Interview with Joseph Arthur
Singer/songwriter Joseph Arthur talks with Cindy about this new fan-funded album The Ballad of Boogie Christ, its concept and guest appearances, as well as skateboarding with Ben Harper and Dhani Harrison.
Joseph Arthur's latest record, The Ballad of Boogie Christ, is not a typical release. Arthur took DIY route with his latest album and released it with a fan-funded budget. Arthur comments on the process of getting the funds together. Arthur specifies that it was not just asking his fans for money to put the record out, "I think I kind of just realized it was more than just help. It was a way of galvanizing your base and sort of being involved in the promotion and awareness of your record. It's essentially kind of a fire sale. You're not just asking for straight up donations, you're basically selling stuff. It's a cosmic yard sale basically." Arthur had eluded to his idea of having a fan-funded record in the past. Arthur comments on following through with the idea, "The minute it went live, I knew it was the right decision. It felt good and people responded positively with it." When asked by Cindy if he would do it again, Arthur said, "Yeah I would. I don't see why not. It's like the modern music business now." Arthur keeps true to the independent roots of the music industry, "It's the new way of selling music."
The Ballad of Boogie Christ has a psychadelic/soul feel to it and it's different from the typical solo acoustic record. Arthur comments on his influences and the evolution of music that became The Ballad of Boogie Christ, "It just evolved. At first it was going to be a solo acoustic record. This one was going to be a simple guitar and voice one. As you put it down the production sort of show what it needs. This one led to back up vocals and further production. It sort of had an organic feel to it." The Ballad of Boogie Christ features a magnitude of guest singers and musicians including former bandmate Ben Harper, and others including Joan Wasser, Paul Campellone, and Jim Keltner.
The Ballad of Boogie Christ is a concept album. Arthur explains to Cindy the idea behind his latest release, "I felt like it was about a guy who's either englightened or insane and it was kind of blurry as to which. That gave it a nice playing ground to what song's could be about and what they could say. It gave a freedom to express somewhat megalomaniacal ideas but also sort of spiritual tidbits." Arthur also comments on the role of faith and religion in his writing. "I don't usually have a problem talking about that stuff. I feel like music is a place where that stuff lives comfortably. To me, music is almost like a spiritual practice. To me, spirituality and that aspect of life should be fun and funny and that's kind of ultimately what I'm trying to achieve with this album."
Cindy and Joseph Arthur also remember his days with Ben Harper in the band Fistful of Mercy and how they started up. "We [Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur] had always talked about writing together and maybe going on tour. He asked me if I knew Dhani Harrison. So it was actually Ben that brought us all together." Typically, the three would get together and skateboard. Arthur comments on his entry to the world of skateboarding, "I do skateboard but I'm not way into it. I seem to get into bands that are way into it. I don't know what it is about me and people who love skateboarding."