Exposure: Josephine Foster
How to describe Miss Foster’s warbling psych-folk voice... Swooning. Vibrating? With rollercoaster peaks and dips? Or ‘Morriconean’ as one reviewer put it. Josephine chats to The List before her Glasgow date, touring with a live band including Trembling Bells’ Alex Neilson on drums.
You’ve worked as a funeral singer and wedding singer. What was the tougher gig?
Both can be hard work. I once played harp for a little wedding at the haunted Stanley Hotel near Rocky Mountain Park, where Steven King was inspired to write The Shining. It was freezing cold and my fingers felt like icicles, I thought the strings of the harp were going to break them off.
Your singing and songwriting style have been compared to Patti Smith and Jefferson Airplane. Any other comparisons you’ve appreciated?
A recurring comment I receive is, ‘you sound like a theremin’. I finally tried playing a theremin for the first time last summer and it was a lot of fun. I was able to play ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ on my first try. However, that was probably beginner’s luck.
Your recent album Blood Rushing covers ‘elemental themes of love, with a melancholy joy that casts a shadow of desire and loss.’ What was on your mind as you wrote it?
It was not written at any one time, but spread out over the last seven years, so it’s more a collection of songs that seemed to speak to me from the same world and had the arc of a story.
You made the front cover of The Wire not long ago. How do you feel about that public side of your career? Do you like doing interviews and photoshoots?
I’m grateful to be a musician, and it seems to help all those involved to do this. However it would be dishonest to say I enjoy it much, excepting the occasional radio interview when I find myself laughing and joking with the host.
Josephine Foster plus guests, Saramago Cafe, CCA, Glasgow, Thu 25 Oct.