Unseen Plays: What is up Josh! We are glad you are here for this interview. Welcome to the UP family. Let’s start with the first question we ask everyone. Tell us about yourself! How did your music project come together? What is your music background? What got you down this path?
Josh: Hey hey! Great to be here. I am a musician from San Diego who has been writing music since 2016. I grew up in church and have been singing in the choir since I was a little fourth grader. My foundation as a musician largely stems from singing and playing in church which I have done my whole life. It offered me a weekly opportunity to refine my chops and get used to performing in front of a live audience from a young age. Jazz has also been a huge influence on my playing and writing style. I was told by a music teacher that I had to learn jazz to be a serious musician, so being a young middle school kid wanting to be a good player, I listened to her. Although I do not believe what she said is entirely true, I am so grateful I forced myself to like jazz. It opened creative doors for me, taught me confidence, and showed me it was okay to break the rules and create anything I wanted. Studying throughout high school and college with my mentor Tonga Ross-Ma’u, I found freedom and a deep love for music from jazz while still being a commercial/pop musician. He helped me find confidence in my writing ever since I wrote my first song in a friend’s loft in high school, and he has shown me many parts of the vast ocean that is music. Since then I have been constantly writing, refining, performing, recording, releasing, and falling in love with music. I draw inspiration from bands like The 1975, Young the Giant, Paramore, Hippo Campus, Last Dinosaurs, and more recently, ‘90s rock bands like Smashing Pumpkins, Incubus, Radiohead, and Deftones. The ‘90s sound really seeps into the songs I write these days and I love it!!
Unseen Plays: We know you are from San Diego, CA. Tell us a little about the music scene there! How is SD treating Josh Urich Music?
Josh: The music scene is fun here in SD. I have been getting my feet wet this year playing more live shows in the area. The Holding Company and Winston’s have been great to my band and we have an awesome crowd that rolls up to shows! Being in school in San Diego has been great as well because I have such a close fanbase on campus and extra performance opportunities in my city.
Unseen Plays: How has your commercial music degree helped you with your own music project? And what’s something you learned from your studies at PLNU?
Josh: My Commercial Music degree has helped me immensely with my music. I have learned so much from being in this program. My professors are amazing, and my commerical music professor has been instrumental in shaping me into a well-informed and talented artist. I have learned how to write radio-ready music with depth, skill, and listenability, how to understand copyright and all the legal/business stuff involved in music, how to put on a great live show, and how to be a good leader to name a few skills.
Unseen Plays: Let’s discuss your latest single “Hypocrite”. What is this song about? And what does it mean to you?
Josh: “Hypocrite” follows the first-person POV of a hypocrite. They spout their advice and criticism everywhere but never take a second to look at their own flaws. They can do no wrong. Their judgments come from a place of insecurity and fear that their own faults will be exposed. This song challenges hypocrites everywhere and speaks to the fact that soon nothing that comes out of their mouths will matter to anyone. At the time of writing this song I felt like there were a lot of hypocrites around me, and I even felt like one at times. I really wanted to showcase the blind nature of hypocrites, because so often people can’t see their hypocrisy. Hypocrites work so hard to make sure everyone knows how great they are, but in the end everyone will forget about them.
Unseen Plays: Now, let’s get into the entire album titled “I Wonder If They Like Me” which contains 11 songs! We must say that it’s becoming harder to see artists have albums nowadays. It’s always single after single, no EP’s or albums. We get the strategy behind singles but tell us what inspired you to write an entire album?
Josh: Yeah, it is kind of bummer to me that albums are less and less popular these days. There’s something really special and challenging about putting together a cohesive group of songs compiled into a single work of art that tells a story and takes you on a journey. I released five singles over the past couple years which was fun, but I really wanted to tell a story in album form. I wanted to take people on a musical journey through some of my thoughts and experiences and I didn’t feel like one song was going to be enough. Writing and planning an album also forced me to write more music with a common thread as well as just write more songs in general. Writing this album helped me to finally find my sound, and I am hoping it is a good springboard for me to take off and do bigger and better things.
