Jolé Releases New EP ‘Let Go’
May 5, 2023 BY Jason Currell
With the Let Go EP (out now), Jolé‘s obvious talents as a writer and performer continue to mature (comparisons to the likes of Bon Iver & Sufjan Stevens will surely only grow on release of the new EP.) He has an incredibly strong Spotify following (700k listeners per month) and we expect this release to further consolidate his presence on the UK scene.
Freshly signed to Nettwerk, this is a key moment in the songwriter’s life. Jolé has completed the strongest project of his career to date, featuring some of his bravest, most empathetic work so far.
Listen to Let Go:
Jolé will be having an EP launch party at Strongroom, London on May 17th. Tickets available now.
Jolé went through some of the darkest times in his life, only to emerge stronger than ever before. Like most of us, the pandemic – and the isolation of lockdown – pushed unexpected challenges into his life, but he rose to every single one of them. It’s a process that became a coming-of-age of sorts, marked by personal loss, fatherhood, and the patient realisation of what he wants to achieve in his life. In turn, he’s embarked on a fresh journey, with a new home, a deal with esteemed independent label Nettwerk, and a fantastic new EP.
Know thyself. Raised in Frome, Somerset, Jolé was instinctively drawn to music from a young age. Real name Josh Oliver, an urge to collaboration led him to join a band, finding nationwide success before touring took them across Europe, and beyond. Once he’d been given his first taste, however, it was impossible to give up. “I’ve always loved writing music,” he reflects. “And as I got deeper and deeper into it, it became all I knew… and all I ever wanted to know.”
Eventually the band splintered, and the songwriter found himself on the south coast. “I came out of it all just wanting to make my own music,” he asserts. “I wanted full creative control over everything, so I just started writing and recording my own material. One thing led to another, and that led to my debut album. Nothing was planned, it was just a natural progression.”
Perhaps he’s being understated here. His 2019 self-titled debut achieved extraordinary success, it’s succinct simplicity conjuring visions of Bon Iver or Sufjan Stevens, while adding something unique, and defiantly English. Recorded during down-time at Eastbourne’s Echo Zoo studio with a friend at the controls, the experience became invaluable; it made his name, for one, and it allowed him to learn the art of the studio through watching other people.
Finding his way to North London with his partner, Jolé was in the process of setting up his own studio when COVID first hit the news. Opting to continue, the space became a life-raft during troubled times, allowing him shelter from the gathering storms. “Weirdly, it became a positive experience for me,” he smiles. “Whilst all the other songwriters were taking time out, I was using that time to get to where they were. So I took part in a lot of Zoom sessions, did a lot of writing sessions. I learned how to self-produce. In a creative sense, the time away was actually quite good for me.”
This sense of purpose fuels his daring new EP. His first major project in almost three years, it’s a wonderful song cycle, featuring seven glorious tracks of folk-hewn songwriting. Baroque yet utterly direct, the material deals with loss, grief, and survival, as Jolé learned to re-assert his sense of self in the wake of impending fatherhood.
“It was written over a long period of time,” he explains. “This EP is about loss. I lost two of my grandparents, pretty close together, and I hadn’t been able to see them for two years during COVID. The songs deal with this, with not being able to see the ones you love, while also looking through earlier memories of our time together. The EP is about becoming an adult, experiencing loss, and becoming a father.”
Recording was split between his Tottenham base, and Middle Farm studios in Devon. Recruiting Patrick Pearson to assist him, sessions were open and fluid, placing creativity to the fore. “I didn’t realise I was writing towards something,” he notes, “I was just enjoying being creative. And sometimes actually having a deadline can be a godsend!”
Frank and profoundly honest, Jolé found himself channelling some of his deepest feelings, conjuring emotions he had never discussed publicly. “Music has always been cathartic for me,” the songwriter notes. “It’s how I get thoughts down on a page. It’s literally my diary.”
The single ‘This City’ is the beautiful opening page of this new chapter. Working alongside Hugo Hardy, the pair concoct something magical – fragile to the touch but oh-so-strong, it discusses the uneasy feeling of visiting a location intimately familiar to you, but without the person who first drew you to that location. “When you go into the studio, you tend to say what’s on your mind,” he notes. “And with ‘This City’, it was just something I needed to say.”
Loss marks each of the songs on the EP, but then so too does hope – the two are never far from one another. ‘Let Go’ is about “coming out the other end of this process, I suppose, and realising that you can’t hold on to bad feelings. It’s a song about looking for positivity.
It’s a point he makes explicitly in the song ‘Hopes’ – we need something to aim for, to cling to. “It’s written about the last moments that I had with my grandma. I found that she almost gave up on life, towards the end. It’s about saying goodbye, and wanting her to stay around, while knowing that she couldn’t. It’s that feeling of cutting yourself loose.”
The project closes with ‘Grow’ and its moving poetic recitation from Michael Malarkey. It’s a moment that could falter in the wrong hands, but Jolé has found a new sense of creative purpose. “My songwriting ability has gotten a lot better,” he says. “I’m a lot more certain of what I’m trying to achieve. Everything feels like a step up.”
An artist who drives himself harder and harder, Jolé can border on being a perfectionist in the studio. “To a certain extent,” he says. “But I have a limit. I know when to be patient.”
Freshly signed to Nettwerk, this is a key moment in the songwriter’s life. Jolé has completed the strongest project of his career to date, featuring some of his bravest, most empathetic work so far. He’s itching to debut his radically overhauled live show, and gain that sense of connection that the pandemic so thoroughly disrupted. Most of all, however, Jolé is looking forward to settling down in Frome, raising his children, and furthering his art.
“I don’t think I ever fully grew up, to be honest!” he jokes. “I’ve never had a normal job, I’ve lived my life here, there, and everywhere. I’ve finally started to evaluate what I want to achieve in life, and what’s important to me.”