Joshua Giant started writing songs at the age of seven and plays over eight music instruments. Recording in his home studio in NYC, Giant makes music with a unique sound that is very energetic and real. He has played venues all around the US and is currently gaining more exposure through rotational college radio play. With a humble personality, Joshua is sure to win over any crowd he shares moments with on a stage. Promoters and venue owners constantly end up re-booking him due to his loyal following as well as professionalism.
1. How long have you been doing what you’re doing and how did you get started in the first place?
Joshua Giant: I’ve been making music for as long as I can remember. I was actually able to sing lyrics to songs before I could even speak more than a handful of words. My father was a well established musician while I was growing up, in a band named X-Davis. They were featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and did some big tours in the USA and out in London. He wrote all the bands songs, so I got a front row seat to watching the writing process. I would always fool around with instruments my dad had laying around jamming with my older brother and began writing my own material around the age of seven. Music was never something I wanted to do, it was something I did naturally.
2. Who were the first influences on your music and style?
Joshua Giant: My dad for sure played a huge part in influencing my work, and his songs still do to this day. Other than that, I’m pretty selective when it comes to what music I really get into. As far as songwriting goes, I’d say John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Liam and Noel Gallagher would be some of the top guys I really admire. More modern bands like The Used and Taking Back Sunday absolutely have inspired me as well. People find it ironic, even though I have a rock edge in my style, that most of my influences are not Hip-Hop related. I don’t listen to many rappers, but I’d say Slug from Atmosphere would be the rap artist who influenced me the most. Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of respect for the Hip-Hop world and artists like Eminem, Kanye West, Drake, and all the guys doing their thing right now to keep the movement alive. But for me, I will always be a creation spun off of Rock. I guess that’s why I have been categorized as Alternative Rap.
3. In your opinion who is the most influential and successful artist in your genre today and why?
Joshua Giant: To me, influential and successful doesn’t necessarily have to do with how much a record label is paying a person, or how much money they make. I’d say success is measured in the way an artist’s work touches people. I’d say in the current state of rap, the more underground guys like Hopsin are making good moves right now. Songs people can relate to and lyricism seems to be undergoing a resurrection, which is great to see. The bragging songs have gotten to the point of ridiculousness. It’s good in doses, but it gets to the point where it’s like, okay… what else is there to say? I can’t pick one artist and say they’re he best right now, but I can say whoever is reaching people in a positive way through their lyrics is doing the right thing.
4. Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats or for the lyrical flow and content?
Joshua Giant: The more general public seems to react better to a hot beat and simple lyrics. The content seems to come second in the mainstream pop section of Hip-Hop. It’s gotten a bit out of hand, and I think if you listen to the radio and hear some of the current hits, it really shows. I felt relieved when I started hearing artists like Adele played on the radio. I feel she opened the gate for many artists who might not have had a chance in the past five years to break through. Slowly but surely I’m hearing more songs on the radio that make me feel like people, especially in the younger generation, are realizing lyrics are more than just words thrown onto some music.
5. On one of your tracks, I notice you have collaborated with Christina Grimmie. Is this the same Youtube singing starlet? And how did you get to working with her?
Joshua Giant: Christina is an extremely talented musician and songwriter. I ran across some of her songs on YouTube and immediately was inspired. I heard one song, “Liar Liar,” and felt I had to do something with it. I messaged her, and asked her if she would be interested in featuring on the chorus on one of my songs. She responded quickly and agreed. The song got some good attention, and I wish her all the best in her future projects.
6. From what we can gather, it seems you’re able to play many instruments? Could you tell us which they are, and what makes a hiphop artist want to play real instruments anyway?
Joshua Giant: Guitar, Bass, Drums, and Piano are the main instruments I play. Starting with my rock background that I mentioned earlier, I never thought about not creating my own music. I see it as making the canvas to paint on. I love picking up an instrument and creating my own piece. It’s for sure an advantage to have in the hip hop world, where sampling others work is popular, and most artists with original work have to purchase the music they lay their vocals onto. Producing beats is much easier when you understand the details behind music as well.
7. If you could choose to work with some of today’s established artists or producers, with whom would you like to collaborate?
Joshua Giant: I would love to do a song with Slug of Atmosphere, or Bert McCracken from The Used. Those are definite career goals of mine. I would also like to do a song with Adele, because I feel our clash of styles could create something interesting.
8. Which of your original compositions is currently your personal favorite, and why?
Joshua Giant: My personal favorite always changes. Right now, I’ve been playing my track, “Now Or Never,” off of my upcoming project, “HiberNation: The MixTape” in the car on repeat. It has so much energy and I can’t wait to perform it live on stage. I feel it can tear the roof off the place. Usually, when I record a new song, it becomes my favorite. My songs are like a record of my life. I don’t keep a diary or journal, so I listen to my songs and re-live parts of my life.
9. Which ingredient do you think is most essential in making your music the way it is?
Joshua Giant: Originality and Creativity. Period.
[wp_bannerize group=”Lfooter468x60″ random=”1″]
10. We know you’re an accomplished musician, but do actually compose and execute your own music or do you have your beats made for you by a producer of your choice?
Joshua Giant: I usually hate using any beats not produced by myself. However, there’s a well accomplished producer named Sinima, and I became utterly inspired by his beats. I chose to make a mix-tape produced by him, because I felt the chemistry I have with his work is amazing. HiberNation: The MixTape is 90% produced by Sinima. The rest of the beats on there, I made. I do plan on releasing an album in 2013, where 100% of the beats will be produced by me.
