We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Roberts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I think when it comes to being creative it’s not so much something you do as it is something you are. If you truly have an innate creative drive, it has a way of manifesting itself regardless of what you do. I find that really interesting – that you don’t really have a choice when it comes down to it.
I remember after university I was in a pretty monotonous office job, dealing with accounting and budgets, and looking back on it now I don’t think I’ve ever been more miserable than at that point in my life. Thankfully I decided to quit and pursue more creative avenues, and I don’t really remember a specific moment where I made that decision. I just sort of stopped doing the job and I’m so glad I did. And I’m so glad there was something in me that pushed me away from that job and that lifestyle because if I wasn’t a creative person at heart, I’m sure I would still be zoning out for eight hours a day pretending to work on a budget.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Music can be important to people for so many different reasons, but for me music is a way to explore the things that are overlooked in day to day life. So much of modern life can seem focused on the superficial and what I try to do is make stuff that is just unapologetically honest, nomatter how dark it might get. I get the sense that generally, especially in the social media age, people are desperate to seem happy, or successful, or fulfilled. And being bombarded with this stuff feels exhausting. So when I make anything, whether it’s music or art or anything creative, I try to let it be a channel for the more reflective and vulnerable feelings that are often shut out of mass culture and our social interactions. That’s the only way art can be interesting, to me, so that’s what I make.
That can make it difficult sometimes, just because people understandably don’t always want to confront uncomfortable feelings so it can feel like you’re often pushing to get your stuff heard or appreciated. But I just think unless you’re going to make something you feel is honest then there’s no point in doing it. So once you get to the point where you feel like what you’re making is good, you have to just put it out there. In my case, I wrote songs for 10 years and never put anything out or played them live because i just didn’t feel they were good enough. But once I did get to a point where I liked what I was writing, I just went for it. And that’s all that should really matter to anyone in a creative field – how you feel about your work. Everything else is just kind of noise.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I moved to LA right before the Pandemic hit so I’m not all that familiar with the best places to go. But I’d say the Red Lion Tavern in Silver Lake is great for a few pints. South Pasadena also has this small town feel but it’s only 20 minutes from the city center. They have a farmers market on Thursdays near the public library and there’s some really nice restaurants and bars around that area too, so I’d definitely head over there for a more chill evening out. There’s also the 1886 Bar at The Raymond in South Pas which has great cocktails.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family – wife, sister, parents – are the most important people who’ve supported me. Otherwise, when it comes to music specifically I’d really like to shout out Sharon Groom here in LA who was kind enough to give me my first show in LA and who runs a great open mic at the Universal Bar and Grill on Wednesdays. Also Lorraine Leckie back in New York who has been unrelentingly positive about my songs even when I hate them and is just an incredible artist in her own right. Also a shout out to Justin Sanchez (@myband.box on IG) for introducing me to this Shoutout series.