INTERVIEW: Joey Maybe and ‘Better Than Ever’
Review by Hollie Duffy
If you are a fan of lo-fi, chill music, Joey Maybe is an artist to watch, with his single ‘Better Than Ever’ he exudes himself as a slower and more melodic Rex Orange County, who he takes inspiration from, as well as Beabadoobee, Clairo and Wallice. I had the opportunity to talk to Joey about his creative process and upcoming releases.
Me: What was it about music that made you decide this is what you want to do as a career?
Joey: There are a lot of things about music that made me decide that I wanted to do it forever. But probably the biggest reason would be how my music makes other people feel. I’ve gotten some messages and comments from people saying how my music makes them feel comforted and how they relate to the songs. Some people even thank me for making music and honestly, it’s probably the greatest feeling in the world knowing that you made someone’s day, or you made a positive impact on someone’s life no matter how minimal it is.
Me: What’s your creative process like from inspiration to production?
Joey: It’s all over the place really, sometimes I start with the melody, or I have an idea for a song, so I try to write around the idea. Sometimes I come up with a lead guitar sound that’s cool but most of the time I start with a chord progression. I write songs with the guitar because that’s probably the only instrument that I’m confident in playing. After that, I try to find a melody that sounds good. Then I sing random words that have a certain rhythm in the syllables that would fit the melody and progression. After having those down, that’s when I start to come up with the lyrics or the main idea that the song wants to talk about. I don’t go into the production side of things unless the song is written. Because it’s hard for me to produce without having a complete idea of what the song wants to be. I’d rather spend a good amount of time writing a song than trying to make up for it in the production. Because I feel like if you have a complete song written down you could do whatever you want with production but also know what the limitations are so the original idea of the song doesn’t get lost.
Me: Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
Joey: My biggest musical inspirations would probably be Rex Orange County, Dijon, Clairo, Beabadoobee, Wallice, and Cavetown, among others.
Me: If there’s something that you could do through your music, what would it be? (inspire etc)
Joey: I hope to eventually inspire the next generation of bedroom DIY artists from Asia, especially from the Philippines. Because not a lot of people from my country or in Asia for that matter get to pursue music. I eventually want to be someone who they look up to and be like “If he can do it, I think I can do it as well”.
Me: How does ‘Better Than Ever’ differ from your previously released music?
Joey: This is the first song that I feel like I have the most connection to. I feel proud of how it turned out since it took quite a while making something that I genuinely liked. When I was writing the song it felt like I was creating my first song ever. “Not Gonna Lie, I’m Tired” and “Better Than Ever” radiate the same energy to me where I made music just because I love making it. I didn’t think about the streams, the reception, and the opinion of other people. What mattered to me in that moment was how I felt about my work. It feels nice being able to go back into the carefree feeling of making music. Better Than Ever marks a drastic change in my life but it also marks a change of my perspective with making music.
Me: What was the creative process like for ‘Better Than Ever’ and did it differ in terms of previously released songs?
Joey: Well, it started around June of 2021. I got really inspired from listening to “Kenny” by Still Woozy and “Blouse” by Clairo. So, I thought I could write a song like that. Then I started to play around the guitar humming the melody as I went along. I recorded that idea on my phone and called it a day. Days later, I listened back to the recording and thought it sounded good, so I decided to write words for it. I wanted to share my journey about overcoming a rough period in my life. The next thing I knew I finished writing the verse and then everything else just fell into place. The song had a completely different pre-chorus than the released version and I honestly don’t know how and when it happened. When it comes to producing the song, it was way different than my previously released songs because when I was making this, I just kept adding more and more stuff to it. I was changing the rhythm of percussion loops, playing around panning and automation, trying different synth sounds, and using plugins that I’ve never used before. I was just playing with sounds and stuff and somehow everything fit together nicely. The best part is that I was having fun throughout the whole process even if it took a while.
Me: How do you think creating music by yourself affects the process, positively and negatively?
Joey: The best part about creating music by yourself is that you have the freedom to do whatever you want at your own pace and time. You could be vulnerable when writing since you could be alone with your thoughts. For me, it helps to really get your emotions, thoughts, and feelings out in a song. However, I feel like working with other people makes the process easier and faster since you don’t have to think about everything at once. Also, you get more creative ideas for your song, which in return could improve the quality of the music.
Me: If there’s one thing you could tell a prospective audience you, your music and journey, what would that be?
Joey: Joey Maybe is a project that I started as a form of self-expression. That’s why the music revolves around personal experiences and moments in my life that have an intense emotion or feeling attached to it. Everything about Joey Maybe changes, from the sound, the lyrics, to the main idea of the songs depending on where I am at in life. In short, Joey Maybe is Introspective, Dynamic, and Genuine.
Me: What’s your biggest goal in terms of your music as of right now?
Joey: My biggest goal right now is to make enough songs for an album because I’ve been meaning to create one for a long time. I would also like to incorporate visuals into the creative experience since I think that would be cool to do.
Me: What can we expect from you and your music in the future?
Joey: Expect that the Joey Maybe sound may change but the authenticity of the music will stay the same. Besides that, I hope to eventually get a chance to play shows, release albums and hopefully pursue music full time.