JOSH KEECH: Leveling Up

Josh Keech

Bedford, UK-based songwriter and guitarist Josh Keech is influenced by a multitude of different genres evolving around rock and metal, and that is something that he successfully encapsulates on his debut EP entitled ‘Warrior in the Clouds, Part 1,” which was released back in June. Josh was recently featured on our Progotronics 38 compilation, and here is what he had to say about his young career and the EP.

Define the mission of your project.

The mission of this project is simply to try and get myself out there into the (Rock and Metal) music world, this is my debut solo project and I am at the very beginning of my music career. I hope with this project it can help me reach the next level of my career, and beyond. I want to show Rock/Metal music fans what I can do and the potential I have for future projects.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your recent EP “Warrior in the Clouds, part 1.”

A lot of these tracks I wrote when I was first learning guitar and getting into music. As a way of practice I would jam riffs, and if one really stuck out to me I’d write it down. Over time and after listening to different styles I amassed a big collection of ideas. Wondering what to do with them all I started jamming ideas and I put some older ideas together. Years later, with some tweaks here and there, the songs were formed into a rough idea of what they are today. Then with some more fine tuning (coming up with lead melodies and solos etc), the songs were ready to record.

Warrior in the Clouds, Part 1

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

The majority of the ideas I have written down in a folder where I keep old TABs from my guitar lessons back as a teenager. Here I have all my original ideas I wrote between 15-18 (I still have a lot left over). That folder is like the original source. But now, years later as I have gotten my own home studio. I have demos of the tracks I made for recording them properly in the future. I made them in Cubase with no drums, they’re not properly in time. They’re just guitar and bass. But they’re like the original idea, and I still have them on my computer.

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

Yes I think so! As I said the tracks were created over a long period of time, so I had a lot of time to put the ideas together and make sure it all flows well. I think the songs flow and transition very well into the next section. For example, in “Warrior” after the lead in the middle, the E chord with the drum fill transitions perfectly into the faster paced Neoclassical solo at the end.

Describe the approach to recording the EP.

I had a really fun time recording the EP! I spent a lot of time at my friend’s house, where I used their recording studio to record this EP. They were good enough to wanna help me out with this, and it’s great for them to use this as experience for themselves, in a recording and producing way. As we’re friends, we did have a laugh and a good time. But we didn’t let that get in the way of work, and I felt we worked incredibly well together. So I would say the approach was fun, but productive.

How long “Warrior in the Clouds” was in the making?

If you want to include the writing process from when I came up with the original ideas, this project has been in the making since 2015/16! But from when I had the idea to make this project real, it has been in the making since 2019. As I’ve said before, I wrote the ideas between ages 15-19, and I’ve had the project ready to record since 2020. Due to “things” happening at that time, I had to wait until June 2021 to officially start proper recording with my mates. The recording was finished in April 2022, and mixing and mastering was complete in May 2022. The EP released on 24th June 2022.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the EP?

The EP has many different styles, so I was influenced by many different artists in Rock and Metal. All of the bands/artists I was listening to at the time of when I wrote the original ideas.

These bands/artists include Metallica, Megadeth, Joe Satriani, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Randy Rhoads, Jimi Hendrix, Marty Freidman, Slayer, Machine Head, Nirvana and Obituary. Just to name a few!

What is your view on technology in music?

I think the current technology in music is fantastic! Considering I made this EP in my friends house just shows how crazy modern music tech is. You can make top tier sounding music from your own house, it’s just unbelievable! It’s amazing how technology has advanced over the last 10 years, it has certainly changed the whole landscape of music making. Having to hire out a studio and spending tons of money could be a thing of the past, I spent considerably less than if I went to a professional studio. It just makes sense for someone like me with a small budget (although you need to know the right people).

I know sometimes this new tech can get too much, like in canned processed pop music. But when used right it can save a lot of money. Not just with recording technology, but also with gear and playing live. Things are so much simpler and cost effective now. Just shows anyone can make music today. Whether that’s a good thing or not, who knows, but for me personally I wouldn’t be doing this without the technology we have today. So I am very happy it exists!

Josh Keech

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

Yes it does for me. The songs and song titles have their own separate meaning, some of them have a deep meaning for me personally. Others are more in line with the song title. But all these tracks were written during a tough period in my life, leaving college and everything that followed. So these songs are a therapy for me, and a reminder that not all that time was bad. Because these songs exist because of that feeling and just wanting to do what I wanted to do. Also a lot of these tracks are the first things I ever wrote, so they mean a lot to me.

I think “Faded Feelings” has the deepest meaning for me, because it’s an emotional song and it’s a track I wrote during the start of my bad time. The meaning behind that song is no matter what you’re feeling, how much it hurts, it’ll heal/fade in time. You go through all this feeling throughout the song, and then eventually it’ll fade, just like the song does.

What are your plans for the future?

Firstly, I’m going to continue making YouTube videos for as long as I can. I make Rock/Metal music and guitar oriented videos. Secondly, I will be starting work on Warrior Pt.2 very soon with the same friends who helped me with part 1. I originally had 12 tracks for a full length album, but we decided to split the album in half. The plan is to make the first 6 tracks (Pt.1), see how they do, then make the second 6 tracks. I’m hoping to take all feedback on board to help improve with these next tracks. I’m not sure how long it will be until Warrior Pt.2 is unveiled, but watch this space!

Also, I am hoping to make some physical copies of Pt.1 in the short future. I don’t know when yet but it’s in the pipeline.

Beyond that, my big hope for the future is to get bands and other projects together, and make bigger steps in achieving my goal of having a career in music. Right now it’s just me, with my good friends helping out as much as they can. I would like this solo project to be separate from any projects I do in the future. I want to have as many different avenues as possible, so if one fails I have others to fall back on. What I want more than anything is to be in a band, make music and tour the world. I really hope this project is the first stepping stone to achieving that one day.

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