Unseen Plays: Does your album have a message or vision? If so, tell us about it.
Josh: “I Wonder If They Like Me” is a deep dive into myself. It tackles my insecurities, my faults, and my struggles. I have always had self-esteem and confidence issues, being bullied pretty badly at a young age, so the question of if people like me has been a constant in my life. I constantly doubt myself, my self-worth, if people think I’m any good, etc., and this album lays those insecurities bare. This year has been really good for me though and I feel like I have taken a huge step forward. Feeling confident in myself and proud of my place on this earth. It has not been an easy journey, but writing this record was extremely therapeutic and life-giving for me. “I Wonder If They Like Me” explores the darker depths of Josh Urich.
Unseen Plays: With an album as remarkable as this, who was involved in the making and did you write all the songs or are there co-writers?
Josh: Thank you! Every song was written and recorded by me. A mentor of mine who I previously mentioned, Tonga Ross-Ma’u, is a co-writer on Tracks (Reprise) and Pass Me By which were actually the first two songs I ever wrote back in 2016! Drums & percussion were played by Gabe Tacklind and a good portion of the BGVs were sung by my girlfriend Amara Harris, otherwise every instrument/voice you hear was played/sung by me. Josh Goode produced the album with me and mixed/mastered the entire album except for City Lights which was produced by Chris Cassriel and remixed by Goode. Goode was a big help in finishing the project. He tied the bow around the album. My small but very dedicated team helped make this dream a reality and took away some of the pressure off me feeling like I had to do everything. Very grateful.
Unseen Plays: Do you perform much? Or do you plan to perform this year? Any gigs coming up that we should attend?
Josh: I do perform a good amount, but looking to play much more! I just finished a string of about four shows in San Diego to help promote the album. At the moment nothing is on the books, but I am looking to add some summer shows and definitely plan to be playing consistently throughout the next year. Check my Instagram for updates if you are interested in seeing me play!
Unseen Plays: As a songwriter, how do you feel about your music daily? Would you say you are always joyful about music making? Or have you had your share of doubts and difficult days too?
Josh: My headspace can vary pretty wildly daily, but these days I have been feeling really happy and proud of my music. I have really enjoyed playing all of the new songs live at gigs and hearing the final masters after all the hard work that went into them. I would love to say that I am always joyful about the music making process. I often am, but there have definitely been times where I feel like I can’t write anything interesting, catchy, or new. When that happens I usually have to put my guitar down and just listen to my favorite artists or play songs I love on the guitar. That always makes me feel better and puts me in good headspace.
Unseen Plays: Can you share your songwriting process with us? It’s interesting to note how everyone writes music differently.
Josh: Of course! I really enjoy writing. Often, an idea for a melody pops into my head kind of out of nowhere. I have a hard time getting them out of my head so I write them down as soon as I can. I get fixated on certain hooks and then grind through the sometimes grueling stage of polishing the song form. I also create more sections with a good flow. Sometimes I start songs with chords or a chord hook while others have melody ideas I have to find harmony for. I always begin on guitar and pretty immediately will hear the drums in my head while I’m playing. I jam my fresh ideas out with my drummer and start adding the rest of the pieces when we get in the studio. BGVs and other tasteful elements are typically added last. Something cool that will happen to me every now and then is that I will dream melodies or sometimes entire songs! My song “Fiend” from the album actually started with a melody I dreamed. The unique sounding intro and verse melody was from a dream. Pretty cool because the line fit perfectly into open positions on a guitar in Eb standard which is all I play now.
Unseen Plays: Here is our last random question, just for fun! If you won $5000, what would you do with it?
Josh: I would be pretty stoked! I would donate a small portion, and probably buy a faster motorcycle or use it towards a better car haha.
Unseen Plays: Finally, where are you most active online and how can we connect with you as a fan?
Josh: I am most active on Instagram! I try to post daily on my account @josh.urich. It is one of the easiest ways to get a hold of me and see what I’m up to 🙂