Josh Cashman talks touring the US with Tash Sultana and more at SXSW

Catching up with Josh Cashman, we’re landing time with the Melbourne musician just off the back of some incredible shows with one of Australia’s most exciting new exports, Tash Sultana. Cashman’s arrival in Austin, Texas for SXSW brought with it a run of shows and exposure that undoubtedly left him hungry to get back into touring back home.

It’s your first time here?

First time in America in general, I just wrapped up a tour with Tash Sultana before SXSW.

What are your impressions of it all so far? Have you had any shows yet?

I’ve done two shows so far, and they’ve been pretty good. I heard many mixed things about SXSW; a lot of it is that it’s intense, as hundreds of acts are here trying to produce how good they are and whatnot. It was going to be a shit fight, so I was kind of prepared for it in a way, and it’s been good. It’s intense, there’s always something to do, always someone to see; it’s been good.

What propels you to come over here? Was there a concerted effort in the timing of this, in terms of where you’re going with your music, or was it just one of those things that you go the offer, and you came over?

Earlier in the piece, I released a song last year, and it kind of got on a viral U.S. Spotify playlist and then from that, I signed an agency deal here with Paradigm. They sort of tried to tee some stuff up and then applied for SXSW just because. Not expecting to get it or anything, because I’m not a big name or anything like that. We found out that we got SXSW, and then we got the Tash Sultana offer, and the timing of it all was perfect because the Tash tour was about three weeks before this. Then it gave me two weeks to do some co-writes, and some studio time in L.A. and New York, and yeah, now we’re here. The timing of it was really good.

It seems like it, sort of, you took both boxes there, you sort of applied and got it, and then the timing was fortuitous, and with everything going on.

Absolutely, yeah, when we applied, like I said, we weren’t really expecting too much, it was like, “Let’s just apply and see what happens.” Then the song went on a viral playlist, and then, yeah, so I’m with Paradigm over here, and then, yeah, the timing of it was just, kind of, lined up really perfectly. Now we’re here, been here for two months now, and America’s been dope as, I’ve been really cool.

What surprised you most about your time over here?

I think it’s how attentive the audiences have been over here. Obviously, I love performing in Australia, but everyone’s three times as rowdy back in Australia, you know?

Half the time, not listening.

Yeah, or I’m just blind, or whatever. It’s been sick, I think the audiences have been the best thing, and everything here’s just so fucking massive. You order a small coffee and it’s super massive. I don’t know, all in all, it’s been really good. I’m [heading] toward the end of the whole trip, so yeah, it’s been two months, and I’m inspired and ready to go back home and smash it out, in Australia, and see what happens.

Have you been playing many shows, or has it been more of this, sort of co-write sessions?

I did nine shows previous to SXSW, so we covered a lot. We did New York, Philadelphia, Boston, L.A., Seattle, San Francisco, and did a week of co-writes in L.A., after that tour and a week of co-writes in New York and then straight here.

So, there hasn’t really been too much time to just stop and chill out in America, it’s all just been go, go, go, go. It is my job, I suppose, so it’s what I got to do. Life isn’t a holiday, you really find out that touring is not holidaying at all man; it’s in the bus, soundcheck, play the show, accommodation in the bus, radio here, whatever. It’s definitely not a holiday. A lot of people think that being a touring musician, that you’re travelling around and you’re sipping pina coladas on a beach every day, it’s actually not that at all.

It’s a lot of work. And not a lot of sleep.

Yeah, but it’s fucking awesome, I’m loving it, so far, it’s been great.

So, what piece of advice would you give to another aspiring, international traveller, like yourself, who wants to come over to this territory?

Ah, man, advice? I don’t know if I really want to give advice. I’m, sort of the person still learning, and trying to gain advice. I don’t know, man, like eat well, try and get sleep every chance that you can, because it doesn’t really come at all that often. Don’t feel bad about having a nap during your mate’s soundcheck, or whatever, like that.

I don’t know, it’s just, all this happened pretty naturally. I’ve worked hard for a while, and you can’t really force any of this to happen, it just kind of happened when it did. This wasn’t a trip that I’d planned a year ago, this was something that really found naturally, so expecting things is sometimes the worse thing to do because you can be let down and when you don’t expect things, a lot of things come out of it. For me, it’s just riding the wave, not expecting too much when good opportunities come, that’s awesome.

So, you’re coming to the interview at two months over here, and then what’s next for you?

I have my single launch shows in Melbourne. I’ve got the Northcote Social Club on April 21st; I’m doing Sydney, I’m doing El Topo on the 7th of April. Then after that, we’ll sort of, let the single ride out for maybe a month or two, and then I’m going to drop my EP which for me is debut EP.

What can we expect from the EP? I imagine it’s a few of the songs we already know?

Yeah. So I think it’ll be two of the songs that I’ve already released, and then I did six tracks with Jan Skubiszewski, in Melbourne, in August. So the EP’s been ready for ages.

You’re ready to go? You’re ready to get it out.

I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting, and timelines always change, it’s amazing how much stuff goes on behind the scenes, rather than just recording a song, releasing it, and touring. You’ve got to be patient and I’m learning that. I’m pumped, I’m ready to get some music out there. I’ve done four singles, now, and do another one, and then drop a six track EP, and yeah, I just want to get some music out there.

Do the co-write sessions really help you develop your sound, and elaborate on what you’ve been doing already?

Yeah, sure, every co-write I did was different, and I had some super electronic people, had some super acoustic kind of people and it was good to put my creative mind with someone else’s creative mind; I could take a lot from the way they go about their writing. They take something out of the way I go about it, and it was good to just converse musically. Everything was made on the spot, pretty much, and it was a cool experience.

And touring with Tash must’ve been much of the same, as well.

Yeah, touring with Tash was epic. I’ve been saying, she’s just about as popular as Donald Trump at the moment, but probably in a good way. All of the shows were sold out over here, which was incredible, and I took a lot out of that experience, and we’re good mates, as well, so it made touring easier.


April 7th | El Topo, SYDNEY
April 21st | Northcote Social Club, MELBOURNE


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Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.