f: What came first for you, DJing or making music?
Joseph Malik: DJ’ing at the Glasgow Charing Cross Community Youth Centre at 12 years old. My fee was a can of fizzy drink and a packet of crisps.
f: And as a DJ, what did you used to play and where?
Joseph: Funk, Hip Hop and Soul, playing them back to back with the breaks, using double copies of the original vinyl. Most notably, I had a residency at my club called the Lizard Lounge in the 1990’s at Café Graffiti, Edinburgh.
f: And how old were you when you first started singing and song writing?
Joseph: That’s a good question. I was 29 and a singer never showed up at a studio session, so I ended up singing the song which became ‘Crack Pipe’ for Blacka’nized on Response Records.
f: For those who are new to Joseph Malik, what 3 tracks of yours should they check out?
Joseph: ‘Cry When I’m On My Own’
‘Take A Left’
f: You have Scottish and Nigerian roots, does your heritage inspire your song writing at all?
Joseph: Very much so, especially my Nigerian Roots with the track, ‘Adjust Like Dat’. On the artwork for the track, I’ve also explored my Naija tribal colours from my father’s culture, the Igbo tribe.
f: Your songs cross a diverse selection of sounds from Soul, R&B, Disco, Afro Boogie and old skool Hip Hop. What music do you like to listen to and what genre do you get the most joy out of making?
Joseph: I listen to a broad spectrum of music and I don’t confine myself to any particular genre. If I had to pick one, it would be 80s and 90s Hip Hop from New York.
f: Congratulations on releasing your fifth artist album, ‘Proxima Ebony’, on Ramrock Red Records. What was the inspiration behind the album title?
Joseph: Octavia Butler, the Afro Futurist writer, the painter Jean Michel Basquiat, the political activist Malcolm X and producer/musician, Ashley Beedle.
f: Please tell us more about the album release and what fans can expect to hear?
Joseph: They can expect to hear a journey through my personal overviews of the 80s AIDS epidemic, the triumph of Hattie McDaniels, my recollections of my family’s involvement in the sex industry and messages of love, hope and compassion.
f: How did the album come together and who was involved in the process?
Joseph: The origins of the album was like a Marvel superhero team coming together. Daniel Walls aka Digital Liquid joined me and in the wee small hours in Edinburgh, we made the demo tracks. These were sent to Jo Wallace at Ramrock HQ and she joined forces with Darren Morris at North Street West Studio where I joined them to record my final vocals. Everything that you hear on the album was produced, arranged and mastered at North Street West. I was also joined by some phenomenal talent including; San Francisco rapper, Capitol A; Philadelphia spoken word artist, Kameelah Waheed; Shuya Okino (Kyoto Jazz Massive); world renowned Jazz harpist, Alina Bzhezhinska; and Edinburgh Hip Hop legend, DJ Nasty P.
f: How is the album being received so far?
Joseph: The worldwide acclaim from my peers has made me, my family and my record label very happy. It’s been amazing.
f: The album also features some singles with added remixes, who is involved in those?
Joseph: Natasha Kitty Katt remixed ‘Trouble with a Capital T’, Ashley Beedle will be remixing ‘Adult Contemporary’ for a special charity mix where the proceeds going to an Edinburgh AIDS charity. There will be some amazing remixes on a forthcoming ‘Proxima Ebony’ Variant Issue EP in 2024… that’s under wraps.
f: In the current times of a fast-paced singles driven music market, how important are albums these days and what are the joys and challenges for an artist putting an album together right now?
Joseph: When it comes to making an album, it depends on your writing skills and studio discipline. The joys are hearing the finished masters and test pressings and the challenges are getting the right team together, booking studio time and getting the project over the finish line to the team’s satisfaction.
f: As a live performer, what has been your best gig so far and where are you most looking forward to playing soon?
Joseph: The Boisdale Music Awards in 2022 was very special. I got my award from Jools Holland and sang in front of an audience of the good and the great. I got to meet Dennis Bovell, a personal hero of mine along with Carl Mackintosh, Cleveland Watkiss and Omar.
f: Looking back, what precious advice would you give to yourself?
Joseph: Patience pays off.
f: When you’re not making music, what else do you like to do?
Joseph: I enjoy spending time with my friends and family – and few pints of beer in my local pub, The Grapes with my dog Bonnie.
f: What’s next for Joseph Malik?
Joseph: A huge rest after the marathon 5 album releases over 5 years.
Proxima Ebony’ album is out now on all digital platforms / Vinyl release January 2024 on Ramrock Red Records.