insideKENT exclusive interview with Josh Doyle
interview by Sarah Redman
“Everyone’s Alone”, one of the most popular tracks on Doyle’s debut self-titled album, isn’t quite an appropriate song name when it comes to his fans. They don’t seem to think he should be alone and supported him by flocking to his intimate UK acoustic tour this spring.
Ashford-raised Doyle is no stranger to musical success – best known for making up one third of the popular 90’s band the Dum Dums, who split back in August of 2001. Since then he’s been paving his own road, and is enjoying being back on the road and meeting his fans on a UK tour.
Doyle’s career started to rocket again when he won the Guitar Centre Competition in LA. “That was crazy, that was the most nervous I’ve ever been. I’ve gotten to do things that would make someone nervous, like play in front of 100,000 people or getting to go on TV in front of millions of people – this was just in front of 150 people. I was working as a waiter, so to me it was a way out, everything rested on that performance. You had the four minutes to prove that you’re better than everybody else.”
After he won the competition Doyle spent some time in the recording studio. “The prize was to win an EP, but then we just went crazy and the producer was like ‘let’s do a whole album man’. I, luckily, had the best musicians in the whole world to play with. They were just like bam, bam, knocked it out.”
For Doyle, the best part is when his fans sing along with him, like at his recent Birmingham show: “I had really quiet people that I could tell were listening intently to my songs, and then I had mental people – they were drunk or just massive fans who were singing along really loudly. I had to tell the drunk ones to shut up a little sometimes, but it was cool because everyone was just so happy and excited and having such a good time. Anytime someone sings along to your songs it’s amazing – so if anyone has an emotional response like that, that’s pretty cool.”
Following his successful Glastonbury and Hard Rock Calling debuts last year, Doyle’s DIY UK tour was a one-man show. He was the front man, promoter, producer, the band, the baggage carrier and social media manager – the list goes on. With his suitcase and guitar he made his way around the UK playing everywhere from Norfolk to his hometown of Ashford, Kent.
You cannot deny that his tour sounds exhausting, even if he was playing it up to his wife back home in Nashville. “She’s like, ‘I know you’re in heaven now but you just need to know this and this, and that and that’, and I’m like, ‘I’m not in heaven, this is really hard, it’s exhausting!’ But it’s really rewarding as well and a lot of fun.”
After all his success and move to Nashville in the States, Doyle reveals that he still misses Kent’s best qualities, such as our trains and our healthcare. Yes really, our trains. “I miss all the stuff that people complain about.” He also misses his friends who turned out on mass for his Ashford gig in association with insideKENT.
Doyle is very proactive on the social media front using his website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds to keep his fans updated. “The whole tour was people’s requests. I asked people to tell me where to come – I wouldn’t have played Norwich if it wasn’t for a bunch of people telling me to, so I do take all that stuff seriously. As for weird requests, I get those more in real life. If you take this tour: a girl has some lyrics of mine tattooed on her thigh and she wanted me to sign under it because she wanted to get it tattooed on her. So I did that!”
Unfortunately for some of his fans he has now revealed his famous bearded look may not be here to stay as he moves on to a more pop-band focused future. “When I do my pop thing I’m probably going to shave it all off. Take the years off and then I’ll look like a little kid for a while, and then when I go back to doing the solo acoustic I’ll grow it out again – that’s the plan.”