Vance Joy riding the riptide to American record label
RISING star Vance Joy (pictured) dreams of writing a a classic but he’s happy turning out decent songs along the way. Decent is a hefty understatement, with the talented Melbourne singer-songwriter snaring a contract that could see him produce up to five albums with American music label Atlantic Records. ‘‘The aim is to write a classic song that lives on,’’ he says. ‘‘That’s the big dream. I’m happy with the songs in between as well, a diet of decent songs.’’ Currently opening shows on Bernard Fanning’s national tour, Joy plays Splendour in the Grass on Saturday before taking his own Riptide show across Australia. ‘‘I’m just by myself with my guitar and my uke (at Fanning’s show) so that’s kind of pretty low key,’’ he says. Joy, 25, whose real name is James Keogh, recently recorded some tracks in Seattle that may land on his first album, which he hopes will come together early in 2014. He worked with Ryan Hadlock, who has produced albums for American rockers The Lumineers and Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, an English folk-rock band Joy admires. ‘‘He really tries to capture the vibe of a performance,’’ Joy says of Hadlock. ‘‘The sound is actually quite raw and unproduced.’’ Joy went into a music shop in 2007 and bought a ‘‘crap’’ ukulele and upgraded a few days before recording Riptide, which has featured in the iTunes top 50 singles chart and exceeded 500,000 views on YouTube. ‘‘The reason I picked one (a ukulele) up in the first place is that it was just a novelty and I thought it was cool. You play chords in different shapes you’re not used to and you kind of break out of your own . . . restrictive processes. It’s a cool, creative spark.’’ Joy says there is one line in Riptide that refers to a real person who sings the wrong words in songs but the rest is a collage of ideas and words. The partly autobiographical From Afar is the other single from Joy’s EP, God Loves You When You’re Dancing. ‘‘I feel like that’s one of my favourite songs,’’ he says. ‘‘Everyone has some kind of experience where they’re on the outside of love or looking at it from a distance.’’
Vance Joy plays Splendour in the Grass on Saturday and The Zoo, in Brisbane, on August 31.