Back in Australia for a string of dates to support the release of his new EP Toe Jam we caught up with AGT alumni Joe Robinson to discuss his latest album, playing with his heroes and what to expect from his live shows.
What was it that first made you pick up the guitar?
I think it was hearing Eric Clapton’s music. I’d walk around the house shredding away on a tennis racket.
Who do you consider to be your main inspirations both in terms of songwriting but also in terms of guitar playing?
I think my favorite writing come from the 60’s, I’m a huge Motown and Beatles fan. In terms of guitar playing, my absolute hero is Django Reinhardt.
You¹ve played with both Tommy Emmanuel and Slava Grigoryan, how was that experience?
Yeah it was great to play with each of those guys, definitely masters of their craft. Growing up they were both big influences, so I was pretty chuffed to jam with them.
What made you make the move away from solo instrumentals to bringing vocals into the equation?
To be honest, I just think it was time. I had made my statement as a guitarist and was ready to sing a little.
How has the response to Let Me Introduce You been so far?
It’s been a mixed response. I’m proud of it, but I don’t think I’ll look back on it to be my best work. I’ve just finished a new EP called Toe Jam and feel it is a better representation of who I am.
How did you approach the writing on the album? Was it a case of starting with a riff and building upon that?
Yeah, in most cases I started with a musical idea, and then built the lyric around it. But with more recent writing i’ve been starting with a beat. I create a loop on a set of pads and build the track around that. Helps to give it a deeper groove I think.
You're back in Australia for a few shows after touring the US and Europe. How did you find it?
The last 6 months have really been great, I played a bunch of gigs in Europe that went really well, then recorded a new EP and toured full band in the north east US all last month. Played my first headline shows in Chicago, Boston and New York, so that was a big step.
For those that may not have seen you play before, what can audiences expect from a Joe Robinson show?
The show is power trio style, with only myself and a bass player and drummer, so it’s very dynamic and pretty raw. I can’t really tell you what to expect as a lot of it is spontaneous, but I tend to run out into the audience shredding like a fool if the moment calls for it.
What are the plans for the rest of the year?
I’ll be here in Australia until early January, looks like I’ll record another EP here and then head back to the US next year for a pretty heavy dose of touring.
Both Let Me Introduce You and Toe Jam are available now. And tour dates can be found on http://joerobinson.com