Shane Joyce in Conversation
Shane speaks to Alex Gallacher from Folk Radio about the release of his latest album, what influences his music and more.
*FRUK: A glance through your bio reveals someone who is very taken by the art of songwriting. You mention Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg as early influences, what was it about them in particular that drew you to their poetry and prose? Have you ever attempted any of their techniques in approaching writing (legal ones at least)?
SJ: To me, songwriting is about all that matters. Most anybody can sing or learn to play an instrument or dance make themselves look sexy but the real test is to bring something new into the world that was not there before. That’s what songwriting is to me.
The beats had a big influence on me as a young man. Howl and On The Road sort of changed my opinion on how a mind should be. Most brains these days seem to come off the same society stained factory line. These guys helped make me see how easy it is to be an individual and break away from the main.
I write songs and poetry very, very fast which I guess is similar to Kerouac’s 100 miles an hour typewriting. I fear I don’t have the dogged persistence he had. I couldn’t write a masterpiece in three weeks, benzedrine or no benzedrine. But thankfully the fire for writing burns regular and strong inside so that it’s constantly and easily tumbling out of me.
FRUK: Besides the Beats, who else has been a strong influence on your songwriting and music?
SJ: I started playing the guitar and singing when I was 15 and I was fully convinced I was going to be Bob Dylan. He was my initial hero and I got lucky with him. There are not many songwriters who would make for a better instructor. If you listen to any of my earlier efforts (including with my band The Midnight Union Band) you’ll notice that they’re riddled with harmonica. This latest album has none, which is a not so subtle indication that I no longer feel the need to become His Bobness.
The songs in this release more resemble the works of the mighty Leonard Cohen. To my ears Dylan is the greatest lyricist there has been and Leonard is the greatest poet-songwriter. There’s a big difference. Lately, I’ve been leaning towards the poetry angle which I think can be heard on this album.*
You can read the entire interview here