Still riding on the wave of Riptide's success, Australian singer-songwriter James Keogh; better known as, Vance Joy, took some time to talk all things music (and footy).

R13: Hey James, how are you? Coping with your busy day of press?
VJ: Good, this is my last interview of the day so I'm cruising after this.

R13: You've just released your debut album; 'Dream Your Life Away' over here, and it has just hit the number one spot in the ARIA charts - how are you feeling?
VJ: Really good, I've been doing a couple weeks of promo so you just go from thing to thing, I haven't really taken stock of what's happening. I've just been messaging friends and living in a bubble of promo. I haven't registered how I'm feeling, partly because I've been moving around. I'm enjoying myself and taking everything as it comes.

R13: How do the sounds on the album differ to the sounds on your EP?
VJ: We used different equipment; my ukulele and guitar are the same but we used different keys instruments and we brought in some stings players just for the album. We also had a friend of the producer play some wind instruments as well.
We played in bigger rooms in the studio in Seattle, so, there were some changes but it is not too different in terms of the overall outcome, on a lot of levels it is different but to the ear it sounds like the same person singing.

R13: What inspires your writing?
VJ: All the stuff I listen to, read, watch, conversations I have. It is hard to know exactly what forms inspiration, but I think all of that stuff forms a big stew in a cauldron and things get summoned up out of it. The good things rise to the top and somehow connections get made between them.

R13: You're also about to embark on a massive tour, how are you feeling about that?
VJ: I'm really looking to the Europe trip as we are going to have a tour bus, so we're going to be sleeping on the bus after the shows meaning that we'll actually wake up in a place with a bit of time on our hands.

Also, I have some mates in Europe at the moment; Berlin, London and Amsterdam so I think we'll be picking them up for a few days each so hopefully we'll have a fun family life for a few weeks which will be really nice because I spend so much time away from home that you try to recreate that somehow while you're away.
R13: You'll have the best time on the bus.
VJ: Exactly, we've never had a bus before as we couldn't afford it, but now playing bigger shows and having a bigger team we actually need a bit of space. It'll be good. I'm looking forward to getting settled into a routine.

R13: What can we expect to see from you at a live show?
VJ: We are getting better as a band, we've been playing together for a while now so the balance is better but essentially it is just me playing these songs I've written. Usually, they've just been written on my guitar or on a piano, so the live show is quite raw and stripped back. Hopefully, the song writing comes across.

R13: You've played at some massive festivals this year what were your favourites and why?
VJ: I had a great time Outside Lands in San Francisco; we were in our buggy on the way to do promo with a radio station in a little tent at the festival. It was a beautiful location; a beautiful big park in San Fran. It was a windy day and there were a heap of guards lining the fence and I just saw a guy running along the embankment by the fence, looking for a weak spot to jump through. We were laughing at him; he looked funny just jogging around while guards were yelling at him.
We kind of forgot about him and about 10 minutes later he was running through the site, he was being chased by a guard who was really slow and fat, but the guy was so casual in the way he was running it was amazing. He was super chill, easily avoided everyone and just ran into the festival; it was the best thing. I did notice that the back of his shirt was almost completely torn off, I don't know how that happened, but I loved watching it. When we were playing the crowd was amazing, everyone was having fun, I told that story and felt like we all celebrated that guy together.
R13: I thought sneaking into festivals was a thing of the past now that security is so tight.
VJ: You'd think so. I love it when people break it, it was awesome to watch and it is definitely not as easy as it used to be.

R13: 'Riptide' seems to have taken on a life of its own are you sick of playing it yet?
VJ: Na, but I do go on autopilot with that song. You become distanced from the moment of creation because you play it so often, you hear it everywhere, people talk about it all the time so it casts a shadow, you become less and less likely to have a powerful emotional experience when you're playing a song all the time. Whereas, when you play a new song it's still fresh, you still feel it and you're still figuring out how to play it really well.
Every song gets worn in, and when you get to a point where you're like "Oh, this is sounding good, I feel really comfortable playing this" it is the most exciting period of the song. I feel like that about my new songs, but I still love playing Riptide because people get up and groove to it that recognition is nice when you're playing to people. I don't necessary feel as connected to it now as I did within a couple of months of writing it but that happens with every song.
R13: I've just come back from LA and I swear, you and the Black Keys were on constant rotation on the radio station. We'd get in the car and it would be one or the other playing.
VJ: That's awesome. LA is great, I love it there, it is such a rad joint. It's such a unique place.

