musician and producer, i write songs and i sing songs.
What’s the ‘vibe’ music-wise?
i tend to write about personal experiences, i find it quite hard to make shit up. i'm not really sure what my sound is my taste is all over the place and i think i tend to emulate what im listening to in a sense, i'd probably be making screamo tunes if that's what i was into, luckily it's not.
What are your production and writing processes usually like?
i just sit with the guitar and sing a lot of shite to get the melody, then i'll write about something that's been bothering me or going on to the melody then i'll build the production around that, it usually happens pretty fast. i always find if i'm forcing it it's usually a shit tune.
Can you tell us a bit about this new EP, Does It Make You Feel Good?
this EP is basically just my life in real time over the past few months, I think i've gotten a bit more personal in the writing, and I've tried my best to up my game a bit production wise. It's more of a grown up perspective on life in general as i see it in comparison to the first EP i think, i really love the tunes though.
Your track with Loyle Carner has become one of our recent favourites, can you tell us about the creation of the track and what it’s about?
the tune is about the sort of cyclical nature of heartache, and being quite self destructive in order to forget someone, i made the tune and my manager thought loyles voice would sound amazing on it, i've loved loyle for years his tunes mean a lot ot me and my mates, so they asked and he sent back a memo of him rapping over the track i nearly collapsed. i was so pleased with how it turned out in the end.
What do you want people to take away from the project?
i don't really know, i always forget people are going to hear it, hopefully they can get wee escape from whatever's going on in their life for a few minutes, i always love tunes that take you away for a bit.