The cafe’s silent. “Perfect” I think. “My s****y phone mic might actually pick up the conversation this time. As the interviewee walks through the door, a couple sit nearby and start loudly discussing the plethora of the substances they’ll be ingesting on the weekend. Joe and I snigger like schoolboys; we’re off to a good start.
Joe Mylward’s musical odyssey began early on; singing in a youth choir organised by his mum and performing Snow Patrol covers with his older sister. In his early teens, idolising Ed Sheeran and other chart toppers, he took the leap into penning his own material and fitting it into the loop based cover sets he performed around his home town of Alton, Hampshire.
However, after releasing a self-produced debut EP, moving to Guildford, Surrey and surrounding himself with a host of fresh peers, it’s safe to say a lot has changed for the 19 year old singer songwriter. Now taking influence from the UK’s thriving jazz and R&B scene, Joe fuses the infectious hooks of his early idols with the laid back cool of Tom Misch and Bruno Major.
“Originally I struggled with some of the newer bands people introduced me to when I arrived in Guildford, but it’s clear now that they’re having a big influence on me as an artist.”
It seems fresh surroundings have opened Joe’s world up. Since relocating, he has been gigging and recording relentlessly with a new backing band, and allowing new experiences into his writing process. Whilst earlier tracks dealt mainly with personal issues, the artist has been experimenting with a more story driven approach to songwriting, as well as exploring social issues with tracks like “Paris” and “Alcohol.”
“I read somewhere that songwriting is like a dirty tap. You’ve got to let all the nasty stuff clear out before you get any good stuff through […] I find it funny how at the time I thought my old tunes were the s**t. Now when I listen to them I just laugh.”
Whilst Joe writes the material himself, his new backing band allows him to experiment with arrangements beyond the loop pedal. He also appreciates now being able to bounce ideas off his bandmates, especially considering the lack of musicians when living back home.
“No one really knows about Alton to be honest. Every time I tell someone where I’m from they think I’m talking about that theme park [Laughs] I love [now] having other people have creative input on my stuff. I know a lot of people have set ideas about how they want stuff to sound. I think if you’re stubborn it can come back to bite you.”
And his love for collaboration is now stretching further than his own music. Future projects include a feature on an upcoming track from Guildford rapper/producer Nick Sands, as well as a remix of his upcoming single “Paris” featuring vocalist Zoe Fleming.
With a single due at the end of November, as well as a London set at The Lucky Pig, Fitzrovia lined up to support it, this is clearly the start of an exciting time for an exciting young artist.
(Follow Joe’s Instagram, @joemylwarduk for updates on upcoming shows and releases)