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Randy: I'm talking to Joe Kisselburgh of Falling Up, now of The Send. Let's go back first of all. Whenever someone leaves a band, people always wondering how things are going. Obviously, you're on the Oregon Trail tour, so things must be good. So, amicable split?
Joe: Oh, definitely. I got to a point in my life where Falling Up wasn't the time, and where I wasn't the time. God really orchestrated it in a really great way. They've always been super supportive of me. That was almost a year ago now. So I've been working on The Send since.
Randy: It was right after GMA last year. They played Denver and it was just Micah, and I was like, "Where's Joseph?"
Joe: "Where's he at?" Yeah, so I've been working on that. The first big national tour that I'm on is with Falling Up. It's, I think, a somewhat appropriate way to start things off.
Randy: Do you think you'll join them for a song at any point onstage?
Joe: Ya know, they haven't asked me. If they do, I'd love to. But we'll see what happens.
Randy: And there's Run Kid Runů
Joe: Yeah, Run Kid Run, Ruth, a new band.
Randy: I've heard some of their stuff.
Joe: Yeah, they're great. I'm really close friends with those guys.
Randy: Didn't you do a mini-tour with them already?
Joe: Yep. We were on the road in January. Just a west coast run. Great guys. They're from the Northwest also. So we have a lot to talk about: camping and fishing and all that.
Randy: Yeah, Jeff just sent me the tracks, just a couple songs. Really enjoyed "Drown."
Joe: Oh, cool. Thanks.
Randy: That was excellent. And "Blocking the Sun." I like the guitars on there.
Joe: That song has a really cool story because I had about fourteen songs going into the studio.
Randy: This was with Aaron Sprinkle?
Joe: Yep. With Aaron last September or October. And we were on the last day of recording the drum tracks. Well, it was the night before that. I was sitting up in the room I was staying at, just playing around. And I came up with that riff. And I started playing around. And I kinda didn't want to 'cause I knew we had already started the record and I'd just end up being upset because I wouldn't be able to use something. And I wrote this song, and the next day I went and I showed Aaron. And I was like, "Aaron, you gotta listen to this. Tell me what you think." And it was the last day of doing drums. So he was like, "Alright. Let's do it."So, the entire song, made it all up as I went. It was really fun, though. It's probably one of my favorite songs on the record now.
Randy: Yeah, I really enjoyed it.
Randy: What about "Drown?" What's the story behind that one?
Joe: I wrote that, it was last fall. And I remember I had a week until I had to go to the studio. And I personally felt like I had written a handful of songs, but I still felt like there was something missing. And I still needed a good chunk of songs to really make the record strong. And I just had been really stressed out about it for a few weeks. And then literally three days before I flew out to Seattle, I kinda had a wild day. Ended up coming with that song, as well as "The Fall" and "Fairweather." Kind of all in one day. All these different ideas.
Randy: Productive day.
Joe: It was just one of those days where I was like, "You know what, forget it. I'm just gonna play guitar to have fun. Not gonna try to write a song. Not gonna do anything. Just going to relax and actually enjoy music." And I think through that, those three songs kind of came out. Which goes to show, I think when you're in your most natural creative setting it's always more organic.
Randy: You're not forcing it.
Joe: Yeah, not contrived in any way.
Randy: Well, one thing that's noticeable, Falling Up tends to mention some of the local areas and some of the geography shows up in the songs.Joseph: Definitely!
Randy: And I noticed something like that happened with yours, too.
Joe: Yeah, there's a few moments: the song "Santiam." I actually grew up in a really small town, and there's a river that runs behind my parents' house called the Santiam River. So that was kind of, I guess, my shout out back to home.
Randy: Some childhood memories?
Joe: Yeah, I grew up in that house and in a truly beautiful area. And it has such a big place in my heart. There's a lot of memories in that place. That song ended up kind of being a metaphor for where I was in my life with God.
Randy: Are your parents still in that area?Joseph: Yep. It's a really small town in Oregon called Sweethome. It's a really small place. Kind of out in the middle of nowhere. There's not really a lot going on, but it's beautiful.
