Psyence make visionary, sensory, otherworldly sounds that scream out with a need for escapism. It’s the sort of freedom that we all crave in our lives, but one that we can’t always reach. Psyence strolled into our lives with their signature spacious rhythms and heavy hitting psych-blues rock..Distortion blaring, guitars ringing, percussion crashing. Once you’ve taken one listen to their mind-melding sounds, you’ll never be the same again.
In an industry that’s over saturated with conformists and replicated sounds of yesteryear, the Stoke foursome have carved out their own landing pad. I spoke to the band’s drummer, Joe Walsh, about his formative years in music, where the band cut their teeth on the live circuit and the songs that have soundtracked his life.
Who was the first person to inspire you to pick up an instrument and play?
“The first person/people ever to inspire me to take up the drums properly would have been friends at high school. Seeing them jam songs, at the time it would have been Arctic Monkeys ‘View from the Afternoon’ or ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor,’ was enough to make me want to try, then once I had taught myself a few beats and fills I was hooked.”
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
“It has always been drums for me, I did have an acoustic guitar when I was really young but my fingers have always been too fat to play.”
When did you realise that music was your passion and you had to pursue it?
“At the age of 16, as soon as I had left high school I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life. I had lessons from various teachers across the city but the one I owe a lot to is Chris Poole, he taught me everything I am able to play today and is an amazing drummer. As soon as I hit the age of 18 I practised every day for 2 years in my garage (my neighbours hate me). I now practice on a drum pad and 3 times a week in the studio with Psyence.”
Where did you play your first gig?
“The Glebe in Stoke town centre. It used to be a little sweat box with a massive pa which was really too big for the place, I was about 15/16, we got around 100 people crammed in to witness Steve’s (Psyence’s now lead singer) balls finally drop in the middle of singing our cover of ‘Klaxons – Golden Skans’.”
What has been the definitive record that has made the most impact on your life?
“The Stone Roses – ‘Second Coming.’ Hearing what Reni could play and listening to his technique was a life changing moment for me, I was mesmerised by his fluidity and I have idolised his drumming ever since.”
What’s your earliest musical memory?
“I was 8 when I got into music properly for the first time, I’d stay listening to ‘Top of the Pops ’99 Vol.1.’ Bands on that cassette include ‘Stereophonics’, ‘Suede’, & ‘Kula Shaker’ and they got me rocking from a young age.
Who is your favourite songwriter?
“My favourite songwriter is Neil Young, my dad showed me his music and I’ve never stopped listening since, I love how his songs tell a story, some songs are like a soundtrack to my life.”
A song lyric that means a lot to me is…
“I found myself singing, like a long lost friend. The same thing that makes you live, can kill you in the end.”
‘From Hank to Hendrix’ – Neil Young – Album: Harvest Moon.
A song that describes my current mood/frame of mind at this time is…