Despite being born in Manchester, the musical inspiration of indie folk artist Joshua Howlett is very much grounded in his Swiss base in Montreaux, where he now resides. A soulful, young and ambitions performer, he is an artist that is striving to evolve and develop without taking himself too seriously and, as such, has looked to his surroundings – the exquisite nature and historical cities of Switzerland as his creative muse in order to produce his ‘Autumnal‘ EP. With a sound likened to the likes of Ben Howard and Angus and Julia Stone, this is a record that evokes the calm atmosphere of beautiful scenery.
The EP has been noted to draw further inspiration by feelings of nostalgia about leaving the UK, which nicely introduces themes associated with autumn. In an interesting synergy between the atmospheric surroundings of the Swiss mountains, the songs all give off the feeling of autumnal reflection, evoking feelings such as change, anxiety, nostalgia and deeper states of consciousness. It’s an emotional collection of feelings – a meta-cognitive explanation of his physical and mental state at the time of composing.
As mentioned, the true reflective aspect is reflected from his surroundings with him taking heavy inspiration from nature – trees, forests, mountains, and ironically water. He has often written about water and the sea, metaphorically or otherwise, despite the fact he hates swimming and going in it. However, the poetic tranquillity of the element certainly serves its own purpose here.
Having being raised between British and Swiss culture, he has ended up being somewhere between the two. After learning guitar at an early age, he slowly began to develop his own unique style and identity that has been shaped and refined throughout his young career. From writing songs in his bedroom, with no particular intentions, this process reached its natural catalyst in 2017 when Joshua became friends with a producer from Big Fam Records at sound engineering college. Merely a day after deciding to record a song together for fun, they then decided to partner up and record music professionally.
Joshua has been noted to be somewhat shy in character away from music, but everything changes when on stage. His on-stage persona is a mixture of a soulful musician and a stand up comedian – often engaging with the crowd before introducing a song. Indicative of this characteristic, his stages have not always been traditional in their truest sense, as his live performances have taken him from a snowy chalet up a mountain to a show window in a subway station.
His debut EP, recorded with experienced live musicians who have thoroughly immersed themselves in the concept, has been spearheaded by the release of the single ‘Dover‘.