Producer and singer-songwriter Josh Sampson has done what we’ve all dreamed of doing. He quit his job, turned to music, and released his DIY slice of rock n’ roll.
Following the release of his classically cool and Aussie sounding track Run to Me, Sampson had a chat to Happy about all things music.
Solo artist Josh Sampson, talks us through leaving your 9-5 for music and finally jumping on the King Gizzard bandwagon.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
JOSH SAMPSON: Sitting out the back this afternoon. It’s a sunny day in Perth, the birds are chirping. Big, expansive blue sky overhead. I’m feeling expansive. It’s time to share.
HAPPY: We’ve been loving the new single! How does it feel having it out there in the world?
JOSH SAMPSON: Feels good. Been sitting on Grow Up With You for ages, so it’s good to set it free. People are enjoying it, response is good, family and friends getting around it, happy days…the viral TikTok dance is close too, I can feel it.
HAPPY: Could you tell us a bit about the track?
JOSH SAMPSON: Many years ago I’d promised my sister that I’d write a song about us. It was casual, you know? Like “Can you write a song about us?”, “Yeah, sure haha.” Anyway, I forgot about the promise, but sure enough, last year, the nagging began. Soon mum joined in, then dad, aunts, uncles, distant cousins, even my step-mum… all adding their voices to the rising nag crescendo: “You said you would”,”It’s not fair.” I would have brushed it off, but a Sampson never breaks a promise to a Sampson… and nobody questions my loyalty to the clan. So, I delivered.
Grow Up With You is about our shared childhood and adolescence. Family, home and the ebbs and flows of it all, who I was, what we’ve been through together, and how we weave in and out of each other’s lives.
HAPPY: Could you tell us about your decision to pursue music full-time? Was there something that sparked this decision?
JOSH SAMPSON: It’s not a full-time thing… yet. Maybe in the future, see where the wind takes us. As everyone knows, starting out as an independent artist is financially bonkers and you still need to work. What I DID do is leave a full-time permanent job with classic office hours for something with more flexibility, so that I could put heart and soul into it. Unless you’re going full commune, you need to keep that money rolling in. First the money, then the power, then the respect. I live by it, Tony Montana lives by it. You should too.
I have songs that I need to get out there, I need them in the world not just in my head. That’s the real spark.
HAPPY: Were there any particular musicians you were inspired by when writing/recording this song?
JOSH SAMPSON: As far as the instrumentation and production on Grow Up With You, the wonky folk/country feel owes a debt to Neil Young, Paul Kelly – his early album Post is one that I absolutely love and has a semi-similar stripped back feel, some of the ballad-y stuff by The Replacements and mid-60s Bob Dylan acoustic/electric stuff.
HAPPY: Do you have many more songs in the bank?
JOSH SAMPSON: Yes indeed, lots of songs. Another one out soon and plenty on the horizon.
HAPPY: Are there any other artists you’re really digging at the moment?
JOSH SAMPSON: I’ve been flogging this UK rapper J Hus, he’s incredible. You know how Kanye West‘s music does that thing where tracks can flip between funny and spiritual, angry, sad, euphoric? – there’s this super wide spectrum of emotion on the records. J Hus has the same gift, he’s a star.
I’m a big Springsteen fan and have been for some time – Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Born to Run. The classics, you know? I always come back to ’em.
I recently properly discovered King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. For years I’d never bothered to actually listen to them because of the name – I was like, pfft sounds like a bad fantasy novel. Then I chanced upon the trailer for Chunky Shrapnel and I was like, “ah, yep” bring on the elves and dragons. Their discography is so massive, I’ve only just skimmed the surface, but they’re so talented. Unreal musicianship, super creative, some great tunes. That’s a lesson for young players, keep your mind open m8.
HAPPY: What’s next for Josh Sampson? Any other exciting plans in the works?
JOSH SAMPSON: Very close to dropping EP No.1, with EP No.2 well and truly underway. I’ll put out the first single from that soon enough. Getting the gears in motion for a live show is next on the agenda… I don’t know, it’s a strange time in my life, in all our lives really, with this virus bringing society to a grinding halt.
Between this and the bush fires, it’s literally a Ten Plagues of Egypt vibe. Biblical times. In the midst of it though, I feel that there’s this optimism and sense of rebirth and hope. It seems like young people are very attuned to it. There’s an electricity in the air. The world as we knew it is disintegrating, and the big wheels are turning. Who will you be tomorrow? Your job and entire future might be gone. Many of us feel powerless, and that’s a terrible thing. But we have the chance to walk hand in hand with history, live differently, and maybe find greatness.
As far as exciting plans, I’ll be significantly expanding my life coaching business after the release of this interview. It’s a flexible profession for a young musician and I recommend it.
HAPPY: Cheers for the chat!
JOSH SAMPSON: Opportunities and blessings to you and yours.
Check out his first two singles on Spotify below: