It is time to add Joseph to the list of local bands making it big

Steven interviews the Oregon band that is the latest to enter the world stage

November 17, 2016

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

If you tried to Google or YouTube search "Joseph" a couple years ago your search probably would have turned up Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or maybe the figure from the bible, which totally makes sense.

Now when you type "Joseph" into your search engine, the very first result immediately lands on the band made up of three sisters from the Pacific Northwest named after a small town in Eastern Oregon.

Their first album, Native - Dreamer - Kin, showcased their talent, but it only offered a glimpse of things to come.  

The release of Joseph's second full-length album, I'm Alone, No You're Not, has been a rocket ship that has quickly launched the band onto the national stage and everyone is jumping on board. When you hear it you'll understand why.

More about the Locals Only Artist of the Month Joseph

Let's just take a look at the resume Alison, Meegan and Natalie have built over the last year:

Performed live on Ellen
Performed live on Conan
Performed live on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon
Performed live on BBC (UK)
Performed NPR Tiny Desk concert
Released record with ATO Records
Apple Music New Artist of The Week
Performed at Sasquatch! Music Festival
Spotify Artist To Watch
Sold out shows all over the country
Multiple tours through Europe

So, yeah, you could say things have been going pretty well. 

While the band's last album was rooted in great songwriting and harmonies, I’m Alone, No You're Not boasts a handful of foot tapping pop anthems like “SOS (Overboard)” and “White Flag.” That’s not to say the new album isn’t also loaded with great songwriting. Yes, songs like these represent a step into a bigger, more produced sound. However, Joseph goes there without abandoning the vocal ability they've become known for. Just go listen to “Canyon.”

I recently had the chance to chat with Natalie from Joseph recently about how things have been going.

Steven Graham: When you guys were making I'm Alone, No You're Not, did you have any idea what would happen next?

Natalie: I will say that our management has this under-promise, over-deliver policy that they joke about. They have been doing this a long time, so we knew the power our team had, but they wouldn’t hype anything. They are very even-keeled and in the writing process, they were very laid back. We made the record, and I’ll never forget the moment we had when seeing our booking agent at SXSW. He had a beer in his hand and handed me a beer and said, “thank you for making a record that is going to do good things for all of us” and that was the first moment that I thought this is going to be special.  The short answer is no. I didn’t fully know what was possible.

SG: When you've performed on TV did you get to spend much time with any of the hosts or the other celebrity guests?

Natalie: Each one has been different but everyone has been very human about it. At The Ellen Show, Vince Vaughn walked by our dressing room and said, “hi.” When we were on Fallon that was a huge moment. On the same floor as Fallon was this new project from Martin Short and Mya Rudolph. Between those two shows it was like SNL was there. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jason Sudeikis, Olivia Wilde, Keenan Thompson, Jerry Seinfeld and others. From our dressing room was a hallway of open doors with all these people hanging out and talking. In those moments you have to pinch yourself and say I can’t believe I’m here but you also have to tell yourself I belong here. I have to tell myself I have something to say on this stage.

SG: What has it been like to take your music all over the United States and Europe?

Natalie: It’s unbelievably humbling. You start out saying something that you feel and other people say I feel that too. When you become a part of people's lives in this passive way and you her about it later... like, it could be happening right now while I’m in my apartment watching Stranger Things and people are hearing our music. When you hear those stories you’re "like this is crazy." I don’t know how to describe the feeling. The most amazing thing on this last tour is people singing the songs back. We had this moment in Atlanta where we ended the set with “White Flag,” left the stage and people were clapping and screaming like crowds do. Then someone in the audience started singing the “oooooooooooooo” post-chorus and the entire audience started and the hairs on my arms stood up. So we went back on stage to sing with them acapella. That was an incredible experience.

SG: With all of that touring going on what was it like to come back to Seattle and perform in front of a sold-out crowd at Neumos or in Portland where you came up?

Natalie:  That is a feeling right there. What is crazy about that show is that I had my two favorite professors there who knew I was doing music but I don’t know how much they knew. It’s been a really validating feeling to go out into the world and then be welcomed back in Seattle or the Wonder Ballroom in Portland that holds 800 people and to have it feel like every person I’ve ever met is in those rooms acknowledging and witnessing what you’ve done. It’s therapeutic and you hope they like what you’ve made. It feels crazy.

SG: What's the strangest thing that's happened to you on tour?

Natalie: It didn’t happen to Meegan, Allie and me, but to our band in Eureka, CA. We check into the hotel and the guys go to their room and they try the key and it shows green like they can go in but it won’t open because the deadbolt is locked. So, they start to leave then hear something inside the room and the deadbolt unlocks and this guy comes out while buttoning his shirt and says “All yours.”  That’s crazy. We didn’t want to know the rest.

As of now, your next chance to see Joseph in the Northwest isn't until March 2017, and you're going to have to drive. The sisters play March 15 at the Knitting Factory in Spokane and March 18 in Vancouver, BC at the Biltmore Cabaret.

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