As I write I am sitting on a plane heading back to my motherland (Australia) where I’ll be for a week or so. Not sure exactly when I sent the last mailer, but it was definitely too long ago. I imagine a lot must have changed for all of us.
Music is coming. So I wanted to take a moment before that to give you a ‘Previously on Josef Salvat’ bit.
I’m gonna do this in two instalments. This is the first. If you read and have questions/want more info (or less) please tell me at the Twitter or at the Instagram as I get ever so lonely sometimes.
CAPITULO 1: 2016/2017
Let’s rewind back to 2016. Night Swim had just been released. I was and am proud of Night Swim. I loved touring it and all the people I met through it, the weird and wonderful experiences it brought into my life.
But something funny happens when you make something, let it out into the world and then look at it again. Your perspective shifts and some things you loved about that thing you made, you now hate and vice versa. It was too clean, too beautiful, too nostalgic. I wanted grit and messiness. I found myself having many realisations and asking many questions. Do I make art or just write songs? Are songs art? Art is political! What are my politics? Have I thought about it enough? Am I thinking about it too much?! Am I a wanker? etc...
It was a year of ‘serious questions’ that took the next three years to answer.
So in September 2016, like the big ol’ cliche I am, I put my belongings in storage, shaved my head and moved to Berlin. The idea was to live at the edge of my comfort zone, grow as an ‘artist’ and juice the best out of my youth cause my 20s were feeling numbered.
The first 4 months were utterly gorgeous. The city kept giving me little presents. I had a sweet little flat to myself, managed to rescue a piano from a bar down the road, practiced celibacy but then fell in love for a second, so gave that up, studied tarot, dabbled in hallucinogens and journaled about it, and had intense conversations about things that ‘matter’ in bars you could smoke in. Then at about 1am on 1 January 2017 I was randomly beaten up in the street on my way to a party by some guy who looked like he made love to his computer but otherwise appeared completely normal.
Suddenly Berlin became a terrible place full of anger and hopelessness. I fell out of love (or more accurately, got dumped) and went sadly back to celibacy. I lost any passion I had for tarot. I started getting inexplicably turned away from Berghain... I felt judgmental and nasty and unhappy with myself. It seemed that apart from a hefty concussion, computer boy had gifted me with some sort of hateful juju he had been carrying around.
I started behaving aggressively and self destructively in a totally out of character way. Memorable examples are: a man in a white Mercedes beeped at me because I was crossing too slowly and I tenderised his bonnet like a steak. Another time I I ran around town abusively accusing all my friends of taking the (now) ex’s side, and then stopped talking to them altogether (leaving me friendless and shamefaced for the rest of the summer - thank god for my phone). Beer is literally cheaper than bottled water in Germany…
There were other moments like this that I have filed away somewhere and can’t find. Anyway. I left Berlin exactly a year after I got there taking with me with some interesting stories, a beautiful little piano, the title for my next album and (although I didn’t know it then) its first two singles. So it was worth it.
This was the end of 2017 and a whole new phase of things was about to begin, which I'll save for the next newsletter.
Hope you're all going well. Feel free to send me updates on your life since 2016 if you'd like.