Joe Appleford may very well be one of the hottest properties in the UK music industry in the next few months. His own blend of rock music in the style of a heavier Queens of the Stone Age could set the UK music scene alight. As his forthcoming debut album Distopian Dreams, Utopian Nightmares approaches, we spoke to the man himself at 2000Trees to discuss the new record, his ambitions in the music industry and more.

First of all, how was your set yesterday?

Yeah, really good, really well attended. I honestly didn’t expect there to be as many people there as there was so that was great. There was a guy down the front who had printed his own bootleg merch, and this is my fourth show, so I ain’t got any merch just yet, I’ve only got a few songs out so yeah, it was mad.

Have you been to Trees before?

Yeah, so in my old band, I played here in 2017 and 2018, and I’ve been as a punter so yeah, I love it. It’s literally my favourite festival, no bullshit.

So, is it a festival that’s pretty close to your heart?

Yeah, I love it. People are always so nice, like you go to Reading and Leeds, and Download, the line-ups are great, but sometimes the clientele are well, you know what I mean, But here, people are just chill and I think this is the festival that people really come for the music.

We think with Trees, a lot of people will come regardless of the music because of the vibe of the festival. A lot of people reading this interview may not have heard of your music as you’ve only released a few songs, so how would you describe your style?

It’s sort of like a heavy Queens of the Stone Age, Black Keys, there’s a lot of groove in there. I love Prince and stuff like that.

You’ve also got a debut album coming out – we were wondering if you’d be able to tell us a bit about the LP?

Yeah, I named it Dystopian Dreams, Utopian Nightmares because when I started writing the songs for the record, it started to shape into a concept record basically. Every song on the record is a different character’s perspective, and yeah that title just clicked in my head, as like a cool play on words.

It’s a name you can imagine on people’s t-shirts.

Including yesterday when the guy printed his on, but yeah it’s sick man. I’m excited to get it out and play more shows. Like I say, this was only our fourth show, and because there has been so many reschedules of tours now it’s starting to free up, there’s more tours coming out, we’re coming and I’ve already got the next release ready to go. 

That’s awesome, how have you found playing live?

Yeah a bit weird, because I’d not played for three years since my old band split up, so that was a but odd but second show was fucking great. We played with As Everything Unfolds in Manchester, because we have the same booking agent, and yeah, they are really nice people, and we’ve been in our groove second show onwards basically. Yesterday was really nice because we had people coming up saying they couldn’t believe it was our fourth show, and hopefully that means we’re doing something right.

As you live in Manchester right now, which is a place that has produced many great artists – what do you think it is about Manchester that means it keeps on producing so many amazing artists?

I think the reason why I connect with it is that working class culture. I’m from Croydon, which is South London, and the culture is not too dissimilar. There is something in the water in Manchester though, like it is that working class mentality that there’s nothing else to do, so you make music. So that was my background, where I’m from, people either get into crime or music, and it sounds a bit silly, but like Stormzy is from Croydon and that’s an example of the path you can take. I think it’s similar to up north, where you can either fall into that way of living, or music.

As you’re a new solo artist, what will define a successful career in music for you? If we were to speak to you in ten years, where would you want to be?

Being able to do it full-time I’d say is the minimum bench mark. If I can make a living out of it, I’d say that’s a success because that’s when I’m truly happy when I’m playing music. I have grand ambition, I have a lot of drive, and a lot of determination. I know that this project will connect in an even bigger way than I think it can, I’m already starting to see it. I’m seeing my Spotify numbers really jump, I’ve not had any editorial support, so I know as I start to release more music because for the first four/five years, it’s going to be constant output. The aim is to make every release better than the last one, and I think I’m doing something different in my lane. Other male solo artists, like I’m different to Frank Carter, Yungblud, stuff like that, I think I’m in my own lane.

What does the rest of 2022 look like for Joe Appleford?

More tours. I’ve got two tours to announce shortly, all in the UK, and European stuff, like way more festivals, and hopefully come back here. I had a chat with one of the organisers earlier and he really enjoyed the set, so yeah just loads more shows basically, I’m hungry for it.

Interview by: Joe Loughran 

Joe Appleford’s debut album Dystopian Dreams, Utopian Nightmares is due for release on 19th August 2022 via AWAL.

See Joe Appleford live, with support from El Moono, at one of the following dates: 

August 2022

Tue 23rd – MANCHESTER – Retro
Wed 24th – EDINBURGH – Bannermans
Thu 25th – STOKE – Underground
Fri 26th – NEWCASTLE – Bobiks
Sat 27th – LUTON – The Castle
Sun 28th – BRISTOL – The Exchange/Apocalypse Summer Bash*
Mon 29th – MILTON KEYNES – Craufurd Arms
Tue 30th – GUILDFORD – The Star
Wed 31st – LONDON – Black Heart

*Joe Appleford only

Tickets are on sale now and available HERE.

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