Joseph Hein’s uplifting album AM Gold is every reason to wake up with a cheerful outlook. Vividly portrayed by an organic landscape of soothing tones and harmonies, the Eastern Washington state native has composed twelve songs with ‘In The Sunshine’ as the lead single. Wrapped with warm standards and inspiring themes, the sophomore album packs a different approach with the potential to flood radio waves.
In anticipation of the upcoming release, Hein was gracious enough to share a few comments in an interview. Nearly two years upon his debut album ‘Following Fog, ’ Hein discussed themes and direction, adventures with nature and the great outdoors and plans for the upcoming release.
Most of the album features a positive and forward thinking vibe that isn’t found often in today’s musical releases.
1. What inspired or motivated you to create such an uplifting album?
Thanks, Jacob. I wanted to make AM Gold with a positive feeling, rather than negative. My previous work has included edgier attitudes and themes. I wrote and composed a lot of the album on a Rhodes, which gave the building blocks of the record a clean feel. That, I think transferred into the lyrical composition. In the process of writing, recording and performing the songs, you hear them so many times, that the words become like a mantra. When I started really working on the songs I was coming out of creative slump which made it feel right to have the themes from AM Gold carry a forward thinking positivity and hopefulness as if the lyrics were my mantra. I think this positive state of mind gave me a stronger ability to create.
You released a video on social media playing the physical LP of your album a few weeks ago in anticipation of the release.
2. Was there a listening party orchestrated as well upon arrival? How do you celebrate such a milestone and achievement?
Yes, that was a test pressing. I was very excited to get a physical copy. No big party or anything, but definitely threw it on the turntable first thing. Looking forward to getting the final pressings!
Forests, deserts and open fields seem to be your ideal escape destinations.
3. What do these organic settings do for you creatively? Do they inspire you in a different way?
I am attracted to living in homes out of town. Big natural landscapes are inspiring and peaceful for me as a working environment. The album was born and bred in rural eastern Washington and the Columbia River Gorge. Also a good portion of the lyrics for AM Gold were created and fine-tuned in Joshua Tree, California. It’s hard to put into words exactly how an environment is effecting the music, but I can say that this album came from where I was during the process. I am curious how it would have turned had it been written and recorded in a dramatically different environment.
You seem to be an avid collector of vinyl records.
4. Which records would you consider your prized possessions?
I don’t have any rare or valuable records, and would even consider myself an avid vinyl collector. However, for me listening to vinyl is still a special occasion compared to other media platforms.
5. Which records do you suggest people include while creating a physical collection?
Mine of course, haha.
AM Gold is scheduled to debut in October.
6. Are there any updates you can share about an upcoming tour or which cities you plan on performing in?
Next month I will be playing some solo shows around Washington and close to home. This January I will be doing a longer tour with a full band. We will be doing the west coast and southern states.
It appears you’re more than comfortable with an array of instruments.
7. Do you arrange your music completely or is it a collaborative effort amongst musicians?
I arrange all of my music and played all of the instrumentation on “AM Gold”. The two previous albums, “Holy Hive”, and “Following Fog”, feature other musicians. I love the blend of different musical feelings coming together. On those, I invited friends to bring their style and licks into the recordings. My intention was for it to be more collaborative, like a real band. My favorite aspect of the music is playing the songs live with a band. I love performing. For “AM Gold”, I had the same intention early on, but as I filled out the demos myself, it just eventually made sense to bring the same thing to the studio. It was actually empowering to do it all myself.
You mentioned making a video for the first album single ‘In The Sunshine.’
8. Can you share any insight in the making of the video? Themes? Concepts? Areas in focus? Messages?
The video for In The Sunshine was filmed in LA. It was directed by Ian McGee, a buddy who is with a film company called The Paint Shop. It was really fun to work with a crew of professionals. I did some classic lip singing and playing instruments. My role in the video is like a re-appearing minstrel that may or may not be real, but in the imagination of the lead character’s mind. Her name is Haley Appell. She plays a wandering, confused individual who can’t get the song out of her head, or out of her mind.
Final question. Thank you for your time. We at Ellenwood wish you the best success in the album release. Thank you for your time.
Last time while you performed in Los Angeles you were in search of a nerd bar.
9. Did you ever find such a place? What are your must do acuities while in southern California?
Never found a nerd bar haha. I would recommend visiting Joshua tree. It is simply epic. This past winter I was in Southern California recording the album at Singing Serpent Studios with Rafter Roberts.
AM Gold Tracklisting
01. Looking Backwards
02. In the Sunshine
03. Countless Nights
05. In a Daze
06. Been a Long Time
07. Unsuspecting Eyes
08. Fall Apart
09. Not All is Lost
12. The Path