Shervin Lainez

JOSEPH’s ‘Ripple Effect’ for ‘The Sun’ to Come to Light

Coming off of release week for album that is as sentimental as it is vulnerable, equal parts touching and motivational, and more grounded than most could understand is JOSEPH – a band who heals alongside all of us.

All sister trio JOSEPH have swept the Pacific Northwest with their sweet harmonies since 2014. The three, from Portland, have also succumbed to the pressures of the music industry. Natalie Closner-Schepman and twins Allison Closner and Meegan Closner were ready to call it quits during the pandemic. Then, after ironing out some essentials and regrouping both internally and externally, they turned things around to make The Sun. “We had a moment a couple of years ago before we started writing this new record. It was a moment of what we all wanted to recommit and allow ourselves to leave the band if we chose to do so,” Allison explains to The Aquarian

“Having that conversation and putting it on the table was the healing. The three of us can keep on and carry on so to speak. It’s a lot to tour and being gone from your life. It allowed us to keep going, though,” adds Natalie. “It then went into this new album a little bit.”

The day-to-day traumas, whether it be on the road or in the studio, is what lead to the doubling down on whether or not they still wanted to be in a band. One thing they had to make sure was that this decision wasn’t going to affect their sisterly bond. “The most important thing here is our relationships as sisters and family. The question [was], ‘Could we maintain the band and maintain our relationship?’ The answer was yes – it just took a lot of conversations to get to that point,” admits Meegan.  

The result is The Sun, a sonically new and incredible fourth effort. According to Natalie, “We made this album in our hometown. We explored different sounds with producers Tucker Martine and Joey Burns. As we kept going, we invited British rocker Leggy Langdon and Seattle’s Deep Sea Diver to be involved. It was a wild journey, but we wanted to remain true to the songs each step of the way,” says Natalie.

The first single for The Sun, out now, was “Nervous System.” Amazing imagery filled the music video, but it may puzzle the viewer if you don’t innately relate, but it all comes down to Allison’s past anxieties. She gives voice to this: “The whole song is about my experience with anxiety and finding the power within myself to be ok, finding my strength and compass. One of the things that helped me a lot in my journey was Panic Free TV. One of the analogies is that they compared your anxiety to a smoke alarm. It’s basically a false alarm if you have a piece of toast that gets burned in the toaster and that ends up smoking. That’s what your anxiety is – just a false alarm. You come to realize your alarm is still working and that it’s not an actual emergency. I loved that. As we were making the video, I pitched the burnt toast, and it tied in pretty good.”

Natalie adds, “The visuals were designed by Clifton Chandler and worked off a brain scan. It’s a literal image of a brain. The marbles are coming from the thought of ‘losing your marbles.’ It’s your mind deciding and its not ignoring it – grab it and [assess] what is going on and bring it back into your own power.” Meegan amplifies this; “The marbles acknowledged the journey and thread of the whole song.” 

Their second single, title track “The Sun,” is a bright ditty that deals with darkness at some points due to its lyrical content. “The song ‘The Sun’ comes from my story of having come out of a relationship and being taken down a few notches from it,” notes Meegan. “It’s about relearning that my goodness doesn’t come from someone else saying that I am good. I want people to feel the victory in it. I am really happy with the way it came out.”

Before The Sun was out as a whole, “Fireworks” became the third tune that fans were able to hear and further feel out the album with. They explain that it’s a song about “not wanting to settle and wanting more – whether it’s in love life or for your life in general.”

Now that this record is out, though, audiences have leaned more into it and JOSEPH’s folk pop style. “We really do like pop music, but we never wanted to be like everyone else,” Meegan tells us. “We hope our music is pop enough, but that it’s unique enough that you think, ‘I’ve never heard anything like this.'”

With originality on the mind and coming from the Portland area, the trio suggest Deep Sea Diver and Mini Trees to listen to next for more cool new sounds in a similar vein… but New York is never not on their mind. “We’ve had really good experiences in New York,” they say, and the Bowery Ballroom and Music Hall of Williamsburg are some of the band’s favorite NYC venues. Come June you can support these sisters at Irving Plaza, as well, when they bring The Sun to life on stage.