Randy: Is that anywhere near Portland?Joseph: It's about an hour and a half south of Portland.
Randy: I've got a sister-in-law in Salem.
Joe: Oh yeah, just go a little southeast for about 40 minutes you'll hit Sweethome.
Randy: Talk a little bit about the experience with Falling Up as far as how that helped lay the foundation for you. Obviously, you were pretty young when you got going with Falling Up.
Joe: Yeah, I started touring in that band when I was, I think, seventeen at the time. It was a really great experience. Obviously, they're some of my best friends in the world. Just the experience of traveling with people that you love.
Randy: Well, and Falling Up always toured pretty hard.
Joe: Oh yeah, it was definitely really heavy. But it was great just to learn. I grew a lot learning about touring and a lot about music. A lot about what it takes to do it professionally and to give everything up in your life to travel and play music. It was a great opportunity for me to be in a situation in a great band with a great bunch of guys. It made it a lot easier to get a lot of experience and learn basically what it takes to do it.
Randy: Did you write some of the material while you were on the road with Falling Up?
Joe: The Send material?
Randy: Or is that more after you left?
Joe: Well, there's a few little ideas here and there, just guitar riffs that I've been playing around with for awhile. But the majority of the actual songs, the core of what this record is, kind of came afterwards. When I left the group, I wasn't 100 percent sure of what I was going to do one way or the other. I have always been passionate about writing songs. And I knew that it was something I wanted to do sometime, but I didn't leave the band to go do that. It was more a life change, kind of left a lot of doors open, just prayed about it for a long time.
Randy: Then you've got some apparently some interest in the production side of things. I've seen you doing a little stuff with the remix thing that Falling Up did.
Joe: Oh, right. Yeah, I love the studio. I'll be recording, then I just want to go out on the road and play shows. And then when I'm out playing shows, I just want to be in the studio. The studio's great because it's a completely different setting than the live setting. The live's great because it's spontaneous and there's the energy and it's just really fun. I love being in the studio because there are no limits. It's such a creative atmosphere and I just love recording and getting cool sounds and creating the songs.
Randy: Is that something you think you'll be doing more of as you get older, get into the production side?
Joe: Yeah, I'd like to think that whenever the time comes in my life to move on to something else, I would definitely hope that's an opportunity I would have in the future.
Randy: My understanding is that you played quite a bit of the instruments on the CD.
Joe: Yeah, I played everything except for drums.
Randy: Who did the drums?
Joe: A guy named Jason Clark. He's a guy from up in Seattle. He's in a band called Pretty Girls Make Graves. Actually plays guitar in that band. I didn't know him. He just showed up to play the drums. And he was amazing.
Randy: Aaron knew him?
Joe: Yeah, they were friends through other friends. That went really great. It was really great working with Aaron. It was really fun 'cause like you said, I was playing all the bass, keys, and guitars. There's a really good vibe between him and I. I think we had a really high respect for one another. I felt like I had a lot of the freedom to do creatively what I wanted to do with each different instrument. And I didn't feel that he ever forced me in a direction that I didn't want to go. But at the same time, he was really encouraging and pushed me creatively. It was really good though. It was really fun. He's a great guy.
Randy: How long did you spend in the studio?
Joe: It was about four weeks.
Randy: Pretty focused.
Joe: Yeah, definitely. We were going every day all day long.
Randy: And what about on tour? Do you have a band put together?
Joe: Yeah, one of my buddies, we've been really close friends since about sixth grade.
Randy: That goes back.
Joe: Oh yeah, one of my best friends in the whole world. He's actually playing keys with me. So that's great. The rest of my band are just people I've met over the last few years. People from here [Nashville] and one of the guys from Seattle that I met in the studio is playing bass with me. So it's just a really good group of guys.
Randy: How many guys have you picked up?
Joe: I have four other ones. Guitar player, keyboard player, bass and drums.
Randy: And then you're doing guitar and vocals?
Joe: Yeah. I play keys on a few songs, but mostly guitars.
Randy: Sounds good. Well, I appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Joe: Yeah, thanks a lot.