Not just another badass from Detroit, Josie Pace lights a fire in the industrial/rock scene and explains to ReGen what a powerful force her music can be.
An InterView with Josie Pace
By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)
Prior to the release of IV0X10V5, you’d been releasing your music one single at a time. From a logistical and thematic standpoint, what sorts of difficulties did you encounter in approaching the album format vs. individual singles – was there a disparity in the themes and subject matter, or was it always the intention to compile these singles into an album?
Pace: When I had first started working with Ken Roberts, we decided that getting my name out there and staying relevant and fresh was most important at the time. We knew that one day we would put together a full-length album, but we wanted to do it at the right time. We wanted a demand for it. We knew some of the previously released songs would be on the album, but we also wanted to add new songs no one has heard as well.
You signed with Negative Gain Productions for the release of IV0X10V5; how did you come to sign with them for this album, and how pleased are you with your association with them so far?
Pace: I signed with NGP in the summer of 2021. During the covid lockdown of 2020, we created so much content to back a release and to shop to labels. We wanted to be prepared and we knew that now was the time to get a label behind us for a debut release. NGP was on our radar as a label that had clout with their name and artists that backed the hype. Roger Jarvis and Micah Skaritka are such amazing people. The label is like a family in the purest sense. There are always ups and downs, but we are all there for each other. When we came to the label, our album was almost completely finished. We had decided last minute to add a bonus track to the CD, titled ‘Brain-dead,’ and the label was pretty on board with the idea.
It does seem that with the advent of streaming services, people are consuming music on a smaller scale; not to mention that smaller EPs and singles seem more economical and allow for artists to release more material over an incremental time span. With this mind, what are your thoughts on the album format, both as it pertains to your creative and artistic goals, and in the broader sense of music as a whole?
Among the songs on the album is ‘Perfect Replacement,’ your acclaimed duet with Sammi Doll, and which was later remixed by PIG. You also did the Placebo cover of ‘Pure Morning’ with Doll. Would you tell us how these creative associations came to be, and what more you feel we can expect of them in the future – will we hear more from you and Sammi, you and Watts, etc.?
Pace: At the start of this endeavor with Ken, we were sharing music and getting a feel of what kind of project we wanted to create. One of Ken’s favorite bands, and now mine, is IAMX. So, we went to their show at The Shelter, and we stood in front of Sammi Doll on synths the entire night. After writing ‘Perfect Replacement,’ Ken had suggested getting someone to collaborate on it with me. We decided to send Sammi Doll an email. You miss every shot you don’t take right? She e-mailed back and was so excited to be asked and to be a part of it. Since meeting her and working on the recording process and the music video for both ‘Perfect Replacement’ and ‘Pure Morning,’ we have become such close friends. She is such a pleasure and a powerhouse to work with and it’s so nice to work with a strong female force in the industry.
As for Raymond, I had opened up for him at Small’s here in Detroit. He was so welcoming and kind and took the time to talk to us and thank us for being a part of the show. We don’t do a lot of remixes, but decided that we should ask him if he would be interested. He was working on his own album at the time, and I didn’t think he would be able to get around to it. He put his own record on the backburner to do a remix of ‘Perfect Replacement,’ and it definitely did not disappoint. He promoted it on his own socials and absolutely went into left field with the instrumentation and style, and it is absolutely immaculate.
You also have a regular contingent of collaborators, with Ken Roberts co-producing and co-writing your songs with you, as well as playing live synths, Toby Hyland , Mark Damian, etc. Would you tell us what your working dynamic with them is like and how you feel their contributions enhance your musical vision?
Along with the music, you’ve created many music videos, each with a strong and very distinct visual style – very fashion forward and stylish without sacrificing substance. How would you define the visual component of your creative identity and how it connects to the music and your subject matter?
Obviously, performing live was not possible, and many turned to livestreaming and music videos, with you also performing acoustically. I’ve asked many about their opinions of this, but now as we approach (hopefully) the quelling of the pandemic, what do you feel are the major lessons we learned? Or to put it another way, what do you feel artists, labels, venues, the industry as a whole should take away from the experience and use or think about going forward?
On that note, acoustic performances are still something of a rarity in electronically-driven and industrial music. As a songwriter, do you begin with the acoustic and then build your songs up from there with production, programming, etc.; does that process ever work in reverse?
Pace: I grew up taking guitar lessons and writing songs just with my acoustic guitar. It hasn’t much changed in terms of songwriting. I always finish writing the songs on the guitar before taking them to Ken and hashing out how we will go about turning them into the electronic face-melting songs they are. Writing them on the guitar really gives them a strong structure and melody, so that even when stripped back again, it is a good song in itself. We haven’t strayed from this blueprint mostly because the reverse would probably turn into more dance, four-on-the-floor driven music… which is cool, but not what we are going for. Not a lot of artists in this genre write the way that we do, and I think that it helps us stand out from the crowd.
Outside of music, what are you enjoying most right now? Watching movies? Reading? Driving in the countryside? Anything at all… what is giving you the most joy?
Pace: Outside of music, I really enjoy my time alone to decompress. I love getting time to watch horror movies and read psychology books. I am an avid coffee drinker and I love the process of grinding my own coffee beans and making the perfect cup. The quiet time is important for me especially going into writing for a second album. I like to get in touch with my thoughts and almost watch my thoughts like a movie at night.
What’s next for you?
Pace: I am working towards playing shows and touring for the release of my album, IV0X10V5. But I am also already starting the process of writing for a second album and even possibly an acoustic EP.
Photography provided courtesy of Josie Pace