The Juniper Berries is the project of Oregon-raised, Austin-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Joshua Stirm, crafting idiosyncratic indie pop and majestic but skewed psychedelia from whatveer odds and ends float through his mind.
Leter this week he’ll release ‘My Ambition’, the first new music to emerge from Stirm since last year’s self-titled album, a beautifully wonky composition on that most taboo of all artistic topics – quitting.
“The song started out as kind of a jokey country song that I almost didn’t pursue,” explains Stirm. “I think when I was writing it, I was mostly just really stressed out. It felt kind of throwaway at first, like one of those songs that comes together so easily you’re like well this can’t be that good.”
“I wrote [it] while driving from Ashland to Portland, OR during a solo road trip in late-2019. I was about to move to Austin, as well as in the process of booking a tour and hammering out our last record’s release. I just felt overwhelmed by everything in that moment and wrote the song almost as a wish that I could just quit music and be rid of my desire to keep it going. After lockdown the song took on a whole new meaning for me, and serendipitously ended up being the very project that brought me back to making music with other people again.”
“We tracked it in a couple of sessions at Dave Hanson’s home studio in south Austin. The meat of it went really fast, partially thanks to the demo I’d made back in Oregon with my friend Jonathan Nelson. We nailed down the bulk of the song in the first session, then spent the next few laying down harmonies and twinkly stuff. Dave kept asking me if it was done or not and I kept coming back to the studio with more harmony ideas and layers. I think he was annoyed at first that we couldn’t just move on to the next song but in the end we’re both really proud of how it came out. This is actually the first Juniper Berries song to feature a glockenspiel. Those things do in fact still rip.”
Asked what he wants listeners to take away from the track, he replies “That life can be super fucked up but in like a funny way I think.”
‘My Ambition’ is out on 19th January via Earth Libraries
Article by Paul Maps