Josin was born to make music, but it took her a while to find that path. Born in Cologne to opera singer parents, she initially opted for studies in medicine, before dropping out. “I always wanted to make music,” she insists. “But I never did dare to do it”.
Moving to Hamburg, she immersed herself in the city’s vibrant, anarchic music scene, but found collaboration intimidating. “It made me feel very insecure, and I think after that experience I didn’t want to depend on other people,” she continues. “So I began to do it all by myself, even though I had no clue how to use a laptop, how to use Logic, how to play guitar. I just stuck with it.”
There’s a naivety to Josin’s productions that defies description. 2017 EP ‘Epilogue’ was a soaring, moving introduction, a strikingly original fusion of neo-classical textures and inquisitive electronics. Incoming full length ‘In The Blank Space’ takes this conversation further, a broad but stunningly concise exposition of supple strings, textured vocals, and digital excursions.
“I think everyone is striving for an album,” she admits. “I’ve basically been writing towards ‘In The Blank Space’ for the last eight years. It’s been tough. I mean, it was funny to see how I’ve changed, and how I’ve not changed.”
One thread that consistently moved through her work are those gorgeous classical elements; whether that’s her treatment of melody on the supple, piano-driven ‘Once Apart’, her exploration of tone on ‘Feral Thing’, or simply incorporating a string quartet on the title track, ‘In The Blank Space’ points to the future while looking back to her past.
“There was music around us the whole time, basically,” she says. “When I was a little kid I didn’t really pay attention to classical music, but actually the older I get the more I appreciate what the background it gave me. It’s a basis that I can rely on now”.
Tracing a solitary path, Josin’s music continually seeks out new conversation. Debut album ‘In The Blank Space’ owes a debt to her travels around Europe; Josin and her partner load up their camper-van and drive across the continent, with the composer using these moments of remote solitude to prompt new ideas.
“I must have written about 1000 songs,” she recalls, “but I always think that you have to write 30 songs to have one really good one. I make a lot of mistakes. And I’m learning. But that’s actually how I started to do all of this. Nobody ever told me how to do any of this stuff. I just started to do it.”
The technical naivety within Josin’s music is allied to a searing ambition, an unrelenting creativity. Stunning album highlight ‘Burning (For A New Start)’ was started somewhere in a Norwegian wood, before she finally finished the song months later in her home studio. By way of contrast, though, ‘Ocean’s Wait’ fell into place within 10 minutes, while ‘Backing Line’ started life as a meagre keyboard melody that emerged from one of her forest trips, before gaining a beautifully realised arrangement.
“I think that’s maybe why I’m not only an electronic artist, but I’m also not just a singer-songwriter,” she insists. “I do both. I produce and I do the songwriting. I really love to play with harmonies, even though I have no clue what I’m doing exactly, in terms of music theory.”
“I’m a slow writer too,” she adds. “I love to come up with ideas and then let them sit for a couple of weeks. I really need my time, sometimes! That’s why I think I’ve just written by myself.”
At one point she handed her productions to a string quartet, and waited for the results to come back – and she was completely enchanted. “That was quite magical,” she recalls. “I think this will be my next challenge. Going from solitude to a process where I work more with other people.”
This process is what marks ‘In The Blank Space’ and it’s what makes Josin so special. It’s the sound of someone who utterly loves music bringing this creativity into resolute focus, a conversation between the organic and the digital, between her inner world and that urge towards communication.
JOSIN TOUR DATES:
Brooklyn, NY - May 7. Rough Trade
Boston, MA - May 9. Cafe 939
Montreal, QC - May 11. Le Ministere
Toronto, ON - May 13. The Baby G
Chicago, IL - May 14. Schubas
Minneapolis, MN - May 15. 7th street entry
Vancouver, BC - May 19. Biltmore
Seattle, WA - May 21. Vera Project
Portland, OR - May 22. Holocene
San Francisco, CA - May 29. Richshaw Shop
Los Angeles, CA - May 30 Maroccan Lounge