Joseph L Young – A chat about his early influences and new album Ethereum

  1. Tell us about the moment you decided to become a Composer What did your family have to say about it?

Music has been my passion my whole life, it’s always been who I am. I began playing saxophone in 6th grade, played my first sax solo in 8th grade jazz band, and also started composing my own music about that same time. My desire to continue performing and writing grew naturally from there. I also developed an early love of the Native American flute, and composed my first flute song “Shaman’s Dream” before owning a flute. I received a flute as a gift in my mid-20’s, and eventually recorded that song with it, which later ended up on my first album “Pathways.” I’m very grateful that my family has always been extremely supportive of my music interests, and encouraged me to follow my own path. They continue to hold an important place in my life today, and have been vital to my musical success.

2.  What inspired you to become an artist and who are your early influences?

My earliest inspirational memory was of Chip Davis’ Mannheim Steamroller. I distinctly remember thinking “I want to write music like that!” I admired the way he combined technology and synthesizers with traditional symphonic instrumentation. Soon after, I discovered Kitaro, who used the same magical combination but with a uniquely beautiful result. Compositions by John Williams, Michael Kamen and Harold Faltermeyer always held my attention, too; I love cinematic music. Other early influences included The Cars because of their complex musical layers, the dreamlike sound of Loreena McKennitt, the synth sounds of Tangerine Dream, and of course David Sanborn and his saxophone, which I listened to obsessively for years. I also listened to a lot of contemporary jazz, 50’s rock, and even classical.

3.  What is the first record you bought and why?

The first record I bought was a 45 and I was 9 years old. I bought the J. Geils Band’s “Freeze Frame” because of that catchy keyboard line and of course the horn section. That was back when a lot of popular music had horn sections. I still have that record somewhere. I loved that record store. I could have spent hours in there.

4.  Fave film? Fave Book? Fave place? 

Favorite film: I’m a movie nut and my tastes vary widely, so I have a lot of favorite films, many of them in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, such as the “Lord of the Rings” series, “The Fifth Element,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Princess Bride”.

Favorite book: “Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics” by Gary Zukav, which was my introduction to quantum physics. I’m fascinated by physics, the Universe and nature, and a lot of my music reflects these ideas.

Favorite place: I love water, so anywhere with a waterfall, a lake, the ocean.

5.  Tell us a little about your writing process for ETHEREUM,?

My writing process is rather organic and flexible. Sometimes I’ll start with a melody that keeps running through my mind and keeps me awake at night. Sometimes I’ll lay down a bass line or percussion track and build the song around that. And other times it’s a chord progression and the mood or feeling that surrounds it. I love to experiment with sounds and instrumentation that aren’t typically played together, to release myself from what’s expected. I also give myself permission to start over if something isn’t working for me. Most of my music is inspired by nature, emotions, and experiences; it’s how I best express myself — through music.

6.  What are your future plans for 2017/2018?

I’m currently working on a new album which will be primarily new age saxophone, due for release in early 2018. I’m very excited about that, it’s something I’ve had on my mind for years. I’ll be teaching again at several flute schools in 2018. And of course I’ll continue performing all of my world flute music, as well as my new sax music next year, in addition to playing with other bands – always more performing!

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