Audiofeed 2018 preview: Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery
Photo credit: Tiernae Salley Photography
Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery is one of those weird, small-world groups in Tuned Up land. Our writer Topher Parks first introduced JP&TGTR to the blog, and by proxy me (Ryan). Recently, the band inducted Ricky Olmos into their collective as their resident expert on the keys. I met Ricky a few years ago when he toured with Michigan’s Watching For Foxes and they played a folk concert in a crust punk house that I booked. We also bonded over our friendship with the reverent indie rockers The Timbre of Cedar.
The band has crafted a sound that is organic and progressive at the same time. Fans of John Mark McMillan, Needtobreathe, Dawes, and even Mumford and Sons (both their folk and rock eras) will find things to love about their sound. It’s very accessible while indulging in some experimental elements at the same time. Their set is sure to be a highlight at this year’s Audiofeed. To our knowledge, this is their first appearance! This is also the first of many Q&A’s that we plan on rolling out prior to festival week! Get to know the band a bit below.
Tuned Up: Sum up the band’s sound like you’re describing your favorite beverage (hot or cold).
Joshua Powell: Half cappuccino, half gas station coffee spiked with entheogenic holy water!
When’s the last time you were really gripped by a piece of music? Tell us about that.
Listening to Steve Reich’s “Piano Phase” alone on a solo interstate drive up from tour in Florida. It’s a minimalist piece for two pianos played ever so progressively out of time with one another. It’s the first time in a long time that I can remember really being caught up in the spirit of a piece of music. It was excruciating to try to understand, and then I stopped trying to understand it and just listened. And it was beautiful.
What do you think of music fans using the term “Stan” to describe being a superfan? I’m behind on Twitter lingo and still forming an opinion.
I generally don’t think obsession is a positive psychological phenomenon, especially from the consumption end of the spectrum.
I thought I knew about Twitter, but I had to go read an article to understand this question contextually.
Who would you like to see play Audiofeed in the future?
Hypothetically? Split between celebrating a bunch of seminal bands I love (The Maness Brothers, Corey Kilgannon, Stay Outside, Liz Cooper & the Stampede) and trying to recreate the nostalgic Cornerstoney vibes by throwing together Bazan and Scogin and skewing brutal and sad. Also SZA.
What’s a hobby you (or someone in your band) enjoys that would surprise people?
I’m really into paper-mache recently, and glad that winter is thawing so I can get back on the skateboard. Adam reads a lot of zen-type lit.
Colin co-runs an art installation/DIY space and is half of an underground hip-hop duo called Mother Fortune.
Josh is so big and strong I could live inside his body like a mech suit and operate it with controls. Ricky makes a better breakfast burrito than anyone.
How do you find out about new music?
Really into the discovery features built into Spotify. I also generally try to stay informed via NPR and smooth-talking sexy art friends.
What releases from 2018 have you enjoyed so far?
Last couple months I haven’t been super up, because I’ve been listening to mostly classical music (while painting), the news (while driving), and classic rock (while teaching guitar to children.)
But I am waiting for the band Superorganism to take over the world.
And really digging Lucy Dacus and Logic.
Do you have a favorite music festival memory? Tell us about it.
At the Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival in Lincoln, I danced with a pretty girl on a lawn at dusk while The Cactus Blossoms played “Mississippi,” just like they did at the end of that episode of Twin Peaks, and I thought I’d died.
What’s something about your hometown you’d encourage travelers, whether or not they’re in a touring band, to take advantage of?
Dude, just move to Indianapolis. It’s at the perfect intersection of growth and accessibility. New creation is manifesting everywhere, but it’s still affordable. You can probably afford a place to live and a place to make your work. Plus, you can walk around Fort Harrison State Park, brunch at Milktooth, crunchwrap at La Parada, black bean Neurosis at Kuma’s Corner, coffee at Kaffeine, jazz at Chatterbox, and see Oladipo in his prime at Banker’s Life.
Take this moment to tell the people of Tuned Up about what your project has coming up that most excites you.
We’re in the slow cocoon of album production. Hopefully, our new baby “PSYCHO/TROPIC” will come out before 2018 closes down.
It’s my best work to date, and I am fairly certain that when it’s time for the release tour, the Midwest will never have seen a show quite like the one we are architecting.