Josh Hook and Jack Vanzet (Thrupence) have come together to create Composites, an album sure to make you feel very, very chill.
Josh tickles the ivories and Jack tickles whatever his computer keyboard is made from, and the resultant sounds are dulcet, revelatory, squantacious, and thoroughly enjoyable. Composites is being released on September 13, so we thought since they were friends of the mag, we better call them up and ask about it. Also, squantacious isn’t a real word.
Jack and Josh. Today I wanted to kill, but then I listened to your new record and I no longer wish to commit murder. Was this your intended reaction to the album?
Jack: I think the overarching intention was not to be too prescriptive with how it should be listened to, to allow people to come to the music however they might feel, so the feeling of not wanting to murder is without a doubt a good thing. Hell of a compliment, really.
How did the project come about?
Josh: Jack reached out to me with a few unfinished piano ideas, just looking for a few suggestions, I sort of filled out what he sent through, and then sent back some things I’d been working on and he did the same. After a bit of back-and-forth, we had these nine tracks. It all felt very natural.
Did you record remotely or in the studio together?
Jack: The record was mostly written remotely during the lockdowns of 2020, although we recorded the entire record over a couple of days at my studio by the coast. Hardly any of the songs were written with Josh and I both sitting at the piano. I would send Josh a video of a short sketch or loop that I was working on and he would return with his own video demonstrating different options that the piece could be taken. They became like little building blocks. I’d never worked in this manner before so it was incredibly interesting to see how Josh interpreted what I was working on. It was a really unique learning experience and one I really cherish.
How would you describe your sound? I’d say it’s atmospheric no-homicides-today music.
Josh: Yeah it definitely has its roots in that ambient, minimal bloodshed kind of fare. I think our contrasting backgrounds as musicians has allowed for a few different elements to seep in.
Are you both classically trained musicians? What’s your deal?
Josh: I’m classically trained, lotta Beethoven, Chopin, Bach etc. and this has sort of been my first foray into a more contemporary/popular style of music. It seems to be a really good meeting point between the two styles, hopefully, it can encourage a few folks to have a squiz at some more classical music too.
Jack: I have no training whatsoever. Without my computer, I’m not much of a musician. I get a lot of joy out of sitting at the piano crafting out short ideas and loops. I build on them in the computer, adding layers of texture and other instrumentation. I try to play entirely on feel. If the song only consists of two chords, and those two chords are engaging enough to evoke some kind of emotional reaction then I try not to overcomplicate it. I hope to one day learn the piano properly. My learning curve has steepened so quickly through writing the record with Josh. I am his student.
What do you guys do outside of music?
Josh: Aim to keep the mind and body as healthy as possible, read, hang out, watch the fights.
Jack: I work as a visual artist as well as a musician (Jack created all of the visuals for Composites) so my time is split between the two disciplines in self-directed projects and commission work. Like Josh, I also like to read and hang out.
What’s your long game with Composites?
Jack: It’s hard to say – we had planned to be playing shows together, though it’s proving very difficult to plan anything substantial in the current performance climate with the consistent lockdowns. We’ll continue to create content and write music together regardless.
Have you heard of a band called Sax Pest? They’re supposed to be amazing.
Josh: Not once, that is a hell of a name though.
Any shoutouts before we wrap it up?
Shout to Becki Whitton for mastering the record and anyone who takes the time to listen to the record. We hope it can have a positive effect on their day.
Composites is set for release on September 13, but in the meantime please enjoy this track from the album.