Leeds producer Far Caspian – aka Joel Johnston – is one of the lucky few who often works from his own home studio, bashing out new material at any given opportunity. So far, so COVID-19 friendly. Unfortunately, he and his band were set to tour the UK this April, which is a little harder to do ‘under the current circumstances’. Instead, he’ll be performing at Dork’s upcoming online festival, Homeschool.
Hi Joel! How’s it going? Are you coping ok with self-isolating?
Hello! I’m coping pretty well now. It took a wee bit of getting used to and limiting my Twitter scrolling time, but I’m getting there.
It must suck to have to pull shows, have you had loads and loads cancelled?
Yeah, it’s not very nice, this was the first time I had to do it. SXSW got pulled and then soon enough after that I had to reschedule April UK/EU tour dates.
How else has lockdown impacted you?
It’s made my shoulders stronger, I can’t do as many trips to the shop with the restrictions so I’ll usually try and do one big shop a week and that means slogging a load of heavy bags for a mile or so. I’ll be huge by the end of this. Or maybe I should just start bringing a suitcase?
Are you able to record songs while at home? What’s your usual set up like?
Yeah, that’s my day to day at the moment. Just loads of demoing. Luckily I produce all my stuff, so I’ve got what I need to get the job done. Usual set up is me with a coffee in my basement with a few guitars and bass, drum kit always set up and mic’d and a synth or two, but I’ll mostly use softsynths from my trusty midi.
How do you think the pandemic will impact the music you’re creating? Are you finding yourself drawn to more sombre themes and sounds, for example?
Weirdly enough I’d written a few tunes a couple of months ago before it all started and they are very appropriate for the times. (One’s called ‘House/Bored’.) I tend to lean more towards sombre themes anyway, so not much has changed.
Are there any musicians or albums that you gravitate to during tough times?
If I need something upbeat, I’ll usually throw on a bit of Elton or Paul Simon.
What about TV, books, podcasts and the like – what are you enjoying at the mo?
I’m not a great reader, so I’ve never been able to get into books, but I did the standard Tiger King binge last week. I also just watched Shia LaBeouf two new films, Honey Boy and Peanut Butter Falcon – both great watches.
Also, an amazing new documentary called Crip Camp. Many tears were shed throughout that.
Do you have any predictions for later this year?
Hopefully, in autumn we’ll be at a point by then where touring is possible. I’m building up as much new music as possible at the moment, so I’m sure there will be a couple of releases by the end of 2020.
What’s the first thing you’ll do once lockdown is over?
Head back to Ireland and give my Ma a big old hug.