Josef Salvat is in overdrive at the moment. Releasing his debut album ‘Night Swim’ earlier this year to critical applause, it’s been a whirlwind few months for the Australian rising singer who now calls London his home. Averaging 2.7M Spotify streams a month, gaining his 6th Hype Machine #1 and selling out tours across Europe and the UK, there’s no slowing down for the self-confessed perfectionist, who will play his biggest show at Paris’ famous Olympia music hall later this year to over 2,700 fans.
The sense of apartness, and of otherness in Josef’s music immediately struck a chord with listeners when he released the songs This Life, Hustler and Every Night in 2014. Small symphonies of late-night electro-soul, with lyrics that address love, lust, obsession and betrayal, they seem to occupy their own space, and be infused by a sort of nocturnal shadow world, where love is a game in which there are few winners. Musically, moments of extraordinary lushness emerge out of sparse, bare-bones verses that give no hint of the drama to come. The contrast is both engrossing and discomfiting. “I do think that restraint is underrated in pop,” Josef says. “And my natural tendency is to go over the top, every time. So that’s another battle. Which I clearly enjoy, I guess.”
This is music of profound honesty, complexity and originality. “The reason I make this type of music,” he says, in parting, “is because I like it. It’s that simple. Compared to other things in my life, music is something I don’t have to think about very much, because it’s instinctive, and relatively instant. And when I’m actually making it, I don’t care; I just want to do what I do.” And, for once, Josef Salvat looks like he really believes it.