May 2022 24

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)

One of the more exciting artists to emerge in the last several years has been Josie Pace; hailing from the Motor City, her brand of industrialized rock has stood out for the intensity of her songwriting, delivered by way of carefully crafted production and performance, along with an equally impressive visual style that shows her to be an artist of style complementing substance. Working with producer Ken Roberts, sound engineer Toby Hyland, keyboardist Jeff Rebrovitch, and drummer Mark Damian, the power of her recordings has only been exceeded by that of her live performances – mellifluous in their composition, intricate in their complexity, and filled to the brim with rock & roll fury, it’s no wonder Negative Gain Productions signed her, with the eminent label releasing her IV0X10V5 full-length debut album earlier this year. One need only hear the titles of her songs – “Vicious,” “Underestimated,” “Storm and Stress,” “Fire,” and “Even If It Kills Me” – for a glimpse into her badass and defiant nature, proving her a force to be reckoned with. ReGen Magazine is thrilled to have had the opportunity to speak with Pace about her music, discussing her working partnership with Ken Roberts and their processes of songwriting and production, as well as the artistry behind her fashionable visual style, life in a post-lockdown world still reeling from the grip of pandemic, and dropping a few hints about what is yet to come.


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?

Pace: I think people will follow whatever they are into and love. There is no one right way to release music, but you never want to go too long without releasing something. Unfortunately, a lot of artists release every song they have, no matter the caliber of writing and musicality. When I come to Ken with a song, we go through it and decide if the song is ‘worthy,’ so to speak, to be released. We like to set a precedent with good songwriting, and we follow that on each release. I have so many songs that have been shelved for later dates or to not be released at all. Some songs are steppingstones to a better written song.

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?

Pace: Yes! Ken and I are like a comedy duo turned ‘good cop/bad cop’ at times. I can pretty much read his mind now. We don’t disagree often, we usually have somewhat of the same ideas that stem off of each other and grow into what you see in all the releases, whether it be music, music videos, photoshoots, stage design, outfits. If we ever do disagree, we are pretty good at give-and-take and compromising. Toby Hyland is the sound engineer who recorded and helped mix the album. He’s so much fun to work with and he will try any weird idea that we have while in the recording/mixing process. Mark Damian is the most skilled and knowledgeable drummer I have ever seen – a literal drum god, if you will. Though we are all pretty stubborn, our friendship is never doubted.

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?

Pace: Style and visual are just as important to us as the standard of music. I have always been influenced by fashion and makeup artistry and I wanted to keep it at the same level of production as the music itself. I grew up watching America’s Next Top Model, runway shows of Alexander McQueen and Vivian Westwood on TV, seeing Joan Jett, Duran Duran, and David Bowie in their kickass outfits. I was always into glamour and punk style, avant-garde, and ‘ugly pretty’ as Tyra Banks would say. Fashion is just another form of self-expression for me. As with everything we do, we want to evoke the emotion of each song, along with catching your eye and keeping you engaged as well.



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?

Pace: During the start of the pandemic, I definitely had my share of breakdowns. We were all in the dark about the future and what was to come (or not). But after my existential crisis, I decided to put my badass woman pants on and produce more music and music videos to prepare myself for when or if we ever got out of ‘just two weeks’ of lockdown. The entire industry was thrown for a loop there, and I think we were all pretty confused as to what we should be doing. But whether it be to take time for mental health or to throw yourself 10,000% into your craft, there’s no one right thing to do at a time where no one knew what was happening. Lockdown has really put me into a mindset of getting things done, getting them done well, and putting them out in a timely manner. We don’t half-ass anything here with my team.

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.


Josie Pace
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram
Negative Gain Productions
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram


Photography provided courtesy of Josie Pace


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