WORDS : MALVIKA PADIN
“I find inspiration in everything – nature, past experiences, pain, love. usually, I find lyrics come to me by playing piano or guitar and the song writes itself somehow,” says American multi-hyphenate artist Joseph Edward “Joe” Mulherin in an ironic statement about his creative inspiration that brings a smile to your face when it’s juxtaposed with his stage nothing, nowhere.
The artist who attended film school before he began creating music, spent a large part of his youth surrounded by the world-building and story-telling of films, which he has carried over to his musical career. Talking about being inspired by everything from his dreams to his memories, Mulherin continues, “Sometimes I will wake up in the morning with a chord progression in my head.”
On his latest single “ lights (4444)”, which boasts a signature genre-flipping rap-rock soundscape, the 28-year-old artist delves into his own life from a third-person point-of-view as he builds on the relatable but personal story of being imprisoned by your memories and nostalgia; its narrative built on the foundation of the phrase ‘pain comes in different shades’
I’m always looking for something fresh; something new
Speaking of the message behind the track- the beginnings of which came to him while meditating- he says, “ The overarching theme is essentially nostalgia. when I examine my life from an outside perspective, it seems like I am right where I need to be. however, no matter what I always look back towards the past. I think we all fall victim to that sometimes.”
This brand-new single follows the release of nothing, nowhere’s One Takes Vol. 1 digital LP, a compilation of reworked and stripped-back versions of fan-favourite tracks. Delving into where the idea came from, he says, “ I just wanted something to give to listeners while I continue to work on future projects. I also wanted to approach older songs in a more intimate way – some of the original tracks are straight-up rap songs that sound really interesting as singer-songwriter guitar pieces.”
This remastered collection transforms his popular singles from earlier this year. Two of the most significant being “nightmare,” and “death.” While the former comes forth on One Takes Vol 1 in a stripped-back, emotive avatar, “death”(one take) stands strong with its early Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machinerap-rock influences.
Speaking specifically of the raw, bare-bones rendition of “nightmare”(one take), Mulherin talks about finding joy in pushing himself out of his sonic comfort zone. He says, “ I’m always looking for something fresh; something new. I guess I make so many different styles just because it’s fun. We will see, honestly, it could be anything.”
The hardest part is definitely breathing new life into it and making it sound like its own song. I never want to make a rework and have it sound like the original
If a listener wants to trace his progression as an artist, where you can find it is within the simple yet expansive world created by the word “anything.” Analyzing his own evolution, he says, “ Probably just my curiosity when it comes to music. So many artists get wrapped up in the genre, I’m glad I started to embrace the idea of just making music that I like and not worrying about the rest.”
However, not worrying about genres and focusing on making music that pleases him is not without challenges of its own. Talking about reworking and reinventing well-loved tracks as he has done on Vol.1 Mulherin explains,” The hardest part is definitely breathing new life into it and making it sound like its own song. I never want to make a rework and have it sound like the original.”
Moving on to memorable moments of his career, he answers that he’s grateful for everything he has had the opportunity to experience and achieve. But he does have a few moments he reflects fondly upon, saying “ “Oh man, it’s so hard to choose. opening for Fall Out Boy, working with Travis Barker on the bloodlust EP, playing sold-out shows in Europe. I’m just grateful for every day.”
Continuing to move forward with his love for music, the future is an open field of creativity and originality for nothing, nowhere as the previously mentioned “anything” stretches out in front of him. But he does reveal that a One Takes Volume 2 may be on the cards, answering “most definitely,” when asked about it.
For now, though, the prolific artist is taking things as they come, focusing less on creative ambition and more on creative freedom. As he puts it on the positive message he wants listeners to take away from his music- encouraging them to “KEEP GOING” – he’s on his musical journey to learn, grow and enjoy himself, as he evolves both as an artist and person one day at a time.
One Takes Vol 1 is out now