Meet the new boy at EMMS HQ. No, he’s not making tea (although we’re sure it’s not beyond his skillset). He is, however, recording some very nice songs and his name is JOEL SARAKULA, an Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who releases his debut UK single, ‘Bohemian,’ through Art Parade Records on July 4.
‘Bohemian’ (click to listen) is a rootsy blend of late 60s/early 70s folk pop, with very playful lyrics – and a killer chorus, which builds slowly with the repetition of a simple couplet, ‘Because I am a Bohemian/ A modern Stone Age man’ into a sing-it-from-the-terraces anthem.
“I wanted it to start intimately,” says Joel, “like I’m in your living room, and then it grows into something much bigger. I roped in a bunch of friends to sing the chorus – and guess what, after a few bottles of wine they got really into it!”
And is Mr Sarakula one of these, um, ‘bohemians’? “OK, so the song’s intentionally clichéd,” says Joel, with a laugh, “if that’s not too controversial a thing to say. I’d just watched a documentary about Picasso, which got me thinking about the life of an artist, and being creative generally – and then I thought of all the wannabes out there, and the hook just popped into my head.”
Worth a listen too, of course, is live favourite and b-side ‘Present Tense,’ a reflective offering about transience and the passing of time; it’s what Joel cheekily calls his “old man’s song.”
SEE HIM NOW!
Live, this one’s a boy wonder. He’s already rammed the likes of The Old Queen’s Head, Torriano, Troubadour and the North London Tavern, and don’t miss an absolute flurry of upcoming London dates (plenty more TBA). “I’m not someone who just sits there and stares down at the keys,” he says. “I like to communicate with my audience, so they can be a bit interactive – but don’t be scared. All I’ll say is that Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Physical’ is a bit of a crowd-pleaser…” Eeek.
You want more history, missus? Well, 28 year old Joel has been obsessed with music for as long as he can remember. Classically trained on the piano, self-taught on guitar, he fronted his first band at 17, before pursuing a solo career with debut album ‘Mystery Morning.’ Over the next few years he built a name for himself on the international piano bar circuit: “I’m the human jukebox of pop,” he says, wryly. A prolific chap, he found time to record two more Australian-only albums – ‘Souvenirs’ released in 2008 and ‘City Heart’ in 2009, the latter which received airplay on Australian national broadcaster Triple J, as well as community stations. Since ‘City Heart’, however, Joel has put everything into crafting ‘Bohemian’ and its forthcoming parent album. “The music I’m making now is the most natural fit for me”, he says. “I’ve kind of let go a little, and stripped back all the production. With ‘Bohemian’ there’s no pretence, and I really like that.”