Joseph Malik has crafted a fantastic catalogue of music over the decades and is highly respected for his distinctively soulful voice and on point song writing skills. As he releases his highly anticipated fifth artist album, ‘Proxima Ebony’ – a spell-binding body of work that weaves between between Soul, R&B, Disco, Afro Boogie and old skool Hip Hop, on Ramrock Red Records, DMCWorld checks in with Edinburgh’s raw talent, Joseph Malik to find out more.
Hey Joseph! Thanks very much for taking the time to sit down with us here at DMC World. How’s 2023 been for you so far?
It’s been wonderful thank you, and all the hard work is paying off.
Where in the world are you answering this interview from?
I’m in Edinburgh with my family and friends and my wee dog, the beautiful Bonnie.
Please can you introduce yourself to our DMC World readers?
I am Joseph Malik, song writer and producer and your leftfield muse on Ramrock Records. This is my 30th year of making music and I’ve created 5 albums in 5 years – ‘Proxima Ebony’ is my most current LP.
What is the best piece of new music you have heard recently?
I would say Scorpio Leisure’s ‘Give Me Some Space’. They’re an Edinburgh post punk band with Hettie Noir on vocals, Malcolm Ross on guitar, Russell Burn on drums and Colin J Whitson on bass and additional band members, Ricky Maymi and Mungo Carswell.
How would you describe your signature sound?
Diverse – I draw my influences from all genres that have been part of my personal soundtrack.
What’s been your most successful release so far?
If we’re basing it on radio play on BBC Radio 6, it has to be ‘Take A Left’ from ‘Diverse Pt. 2’. Craig Charles played the track 7 weeks in a row. I believe it’s a world record.
Take a Left
Congratulations on your new ‘Proxima Ebony’ album, what can you tell us about it and are you pleased with how It sounds?
It’s the greatest album I’ve ever been a part of, featuring an international, all star cast. It’s beyond words and the album is so full of emotion for me. The production and arrangement for the final album was done by Darren Morris and Jo Wallace, label boss at Ramrock Records. The mastering by Darren Morris has brought out the very best of all the collaborations and additional instrumentation.
Only Fans (ft. Digital Liquid)
The album also features an array of artists and musicians. Who was involved and what did they bring to the table?
Capitol A from San Francisco guests on the title track, ‘Proxima Ebony’ and he wrote all the lyrics which I also sing. Then New Jersey rapper, Kameelah Waheed is on ‘Be a Lion’ where she wrote all the lyrics and then ‘My Whole World (Is Fallin’) which we co-wrote together. There’s also Digital Liquid, aka Daniel Walls who was part of the creative team on ‘Proxima Ebony’ and he features with Shuya Okino from Kyoto Jazz Massive on ‘Shuya San’ and also on ‘Only Fans’, then world class jazz harpist, Alina Bzhezhinka nails the improvised harp on ‘Hollywood Africans’ and finally, Chris Franck from Delata plays on ‘High Over Low’. And all additional instrumentation is by Darren Morris and Jo Wallace can be heard on backing vocals on several tracks.
Proxima Ebony (ft. Capitol A)
What’s your favourite track on the album and why?
That’s a great question as I am sitting with the woman who I wrote the track about… It’s ‘High Over Low’ – we danced and kissed in Madrid, and the rest is on the record.
High Over Low (ft. Chris Franck)
Lyrically speaking, there are quite a selection of interesting stories and topics across the album, who or what inspires your songs?
It’s a combination of real life events, personal conversations and trials and tribulations.
Reflecting back on your career, how does ‘Proxima Ebony’ compare to your previous albums and where do you see yourself moving musically in the future?
‘Proxima Ebony’ is the pinnacle of my five album output. The production, arrangement and mastering make this a standout album. I have a dub reggae project lined up with Steven Christie from the Proclaimers and a track with Ashley Beedle and the Black Science Orchestra. And that’s all I’m allowed to tell you.
You’ve just performed live with your band for the album launch party at The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, how did it go?
My home crowd in Edinburgh turned out in force, which was amazing. All the band were on top form, as were my special guest DJ’s Jo Wallace, Shuya Okino and Natasha Kitty Katt. The whole evening was spectacular.
We come to raid your record collection, which embarrassing record do you chuck out the window before we arrive?
Frankie Valli’s ‘Grease Is The Word’, I’m saying no more.
What record makes you say ‘damn, I wish I made that’?
A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘The Space Program’. Fyfe Dog has sadly passed away, but he’s on the track and this is where Tribe prove that they earnt the moniker, ‘The Beatles of Hip Hop’.
A Tribe Called Quest - The Space Program (Official Audio)
Any tips or advice for aspiring singer / songwriters looking to break through on the scene?
Be yourself, write your own songs, stay away from covers and stick at it.
Finally, what’s coming next for you?
I’m looking forward to a holiday with family and friends.
‘Proxima Ebony’ album is out now on all digital platforms / Vinyl release January 2024 on Ramrock Red Records.