R13: The video for 'Riptide' depicts the song word for word, how did that idea come about?
VJ: It was a really good idea by Dimitri Basil; he directed the video, he sent me an email with a pitch which was literally two sentences, and I just loved the idea. Totally gravity towards it and gave him complete creative control.
R13: It surprised me that some people didn't really get straight away.
VJ: Yeah, I know. It is almost like it's too obvious yet at the same time unexpected but it is cool that it draws you back to the lyrics.

R13: You were studying to become a lawyer and playing VFL, what made you take the creative plunge?
VJ: I was always a creative dude, I'm probably more naturally creative than naturally a sportsman. I love music and sport but it took me to write a few songs that I was proud of and seeing friends doing music and doing it well to give me the urge to try. After having a few songs I was proud of, I decided to take a step into that world so started playing at open mic nights and cafes every week. When I had four or five songs I was really proud of I decided to make a recording and that's how it all started.

R13: How did your friends and family react when you said you were going to pursue music rather than a career in law?
VJ: The good thing was that I just started doing it, I didn't announce that I was going to be a musician but it was clear that I cared about it and was taking it seriously, and I think if you take things seriously, people will take you seriously. I started out in very humble beginnings, I gave it an honest crack and everyone responds to someone having a red hot go. You can sense when someone is putting their heart into something and people will give you the space to do it if they can see you're going for it.

R13: When did you start playing music and do you remember the first song you learnt to play?
VJ: It was all covers; Rage Against The Machine's 'Bombtrack' which has an awesome intro and also, 'Come As You Are' all the intros. I really gravitated towards the grungy rock intros.

R13: How do you unwind when you're not gigging or writing?
VJ: Coffees with friends, eating sweet food, watching movies, doing absolutely nothing and just pottering around; that is the best. It's my favourite.

R13: Are there any upcoming Aussie musicians that you'd recommend to our readers?
VJ: I really like Big Scary although they've been around for a while. #1 Dads which is Tom Iansek's project and The Twerps but they've been around for longer than me.

R13: On a more random note, just because everyone has been talking about it what are your thoughts on Apple giving away U2's new album?
VJ: I haven't listened to the album yet but if Apple came to me and told me they were going to put my album on every iTunes account in the world, I would say yes.
R13: You're different, I would appreciate it more if it was an up and coming artist, but U2 are so well known that people can make an informed decision on whether they want their latest album.
VJ: I kind of want to listen to it just because I want to know what they're up to, when bands are that big they become more divisive.

R13: What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
VJ: A bunch of touring, I think we'll be out for a solid six months of touring. I'm looking forward to having a break at Christmas time before going back out on the road.
R13: Are you back in Australia for Christmas?
VJ: Yeah, it is going to be so good. It will be the last time I'm there for a while, so I wont get too attached to the idea of it.

R13: Where are you when the AFL Grand Final is on?
VJ: I have no idea, somewhere in Europe, hopefully I can get it on TV but I'm not sure if the timing will work.
R13: It'll be an early start; the bounce is around 5am here. Who are you gunning for?
VJ: Sydney, but I'd love to see Port Adelaide win, I want Port to fucking kill everyone! Port to beat the Hawks enough of the Hawks! (Since interviewing, Port have lost to Hawthorn and are out of the finals).
R13: That would be great, but a massive upset.
VJ: Give me upset, I want upset, go the underdogs!
R13: Hawks have had enough glory.
VJ: They have, they bloody have! It's good that you keep up to date, you obviously love the sport.
R13: I do, I subscribe to the AFL's streaming service and my rabbit is called Sherrin.
VJ: (Laughs) That's gold! I like that, that's so good. That's the best thing I've heard all day.

R13: Well, now that we have gone completely off topic, I should probably wrap this thing up. Thank you for your time, and all the best with the tour.