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Rob Joass - Interview with Rob Joass

19 Feb 2019 // An interview by Lou Clement

Folk singer and band member Rob Joass is due to release his new album Pencarrow in March. He spoke to Lou from Muzic.net.nz about his creative process for writing music; his enjoyment of performing live and his admiration for fellow artists.

Catch Rob Joass on his album release tour beginning in March and including venues in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington

How would you describe your music in one sentence?

I’m a singer/songwriter

How do you believe your music fits into the NZ music scene?

Ha! I’m not really sure what the ‘scene’ is. There’s a lot of us troubadours out in middle NZ playing cafe’s, folk clubs, country halls, bars, house concerts - whoever will have us. We get some support from Radio NZ and local stations, but we exist outside the mainstream.

Do you have any plans for future collaborations with other musicians? Who would they be?

No plans, but I’m always looking for people that inspire me to jam with or do some gigs together. I already have a pretty impressive group of friends that I work with when the opportunity arises.

Where do you get your ideas for your lyrics?

I stare off in to space, and if I’m real lucky, inspiration strikes. I’ve been writing songs for a long time now, so my brain is kind of hard-wired to turn random thought in lyrics. But it’s work, isn’t it? You sit in front of a blank page and hope something coalesces. I have hundreds and hundreds of pieces of paper around herewith scraps of lyrics on them, most of which are rubbish…..

What is the best part of playing in front of a live audience?

I love the immediacy of it. You’re trying to forge a connection between yourself and the audience, and when it clicks, it’s the best job there is.

What was the best event you performed at, and why?

South County Fair, Southern Alberta, Canada. It’s a great festival, but there are lots of those. This was the first time Hobnail played a festival overseas, and to travel half way across the world, play a festival in the prairies of Canada and own it felt like a huge achievement.

What is your favourite place play live in NZ? Mussel Inn. I’ve been playing there once or twice a year for about 20 years now and love it every single time.

What are your plans for the rest of this year?

Tour my solo album, then I have some shows with Too Many Chiefs (Laura Collins Andrew London, Wayne Mason) in June, and then it’s the Hobnail 25th Anniversary tour. We’re releasing a “Best Of” and I’m compiling that at the moment.

Who do you admire in NZ music at the moment?

Adam McGrath and Delaney Davidson are the first names that come to mind. I remember being interviewed on National Radio and being called the hardest working musician in NZ, and I thought nah, not even close. Adam and Delaney make me look like a lightweight. Great guys, too.

What is the strangest thing that has happened to you while playing on tour?

A long time ago when Hobnail were playing Irish Bars we got asked to play on the back of a truck in a St Patrick's Day Parade. The parade drove up the main road of New Plymouth, which takes about 5 minutes, and then we thought we were done. But the guy who was paying us made us keep playing as we drove back through side streets, past houses with people mowing their lawns and walking their dogs. This was about 11am on a Sunday, and we were quite a bit hung over. Surreal. Felt like we were in a scene from a Taika Waititi movie.


About Rob Joass

Rob Joass writes compulsively, tours incessantly, teaches guitar, produces albums, and can be found behind a mixing desk live and in the studio when time allows.

Rob moved to New Zealand from his native Sydney over 25 years ago. Since then he has maintained a consistently high profile in folk music circles in New Zealand, having released 10 albums with his bands Hobnail, Too Many Chiefs and The Shot Band, and touring the country regularly. He has been a finalist at the NZ music awards 3 times (twice for best country song, once for best folk album) and has had songs covered by bands in New Zealand and Canada.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Rob Joass


Year: 2019
Type: Album
Black And White
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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