11. What aspect of the music making process excites you most, and what aspect discourages you the most?
Joshua Giant: Writing and recording are my favorite times. There is this rush that pumps through me that I can’t put into words. The only part that may be discouraging, is when a song is finished and released, there are going to be people who have negative things to say. However, they are usually people who are fueled by jealousy. I say, shake them off, thank them for listening to yours stuff, and keep it moving.
12. How involved are you in the recording, producing, mastering and other processes needed to complete and market your music, and do you outsource any part of this process?
Joshua Giant: Having knowledge in recording engineering and a home studio is a blessing. I do it all mostly myself right now. I have a great manager and great people around me to help though. I have an amazing woman in my life who keeps me at my best, and a great family behind me. My fan base has been loyal and stuck with me from the very beginning. My close friend and artist MarkEmarK has been nothing but supportive and motivating to me to get myself to where I want to be in my career. I can’t thank any of them enough for getting my voice out there.
13. Do you think the advent of internet and all the new technology, has helped your music and independent musicians in general, or do you think it just creates a mass of mediocre “bedroom artists” who flood the web, making it difficult to distinguish yourself?
Joshua Giant: It’s both. Anyone with a microphone and a camera now can post themselves out there to world. Even people who post nothing but videos of themselves playing cover songs of other artists develop huge, irrational egos and think they are qualified music critics. It’s a joke. At the same time, people can find a diamond in the rough that they might not have heard of before if it wasn’t for the internet and home recording becoming popular. Many artists get record label attention through the internet today. I hope to be that needle in the haystack.
14. In your experience so far, what is the best piece of advice in this business you actually followed so far? And one you didn’t follow, but now know you should have?
Joshua Giant: Both of these came from my father, which he learned through his experiences in the rough music industry. He taught me to never be discouraged by critics. I have had some projects in the past that flopped, and I’m still standing doing my thing. If I let the haters get to me, it will have nothing but a negative impact on my career. He also told me to never believe anything people in this industry tell you unless it’s in writing. I worked on an album entitled, “The Time Machine,” which never made it to stores or a release at all. I was working with a producer who was affiliated to a major record label and even had me meet with some people in high position there. They promised me the world, and spoke often about a contract they were going to be offering me soon. I spent almost a whole year working on an album with this producer to find out that I ultimately had no rights to any of the songs I made on the project and eventually withdrew from the situation. It was a waste of time, and if I would have listened to the advice my father had given me, I could have avoided all the nonsense and worked on music people would have heard.
15. What do you think is the importance of video to your songs and music in general? And how do you handle the processes needed to produce your video clips?
Joshua Giant: Much has changed in the music industry since the last time I was grinding my hardest. The YouTube boom has this effect where now people don’t want to hear the songs, they want to see them. I’m fairly new to the process of making music videos myself, but the few I have put out have gotten some great attention. I really look up the music video art aspect. I had the pleasure of being in a music video for Action Bronson produced by Rik Cordero, and working with Rik was an amazing experience. He truly is an incredibly talented guy, and has some great ideas. He really conveys a message behind a song through video, and I think that allegory is crucial to any type of visual message.
16. Where do you distribute and promote your music (Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Your own Website, Youtube etc…) and why?
Joshua Giant: As of now YouTube is my main source of releasing my music. HiberNation will be released all over the internet though. I’m expanding and growing as my fan base does, and being patient while working on quality projects is the key.
17. Tell us something about you upcoming project, “HiberNation: The MixTape” and what you’re hoping to achieve with this new release?
Joshua Giant: I’m hoping to show the world who I am. I write these songs to be heard. Establishing myself as an artist has always been a goal of mine, and I think I have a great chance of doing that with HiberNation. It is a highly symbolic concept and I hope people listen to this project with an open mind. I’m excited to put it out there. I’ve been pretty away from the music grind for a few years, and I’m saying with this, I crossed over to a place called Hiber Nation. All this built up emotion that I didn’t turn into music is spilling out of me now. While I was hibernating I was in HiberNation, and I’m going to share that experience through songs.
18. Is going platinum or winning a Grammy important to you? Where would you like to see your career within 5 years?
Joshua Giant: It would be amazing to win any kind of award for my work, but it is not my main focus as an artist. I just want to be heard. Five years from now, I hope to be able to make a living off of music, and have a large fan base to share my voice with.
19. What in your opinion is the biggest barrier an artist like yourself, has to face and overcome, to gain any commercial success?
Joshua Giant: For a long time I had been told I would be hard to market because of my weird mixture of rock and rap. Now that genre mixing is becoming popular, it may be a bit easier for me. However, I get rock fans that are hesitant to like me because of my rap edge, and rap fans that are hesitant to like me because of my rock edge. I do see a bigger change as of recently in both being more accepting. Another struggle is to stay active. In order for people to know who you are, you have to stay relevant. To stay relevant, you have to keep having projects going on such as videos and shows. You have to stay on top of your game or you will be replaced by another artist who is staying active. I have learned that lesson the hard way. This time, I’m going to take what I have learned and use it to my full advantage. I see HiberNation as a fresh start for my career, and a real chance to see where my music can take me.
20. Do you have an official release date for HiberNation: The MixTape?
Joshua Giant: Not yet, but I am very close to that. Stay tuned to my twitter and you will find out soon.
[wp_bannerize group=”inside468x60″ random=”1″]