There are some songs that are so irritatingly annoying you only have to listen it once and it will get stuck in your head. As a direct service to you, the reader, I have decided NOT to embed Joel Sarakula’s debut song ‘Bohmemian’ just in case it spoils the rest of your day. I DO really like it, but have only just got the Muppet Man song out of my head from last month.
Anyway back to Joel, he is an Australian classically trained pianist turned singer / songwriter who has release a couple of really great Australian only record, but is currently putting the finishing touches to his ‘proper’ debut album out later this year.
How many instruments can you play?
I sing, play piano, guitar and bass guitar.
Who did you grow up listening to?
My tastes were fairly extreme growing up. From extreme pop artists like ABBA, Billy Joel and The Beatles to more avant garde and alternative stuff: Zappa, Velvet Underground, Nirvana, Captain Beefheart, Tom Waits, Kate Bush, Stockhausen!
Are you actually a Bohemian?
It’s a cliched term but I’ll wear it with pride. It’s become a bit of a theme song for me which is slightly confusing cause I originally wrote it with more than a hint of irony.
Does the single reflect the rest of the album musically?
Bohemian is a bit more direct in trying to grab the attention of the listener and it’s got a hook that you are going to either love or hate I guess! It’s also a bit more ramshackle in feel. When we were producing the song, we wanted it to sound like I was singing it very intimately, like I was in the listener’s bedroom, and then building the production so it grows to a cast of thousands by the end. The final chorus is actually sung by a drunken midnight choir of close friends in Sydney.
You have a reputation for energetic live shows, what sort of thing can people expect to see/ hear?
I think this is born out of necessity, not out of preparation. I usually have inadequate keyboard stands at my gigs and I need to bend and contort myself to reach down to the keys and the vocal microphone, or to flip around to the guitar. All of that crouching, contorting and swinging around probably looks like I am really energetic, but I didn’t intentionally plan it that way! Well, truthfully, we do like to dance a bit and get involved onstage.
My favourite performers are definitely entertainers: Jarvis Cocker, Morrissey, people like that who aren’t afraid of giving it a little and connecting with the crowd.
What is your favourite chord progression?
That’s a great question. I like the chord progression to God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, that’s close to the ultimate. I won’t actually write out the list of chords cause it’s ridiculously long and complex! second favourite would be Heroin by The Velvets which is just two chords. Played with feeling.
Who makes the best pianos?
I love old, shabby, slightly out-of-tune upright pianos that you sometimes find sitting in the dinghy, darkened corners of certain pubs. These pianos usually have unpronounceable German names. They make me think of everyone who has ever played on them or danced to them.
How many songs do you know how to play?
Are you trying to book me for a gig?
What is your fav song?
I don’t know, Bobby Brown ‘Every Little Step’? Actually, my current favourite song is Kurt Vile’s ‘On Tour’, that’s a beautiful number. My favourite song of mine to play at the moment is ‘Present Tense’, the B-side to ‘Bohemian’ (above).
Do you like Vegamite?
Occasionally. It’s somewhat similar to Marmite, they are both acquired tastes! It’s definitely not an easy sell convincing someone to try it, imagine saying ‘you’ll love it, it’s a salted yeast extract!’, hmm appetizing!
Joel has some UK dates coming up, for more info visit www.joelsarakula.com