A few weeks ago we told you about Alljook, aka Jo Osborne, and his debut album "Look With Your Hands". We really liked his tracks, so we got back in touch and set over some questions so he could tell us more about himself, his life, and his music. Why not listen to the album while you read?
Hey, Alljook. How's life?
Hi! Things are fairly busy at the moment. I have just moved from Brighton, where I was doing my degree in music production, back to Bangor in Northern Ireland. Still managed to find some time for a bit of tennis today though.
You're from Bangor in Northern Ireland. Does it feel like you're at a career disadvantage, not being from London?
Spending the last year in Brighton let me see how much more is happening in England compared to Northern Ireland, especially in London. However, of late a lot of interest has been shown by both the music and film industry with regards to Northern Ireland, with new opportunities opening up all the time. At the same time so much can be done on the internet at the moment which opens up possibilities to artists living in more remote places.
Your debut album is called 'Look With Your Hands'. What's it about?
Part of the album is about moving away from home and the new people I have met along the way. I find I really learn a lot about myself by meeting new people and dealing with new situations. Some of the album was written about a girl and about us breaking up when I moved away.
It takes a special kind of person to seriously dedicate enough time and effort to make a full album. What drives you to do it, and what would you say to those considering it?
I love working on the production side of things and I also love playing my guitar. I dont usually plan to write a song. Sometimes i just record a few chords to remember them, then six hours later I have the backbone of a new song without even planning to write one. Other times I hear something another artist or producer has done and end up making a song just to find out how they do it; I love exploring different sounds and different ways to achieve new sounds. I would definitely advise anybody thinking of making a full album to do it as it so rewarding.
You're letting people name their best price for your album, or even take it away for free. What do you think it's worth?
This was a tough call for me. I was speaking to a Swedish label who wanted to sign the album. Once I read through the contract I decided it wasn't for me. I don't want to sign away the rights to the music that I have worked so hard on. I have put it up as 'pay what you like' so that initially people can choose if they want it for free or if they want to support me. Its on iTunes as well where I have to charge because it cost me to put it there. Most people decide to buy it from iTunes. The most important thing to me, as a new artist, is to get my music out there and heard by as many people as possible.
Music is a bit short of money at the moment. Do you think that singles and albums should be free?
I like making music and I love people listening to my music. These days it is really hard as a new artist to get exposure and play time for your albums, so for now people can pay what they want for it. But I don't expect to get other, established artists' music for free. It takes a lot of time and money to make an album so I think it's only fair to pay for the enjoyment of listening.
You've done most of the album's work on your own. Do you work better solo?
Yeah, Shoveit design did the artwork but I did everything else, from writing the songs to mastering the finished album. I would like to start working with a few other artists and collaborating but for this album I wanted it to be just me and not have to rely on anyone else.
You must have big plans for your music. When will you be satisfied?
To be honest, I'm way too easily satisfied. Seriously – just give me a plastic cup and I would play with it for hours. But when it comes to music I just want to make it better and better. Sometimes I find it hard to finish mixing a song cause it has to be perfect.
Your music is quite mellow for an electro album – but the tunes are still there. If you could invent a genre that describes your music, what would it be called?
I listen to a lot of reggae and I'm pretty releaxed about most things in life. I think it really shows through in my music. I always plan on making really crazy tunes and then people always tell me how chilled out they are! I'd call the genre 'Indie pop soft stop', 'cause it's fun to say and I enjoy simple stuff like that.
Apart from other artists, what would you say your influences were?
Really, life in general; I'm something of a daydreamer and people-watcher. I also enjoy random pictures and old photographs. Sometimes I scroll through Tumblr photo blogs which always trigger loads of thoughts and ideas. The relationship between moving image and music is also very inspiring, like in snowboard, BMX and surf films. Films like that have very little talking and the music really is a large part of the expression.
And after your album, what's next on the list for Alljook?
I have toyed with the idea of recording an acoustic version of the album. Im just gonna keep making music. Other than that I am just going down for a quiet pint tonight.
Find out more about Alljook here.