Last Sunday I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Josh Hoyer of Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal before his show at The Basement East. They were releasing the band’s recorded live all in one take album, hence the name, Cooked Raw. It was recorded back in June at the Welcome to 1979 Studios here in Nashville. He was so easy to talk to and his passion and love for what he does speaks through with every statement. His sound is a Rhythm and Blues, funky, soul and jazz sound that makes you want to dance and have fun. His voice is a deep booming, smooth, and igniting force that goes along with the many instruments that back him up as he also plays the piano with style. The stage was loaded with style that night as those horns blew, that electric guitar echoed, the bass was booming, and those drums were on fire. I walked in as they were finishing up sound check and I was blown away and really excited for the interview we were about to have and the show I was going to get to witness.
How are you? Y’all sounded good! You excited?
I am good, yeah the sound system here is killer, it’s always fun to play in places like this. I am glad to be playing.
Describe your sound to me.
We play music from the heart. Influences of jazz and R&B, some funk. I would say soul music from the heart.
How did you adapt it to what it is now, did you always have horns in mind?
Yeah, I always loved that element, loved watching the horn bands. We used to have back up singers too. The sound we have now was the point from the beginning.
How do you prepare for a live show like this?
We drive a long ways, spend a lot of money and make none, that is where it all starts. We drove over 80,000 miles this last year and a half. We play a lot. This last week we went to Nebraska, Nashville, to Missouri and Huntsville last night back to Nashville. We got home really late last night, but we got to sleep in so that is nice. Came on over and set up, and we are all set to go. Ready to ride the ride.
So are you tired or excited?
Tired all the time, we only have two drivers in the band and I am one of them, but once we hit our first note all that goes away. We are on. I am very excited too. There are going to be some people here tonight that haven’t heard us before and I think soul music is meant to make that connection with people. I think that is something that is very important to me, to make that connection through the music and touch each person’s heart.
What is your favorite song to play live?
I like them all. There are certain ballads that I love to play. We like to keep people dancing and have that nice mixture, but I like singing the ballads.
You have an amazing voice for it. Are you vocally trained or ever take lessons?
Thank you, my first performance was when I was four years old. My parents put me in a talent show and I have always enjoyed it. Took choir and stuff in school and I guess the closest to training I ever had was a choir teacher in high school. He saw that I was good at singing jazz, and I had really never done that before. He kind of took me under his wing and taught me to improvise. But more than anything I just turn on the emotion and let it go.
So your album, Cooked Raw, was recorded all in one take. Tell me about that.
Yeah, so it’s two sides, you play through all of one side in one sitting. So even the breaks are recorded and it was intense. But now that we have done it we know what to expect. We just did another recording, that is why we are in town and so the second time around we were less afraid to make mistakes. First time we were cautious and didn’t want to make mistakes. This time around I told everyone we just gotta play, it’s going to be okay if we make mistakes, we are human.
I have interviewed a couple of people who have recorded there, it sounds amazing.
Yeah it is totally classy and comfortable and you can tell they make a conscious effort to make you feel at home.
So what can we expect from your album that is set to be released in the spring?
I am really proud of the songs and Ken Coomer did an amazing job at producing the record. I am very lucky to be surrounded by some of the world’s greatest musicians. I am just a singer/songwriter that also plays piano but those guys are amazing and we all get along. So that is nice, there is just no way we would be able to do this if we didn’t love each other and those relationships also come out in the record.
So Ken heard you play and just said he wanted to do your next record? That sounds exciting.
Yeah he heard about us from a mutual friend and said he wanted to make our next record. He is great to work with too.
Who influences you?
I think music in general is getting more real again. We have been through this period in time where pop music has been so dumbed down from any real meaning whatsoever. So anyone who has created meaningful music from the heart influences me. One of my favorites is Charles Bradley, he just connects with the crowd, love to see him live. That is what I want, to put everything I have out into the crowd. We are at a time where people are looking for the real thing. I want to be a part of that.
A big thanks to Josh Hoyer and The Press House for this interview and letting me into his brain for a few minutes. He is such a genuine artist and I am really excited to see where his journey takes him. Check out their website and keep a look out for their upcoming record due out in the spring, Running From Love, from Silver Street Records.