Interview: Vance Joy- Nation Of Two!

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We were lucky enough to catch up with Vance Joy to speak about his upcoming Australian tour and,  with the new album ‘Nation of Two’ having been released in late February, he has been touring the world. With upcoming shows in the USA, Canada, Australia and Europe, this Melbourne artist has been taking the world by storm, and we ask what’s next for him.

Hey man great to have you on the line! How’s everything been going since the release of the new album ‘Nation of Two’?

It’s been good, I’ve been really busy. It came out at the end of February and I played it at Sydney City Limits which was good. Then we went straight over to Europe and did about a month of touring.. It was really nice to connect to those fans again. I hadn’t been over there in about three years so that was cool. Right now I’ve got about a week at home to get myself sorted and get ready for the next round of touring. It’s going to be a long run in America. I’m really enjoying it, all the songs are really fun to play and the crowds have been great.

You’ll be back in Australia in September, and you’ve got a couple of different shows in Adelaide at Thebarton theatre. Are you looking forward to playing in Adelaide again?

Yeah I am! I played at Thebarton Theatre back in 2014, and The Gov before that. It’s great to see that now I’ve sold out for one show at Thebby and we’ve had to add a second. My favourite memory of Adelaide would have to be opening up for an intimate show with Julia Stone in 2013. That was around the time of the Fringe Festival which was amazing.

Your music has been covered by many musicians of all styles and backgrounds, most commonly your song ‘Riptide’. What is it like hearing people cover your songs, and knowing that they love your songs so much that they want to play them and add their own twist?

I find it very flattering that people like something I created that much. I think it’s a compliment when anyone covers your songs. I can go on Instagram and find people covering my songs, all the way from beginners who are learning to play their first song, to experienced musicians who want to add their own flair. Every single version is a little bit different, I think that’s really amazing and beautiful. I really like seeing all the variety and the different interpretations. If I hear a song that I like Ill usually grab a guitar and try to figure it out, I find it awesome how you can get so much joy from playing covers. I think it inspires people to create their own music too.

Have you got a favourite song to play off the new album?

I enjoy playing ‘Lay it On Me’ and I’m really loving playing ‘Saturday Sun’. I also really like playing a song called ‘I’m with you’, which is kind of a slower ballad of a song.

Where did the name Vance Joy come from?

I got the name from a book called Bliss by Peter Carey. Basically I was just in university, starting out as a musician and wanting to play open mic nights and stuff. I wanted a name that people would be able to pronounce because my last name is Keogh (pronounced Kee-Oh), and people always struggle with that. I was reading this book, Bliss, and about twenty pages in there’s this character called Vance Joy, and I just liked the way the name looked and sounded.

When did you start writing your own songs?

My first attempts were probably in my final years of high school, the first time I started playing and singing at the same time. Probably when I was seventeen or eighteen. I don’t think I wrote a song that actually made sense until I was 21. It really started there with just some very basic chords and exploring.

How did you get into music originally?

My parents were always very supportive of me wanting to play music, initially I didn’t want to do lessons and stuff but they put me in piano lessons when I was eight or nine. I quit that when I was about ten or eleven. When I was fourteen my Dad made another attempt, he bought me an electric guitar. All it took was just being able to play a few basic songs that I actually liked, like System of a Down or a Red Hot Chili Peppers song, then I was really hooked. I’m grateful that they pushed me.

Have you ever had anything really embarrassing happen to you during a live show?

Nothing that I’ve been too stressed over. Early on playing my first open mic nights I would forget my own lyrics and have a mental blank. I feel like I had to go through that, I had to forget lyrics on stage to experience that fright, but it’s never happened at all while I’ve been performing as “Vance Joy”.

One last question, where does the album title ‘Nation of Two’ come from?

I was on the internet in a little bit of a hole, and I was reading Kurt Vonnegut quotes. There was a quote that had the words ‘Nation of Two’. It was describing a couple whose realities begin and end with each other, they are each other’s whole universe, simply through their connection with each other. I liked that because I felt a lot of the songs I was writing have a theme around relationships, not just romantic but friendship and family as well. I thought it fitted really well.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, it’s been fantastic! I look forward to seeing you in Adelaide, and best of luck with your tour!

Don’t miss Vance Joy at Thebarton Theatre over two nights. He’ll be playing songs from his new album Nation of Two, and it’s going to be a ripper performance for sure.

By Jonathan Matthews

Thursday 13 September
Hordern Pavilion | Sydney, NSW
All Ages | 
NEW SHOW!
ticketek.com.au | 132 849

Friday 14 September
Hordern Pavilion | Sydney, NSW
All Ages | 
SOLD OUT!

Saturday 15 September
Rod Laver Arena | Melbourne, VIC
All Ages

ticketek.com.au | 132 849

Monday 17 September
Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA
All Ages | 
NEW SHOW!
ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100

Tuesday 18 September
Thebarton Theatre | Adelaide, SA
All Ages | 
SOLD OUT!

Friday 21 September
Riverstage | Brisbane, QLD
All Ages

ticketmaster.com.au | 136 100

Sunday 23 September (Queens Birthday Holiday Eve)
Fremantle Arts Centre | Perth, WA
18+ (minors to be accompanied by a parent or guardian) | 
SOLD OUT!

Monday 24 September (Queens Birthday Holiday Eve)
Fremantle Arts Centre | Perth, WA
18+ (minors to be accompanied by a parent or guardian) | 
NEW SHOW!
oztix.com.au | 1300 762 545

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About Author

Retired Glam Adelaide Music Editor....or 'Rock Journo' as I prefer to call it. Couldn't play or sing well enough to get into a decent band, so I write about them instead. Currently on Sabbatical, occasionally returning.

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