By Sonia Schnee | Posted Friday, May 17, 2019
In 2013, Bergen County singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Joe Mifsud released his sophomore album, Stay Calm And Carry On. Drawing from a variety of influences, his music has a decidedly alternative/rock/pop bent with new folk/lo-fi elements via his side project, Here for Now. (On top of that, Joe is also a standup comedian. Check out his Facebook page for upcoming performance dates.)
Now in 2019, Joe is ready to jump back into the scene, writing new songs, playing shows, and meeting/collaborating with like-minded creatives and music lovers. Before you listen to his new work, be sure to check out some of his past gems, as well as our interview below to find out more about his personal journey and hopes for the future.
What’s your name, where are you from originally, and where are you based now?
My name is Joe Mifsud. I was born in New York, New York but grew up in Harrington Park, NJ in Bergen County. I currently reside in Harrington Park.
Tell us about your musical background. You do a bit of everything -- singing, songwriting, and playing multiple instruments. How would you describe your genre/style? Who are your influences?
I've generally described my music as a cross pollination of several influences, but if I HAD to describe it to people I usually say my sound would be if The Beatles met The Foo Fighters. Or just very Foo Fighters-like in nature.
Musically, I play guitar, bass, drums, sing, write my own lyrics and music. I do enjoy a lot of different types of music. Growing up, my dad really enjoyed Motown music, Doo-Wop music and the Jazz and Soul Singers. My mom listened to all different types of Spanish Music and top radio hits of the 80's. My sister listened to a lot of jam bands like Phish & Dave Matthews Band along with early 90's Alternative Rock. My brother was listening to 80's Metal and Progressive Rock like Rush when we shared the room together when we were kids.
My childhood best friend Kevin and I listened to a lot of 90's Alternative Rock as we grew up as well as a lot of Classic Rock. We would raid his parents' Classic Rock collection. My influences are many to name but a short list would include The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, Black Sabbath, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Radiohead, Foo Fighters. More importantly to me were the local influences, musical peers and my brother (who used to play guitar and bass in a band) and my dad (who used to sing in a barbershop group with his friends on the street corner).
What's the inspiration behind your music? How has it progressed over time? How do you hope people will feel when they listen to it?
The main inspiration behind my music is relationships.
Not always a romantic love relationship,
but it comes from a very literary sense.
Man and nature.
Man and woman.
Man and himself.
Man and society.
I appreciate the very therapeutic value of songwriting. I tend to write very autobiographically as a way of coping and understanding myself and the world around me. I have been fortunate to use music and songwriting as a way to develop my personal and artistic voice. I hope that people find a connection and comfort in what I bring to music. Music to celebrate the good times and good memories and bring people together. Music to find solace and comfort in during the hard times. I hope that people are able to connect with the music on some level that strikes them even if it is just the tone or sonic soundscape or the lyrics and message or all of it.
Ultimately, I would like to give back to music what it gave to me. Music gave me a sense of home, comfort and purpose.
What has your personal journey been like? When did you discover that you loved music?
My personal journey started when I was young. My earliest memories of music were listening to Spanish music in the living room and tapping out the rhythm on the conga drum with my dad. The first song that really struck a chord with me was The Beatles' “Lady Madonna” because of the ragtime-type groove and the cartoon-like vocal section that reminded me of a Looney Tunes song. I loved when there would be classical music in cartoons when the characters would have a play off of classical songs on piano. Queen's “Bohemian Rhapsody” is my favorite rock song of all time. Nothing quite captured my imagination in so many ways about the possibilities of Rock than “Bohemian Rhapsody”! As I got to be about ten or eleven years old, the first band that I was able to claim as my own was Nirvana. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and its accompanying music video blew me away! When I saw Dave Grohl playing the drums, I knew that I wanted to do that! Play Drums! Play Music for a living ! I felt empowered by Nirvana and their music because, similarly to The Beatles' effect, they were just normal people making great music. I felt like I could do it, too, and that it wasn't totally beyond me.
I discovered that I loved music very early on in my life and that it became a goal and a challenge that I accepted to be like my heroes. I wanted to learn to sing, write lyrics, play instruments and write my own original songs with a level of proficiency.
What are your goals as an artist? What would you like to accomplish by the end of this year? What kinds of people would you like to meet? Are there any artists, bands, or producers who you'd love to collaborate with one day? Do you have any shows coming up?
My goals as an artist are to have the music reach people and touch their lives in a positive way. By the end of the year, I would like to have accomplished jumpstarting a life in music and sharing music that I've written with as many people as possible and through multiple channels such as live shows, interviews, social media, streaming services, reviews and podcasts, personal connections, etc. I would like to reach people that genuinely love, support and appreciate music and the arts. I am open to meeting people that are creative, passionate and awesome! There are many artists, bands or producers that I'd love to collaborate with one day. At the top of my lists would be Rick Rubin for producer and Dave Grohl for Musician.
I do not have any shows coming up, but I am looking to plan shows for 2019 and beyond and will keep you updated!
What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar passion, or is maybe facing obstacles similar to what you've faced?
Words of advice or encouragement that I would give to someone who wants to follow a similar passion or is maybe facing obstacles similar to what I've faced: Believe in yourself. Trust your voice. Trust the process and trust that an audience will be attracted to your vision. Always stay true to yourself and the original vision because when it's all said and done you have yourself to be accountable to.
DO! Don't let anxiety or insecurity or excuses counteract productivity. Your older self will thank your younger self.
Create, Create, Create! Hopefully you get a job where you have the time and income to fund and realize your art without interference.
It may take time but stick with it!
I will be your fan!
Where can people find you online (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube, etc.)?
Official Music Website: https://www.mifmusic.com
Instagram (Seldom Used but I should use it more): https://www.instagram.com/mif95/?hl=en
Twitter (Seldom Used but I should use it more): https://twitter.com/JoeMifsudBand
YouTube (Videos including live, promo and music videos that I've uploaded): https://www.youtube.com/user/davidbedert/videos
YouTube Official Music from the Albums:
For the Streaming Music, the music is available on all streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Tidal, Google Play, etc.
My side acoustic/indie/folk project is called Here For Now. The album is called Letters Home.
Here For Now Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/herefornowband/
Here For Now Bandcamp : https://herefornowthereforlater.bandcamp.com/album/letters-home-there-for-later-edition
Also available on all streaming music platforms - Here For Now Letters Home