Joe Davies looked comfortable as he sat in his black gaming chair for his first-ever interview before heading off to his real job as a shipping clerk.
Our conversation quickly progressed from the basic, “How did you get started in music?” and “Who were your early influences?” into an aspect of Joe’s life that I found admirable, his travels to different countries, but more on that in a moment.
Yes, his early influences were, of course, Paul van Dyk, and he, like other producers, listened to music that his elders didn’t appreciate. “When I was five or six, Sash played “Adelante” on TOTP (Top Of The Tops). It was my favorite song,” remembered Joe. “I requested it at a family event from the DJ when I was a kid. The DJ played it, and everybody hated it!” said a laughing Joe.
So, yes, we got that portion of the conversation out of the way.
His early dabbles with producing were achieved by using the DAW, FruityLoops, on an old laptop until he upgraded to a MacBook Pro in 2015. And, while it’s no surprise that young, talented producers need some assistance starting out, YouTube tutorials only go so far.
What is also admirable about Joe, and other producers, is his willingness to admit the use of engineers in aiding with his productions. “I’ve had tutorials with Allan Morrow, Greg Downey, and Liam Wilson,” said Joe. “And, I recommend every one of them – they’re all top blokes – but for me, working with Liam Wilson suits me better.”
Liam, an established music producer with over 100 original releases and more than 500 engineered tracks for varying artists, began MASS Music Ltd. back in 2018 with businessman, Corin Bayley, as a platform for new artists to be heard.
Working with Joe, Liam immediately saw his raw talent and immediately signed him to his label. “Liam has been great,” Joe proudly said. “He’s helped me a lot in finding new ways to create sounds. Sometimes I have to slow him down because he’s so good at what he does. He just powers through it! But, I’ve learned so much.”
Joe’s first single, “Inconsiderate” was released this year on April Fool’s Day, and while the release date may have been a coincidental joke, the track certainly isn’t. “Inconsiderate was inspired by Greg Downey’s remix of “So What” by Stoneface & Terminal,” explained Joe. “I love the subtle yet throbby bass. The whole track just builds and builds. I wanted to do something quite similar but with an angry John Askew sample in the middle.”
His second track, released only 10 weeks later on MASS was the vocal inspired, “Escape To Luminosity.” As Joe describes it, “The idea came from an old Discover Records track by David Newsum, ’63 Clerkenwell Road.’ It features an old school bassline and isn’t as heavy as most uplifting tracks, nowadays.” Admitting that he’s not a huge fan of vocal tracks, Joe deemed it necessary to reach outside of his comfort zone with this one. “The track was missing something, so I wanted to add some subtle, dreamy vocals to the song, and it works beautifully.”
And, while it’s common for producers to venture out to new labels, Joe feels comfortable under the tutelage of Liam and MASS at the moment. “I’m in a good place right now,” Joe said, “But, there’s always room for growth.” And by growth, Joe’s love of Psy-Trance is what’s pushing him with his next track. “I’m going hard with this one,” revealed Joe. “Right now, it’s a 145 b.p.m. song, but I need some input to see if it’s too hard.”
But, as stated earlier, music production hasn’t always been at the forefront of Joe’s mind. His impromptu, lengthy ventures to foreign countries are something that we all dream about, and in 2015 he began a series of trips that would make even the seasoned traveler jealous.
“I left in 2015 for Thailand, Indonesia & Malaysia,” recalled Joe. “It was a three-month trip, completely wild, and it was crazy to see how different the way of life was outside of Europe. I’d never been anywhere outside of Europe, so it was a big eye-opener. Families on scooters, electric cables everywhere, street food everywhere, it was a completely different atmosphere.”
Coming home for Christmas to see his family, Joe left again two weeks later and completed a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course. I didn’t think my English was that bad,” admitted Joe. “It was difficult, but I’m happy I did it.”
His brother’s birthday fell on the same day as one of John Askew’s Open To Close sets that saw Joe fly back, but immediately left afterward to return to Thailand.
“The third time I left to travel, I went to Australia,” said Joe. “I was sick of everyday life and working a boring job, so I just booked a one-way ticket and went there alone.” Joe continued, “I spent a year there, working in bars, farming, and anything I could do to earn money. I traveled along the east coast and met some amazing and special people.”
Finishing up his 13-month stint, Joe set out to South America for the final four weeks. “It was the longest I’d ever been away from home,” Joe realized. “I took my laptop and still worked on some projects, but I wasn’t giving production my full attention.”
There might be a reason for Joe to stick around nowadays, though. With two solid releases and another on the way, he and seven other people have launched a new promotions brand, VIAL8, that aims to bring established and new talent to the decks in local Birmingham clubs.
“It all started as an idea between the group,” Joe explained. “Everybody was all for it.” Their first event, held this past December at Birmingham’s, Suki10c, was a show that featured Russell Priest, Mark Allen, Dean Quinn, Gizer, James Arrowsmith, Dan Pearce, and Joe. “We really enjoyed it!” exclaimed Joe. “A few months later we joked about turning it up a notch and booking somebody like (John) Askew or (Greg) Downey for an Open To Close, and within a few weeks Downey agreed, and it was all set in stone!”
“In the future, we’re hoping to stay in Birmingham and just keep pumping out the best line-ups that we possibly can,” said a humble Joe. “We want to grow to keep the clubbers happy.”
With his positive attributes and happy-go-lucky style, it certainly appears that Joe Davies is not only a producer to watch with a growing promotions brand but overall just a helluva nice guy.
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