First Look Friday: Stream The Soulfulness From Los Angeles' Own Joey Dosik
Armed with a voice that surprises most listeners, Joey Dosik is an extremely talented singer-songwriter from Los Angeles who is ready to take larger steps to the next level. As a young musician on the rise, Joey was a part of the then-budding musical renaissance that has now eclipsed the scene in the City of Angels. Running in similar circles as Kamasi Washington + Thundercat before they were liner note favorites, Joey absorbed any-and-everything jazz related while listening to the radio and his parents' Carole King records. A trained multi-instrumentalist, Joey Dosik can play just about anything you hand him. From piano to guitar to flute, Dosik's skill set is varied and well-versed.
After putting in years as a touring pianist for other artists, Joey decided that it was time to put in the work for himself and his career. He would shift focus from being an on-the-road sensation to building up a reputation for a talented songwriter. His transition would be an influential one, as he would go on to collaborate with such acts as Miguel Atwood Ferguson, Mocky and Vulfpeck. With a voice that sounds as smooth as peanut butter and flows like running water, Joey Dosik is a soul serenading everyman who is fueled by nothing but ambition and heart. In fact, his recently released EP, Game Winner, was recorded while recovering from Reconstructive ACL surgery in 2015.
A full-length album, Inside Voice, which he co-produced with Mocky is due for release sometime soon this year. This week's First Look Friday subject might not have "get money" issues as a theme in his work, but his lush voice is sure to turn listeners into concertgoers upon initial listening. Support this talented artist, as we showcase his Game Winner EP below, talk about his artistic influences and inquire about his soul music tricks in 2016. Enjoy!
Okayplayer: Los Angeles is seeming more and more like the epicenter of forward-minded musicianship. What's in the water out there? Are you a native of the area or a transplant?
Joey Dosik: I think, "L.A. is seeming more and more like the epicenter" simply because people are starting to pay more attention to what is happening here. I'm [originally] from L.A. and grew up with its diverse, talented and inspired community. 13 years ago, I was regularly seeing Thundercat and Kamasi Washington perform, and it didn't take a musical genius to know that they were incredible (and still are). I am so excited that they and some other L.A. musicians are now getting listened to across the globe.
OKP: Can you speak to your influences? Music, film, literature?
JD: Oh man! Honestly, for this EP, my main inspiration was the NBA [National Basketball Association]. After I tore my ACL, I had reconstructive ACL surgery and sat around watching more basketball than I ever have. It was a familiar and therapeutic and those games inspired a bunch of songs.
There is a film influence here also. The NBA used to put out these VHS tapes in the '80s that were sort of biographical pieces on great teams and players. There was always some nostalgic piano soundtrack moments. I have a few instrumentals on the EP which are sort of my take on that rare format.
But, to answer your question more directly, all music inspires me! Specifically great songwriters such as Carole King, Sam Cooke, Harry Nilsson and Smokey Robinson. Also, great producers like [Kenneth] Gamble and [Leon A.] Huff, J Dilla, Harvey Fuqua. My friends Mocky, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and the Vulfpeck guys are also huge inspirations, of course!
In terms of literature, I'll pass along a book that was recommended to me: Acting in Film by Michael Caine. So many of his lessons are applicable to being in the studio and recording music.
OKP: You played an array of instruments on your “Really Love” cover. What’s your main weapon? How long have you been at it? How does that familiarity with multiple instruments play into your songwriting and composition?
JD: I have been playing [instruments] since I was a kid. The voice and piano were first, so I suppose, as those are my main instruments. I also have history as a jazz saxophone player which explains the flute playing on "Really Love". I like to write on different instruments because each one makes me play and listen differently. When I exhaust myself from writing on the piano, I can pick up a guitar or a bass and recharge the inspiration.
OKP: What’s the trick to soul music in 2016?
JD: [Laughs] I don't know any tricks, really, but I am fascinated with the idea that humanity and technology can make each other better and co-exist in interesting ways. Great music is always embedded with a compelling human story. Technology has the power to inspire that human voice. It also has the capability to essentially turn us into machines. Pro-Tools, Autotune and BPM's are incredible tools, but they never made anyone sound like Al Green. So, I guess, in answering your question, the trick to [soul] music in 2016 is preserving and nurturing humanity.
OKP: What is your studio regiment like? Any in-session requirements for you to reach optimal output? Flowers? Cereal? Herbal refreshments?
JD: [Laughs] I use "Incense of the West" Cedar incense. This EP, I made largely in my home studio while nursing as seriously messed up leg. I have some instruments, some microphones and a computer.
OKP: Who are some of the artists you'd like to work with in the future?
JD: There are so many on the brain, but I'll share with you three: Van Dyke Parks, Q-Tip and Beyoncé. I would also really like to write with R. Kelly for the Space Jam 2 soundtrack.
OKP: What's on the horizon? Are there any plans to take the new album on the road?
JD: [I'm] putting the last finishing touches on an album that Mocky and I are co-producing. It is almost ready to go! I am opening up for Vulfpeck on at least eight dates in Los Angeles, New York and London. Also, I just finished a tour across Japan with Mocky, which was insanely fun. We'll be going back there soon! There's more touring to come later this year, after I finish up some projects here in Los Angeles.