Jose Gonzales - In His Nature
Thursday, 27 September 2007
The press release for In Our Nature claims that the album is hardly reminiscent of “fireworks and confetti” and to be frank, I cannot think of a more appropriate description of it. There is no fanfare, no half naked girl on the front cover. It is stripped back string music, nothing more, nothing less.
González explains that, “I guess I had a lot of time to think about it - how I wanted the next album to be. Actually, I talked more about making the album than actually doing it! I wanted it to have a similar feel to the last one, with mainly guitar and vocals - and recorded in a similar way. If I have to be philosophical about it, I was kind of aiming other rather than old. It was all about tube distortion and tape compression. I worked with the songs down to the most basic level - even with a dictaphone. That was the way I wrote the songs, and decided to keep the guitar and a lot of percussion and overdubs and vocals.”
Indeed, listening to In Our Nature you get the distinct impression that this is an artist at ease with himself. It feels like an uncanny balance in some ways between The Beatles, Nana Mouskouri and The Eagles, which might sound a little off-putting, but the end result is in fact a polished and focused conglomerate of easy listening music.
“The sound was a stripped down kind of production; it’s not the only style of music that I like, but I think it’s what I do best. I feel like I can explore other productions within my other projects – or even as a guest singer in other bands. In the long run though, I’ll probably change; for now it’s nice to continue exploring the guitar because it feels fresh and I feel like it hasn’t been done really well before.
“For the lyrics, this time I’ve been more conscious about how I write and over the last four years of touring I hadn’t read that much so I decided to read more. Initially I didn’t think that would influence the lyrics; I was reading stuff about science and philosophy and politics and listening to all kinds of podcasts. But it was books like Practical Ethics by Peter Singer and The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins that got me really thinking about a lot of things. And one of the topics that seems to be very big for humans in general was religion so I felt like that was where I wanted to go. I did songs that didn’t really make any sense as well, but I felt like most of the lyrics were general rather than specific - and I’m good at playing guitar and I’m not an expert in anything else!”
Those that have heard González’s debut Veneer might find this a slightly louder and more intense effort. “I guess the songs are more melodic – like real songs. A lot of the songs on the other album were quite different – here I wanted to write sketches and more compact songs. And of course I will be playing them during my tour and Erik Bodin and Yukimi Nagamo will be in tow – but mostly it will be me and my guitar with some stripped down vocals. No fireworks and no dancers!”
WHO: José González
WHAT: New album In Our Nature out through Shock
WHEN: Out now
MORE: shock.com.au / jose-gonzalez.com