Songwriter and producer from Toronto specializing in indie (rock or pop) and folk/americana/country. Currently looking to expand beyond working on my own projects and dive into songwriting and producing for others.
Hi! I'm a songwriter with 4 LPs to my name (one with my former band The Fluxes) and 3 EPs. In the time it's taken me to write, record and put out these albums, I've developed a strong knack for topline writing, lyrics and arrangement. For a sense of how I work, I always write with the melody coming first after establishing some sort of chord progression or riff to base it on, then follow with the lyrics and arrangement. With my various musical projects I have always been the principal songwriter and often will come to my band with songs fully developed.
I'm looking to move beyond writing solely for myself and my bands and work with others interested in crafting catchy earworms with raw, honest lyrics and exciting, unique arrangements. The styles I'm most comfortable with are pretty wide ranging, from synth pop (think The 1975, the last few Taylor Swift records, Lorde, Anna of the North) to more indie rock/rootsier based stuff (John Mayer, Hozier, Kings Of Leon).
Since I am primarily doing this for the love of the craft at the moment, I am your guy if you want high quality writing and arranging on a tight budget. And I mean tight. I get it; I've made all my albums DIY on an out-of-pocket budget. So if you are looking for a song for your next project, a top-notch melody, attention-grabbing set of lyrics or out-of-the-box arrangement, hit me up and we'll get to work!
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
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Interview with Josh Charbot
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I'm very proud of my upcoming record, The Depression Sessions. Covid-19 sidelined any hopes of recording the album in a studio (with the exception of drums, which had been recorded just prior to the shutdown). The album was recorded from home as a result and turned out far better than I could have hoped. I think it's my most stylistically diverse album that really nails the different sounds and genres I was trying to capture with each track. I wrote all the songs as well as sang, played guitar, programmed synths and drums and was the producer and recording engineer.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I'm just preparing to put out my new solo record, The Depression Sessions. After that I'll be continuing to plug away at my first collection of songs intended to be pitched to other artists.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Mauricio Gargel mastered my 2016 EP 'A Different Shade Of Blue' and did an excellent job. Nicolas David did editing and some mixing on my former band The Fluxes' 2018 album 'Things I Wish I Said While You Were Standing In Front Of Me'.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I refuse to make music that I don't confidently believe in. If you choose to work with me, you'll be getting all the time and attention you need for your tracks to get them to the point we're both happy with and, with any luck, beyond it. I am not the kind of writer who runs with the first idea that comes to mind. Whether it be topline, lyrics or arrangement, you will be getting something that is thoughtful and fully flourished.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: My first question is how strongly they prioritize melody in their songs. Since I like to work in genres loosely associated to some kind of pop, I believe the melody is the most important thing and the component that must lead everything else in a song. If we're on the same page with that, then I like to ask what genre they're looking to work in, their closest influences for that sound, and what style of lyrics they prefer to use. Blunt and confessional, opaque and allegorical, etc.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: The most important thing for me to do my job to the best of my ability is a clear sense of the desired end product; nobody wants to blatantly rip off anyone else, but if you had to, who would you rip off? If an artist, songwriter or producer is doing their job correctly, they will sound unmistakably like them and no one else as soon as they put their own spin on something.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My full time day job is working as a producer's assistant in film and television with hopes of becoming a screenwriter. In tandem with this, I would like to become a staff songwriter for a publishing company. I have been singing, playing guitar and writing songs for 13 years and have been making albums on my own nearly just as long.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Impossible to name just one but since I've always written for myself and I'm a guy, I'd love the opportunity to write with and for a woman, so I'll say Taylor Swift. I think when people are done shitting on her, she will be remembered as one of the greatest songwriters of her generation (if she's not already seen that way). Her catalogue has ventured into many of the genres I enjoy most so I'd love to see where else she could go sonically.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Less is more. It took me a very, very long time to realize that. If the song is good, it doesn't need much to make that shine through. Don't overcrowd good writing with every band member's desire to be heard in the mix at all times.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: If you check my list of songwriting inspirations, that gives a pretty good sense of the range I work in. I would say my default position is one of two things; indie rock and folk/americana. My indie rock sometimes swings into indie pop and my folk stuff sometimes finds itself in country infused territory.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My ability to come up with melodies that get stuck in your head and lyrics that punch you in the gut.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a strong sense of melody, a storyteller's approach to lyrics and a very radio friendly mindset to harmony and arrangements.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: My songwriting process never changes although the catalyst idea for a song isn't always the same thing. It may be a chord progression or riff (which it usually is), a melody without harmonic accompaniment or a lyric or song title. Whatever it may be, I will always establish the melody, chord progression and rhythm for a verse and chorus. The part I focus on first is based on what the catalyst idea for the song is. If it's a chord progression that spurs a chorus melody, then I double back to the verse and vice versa. Once I have the base elements established for the verse and chorus (and possibly pre-chorus), I put lyrics to it that fit tightly with the melody. Then I round out the song with a bridge if needed and an intro and outro. Often as I'm doing all this, additional ideas for the song's arrangement will arise.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I work from home and do all my recording on Logic with my Macbook Pro. I use a pretty basic audio interface (which I have to replace so I can't even say specifically what I have right now), a Shure SM57 and an Apex 540 condenser mic. The only thing I won't do from home are live drums.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: The vast majority of my inspirations are songwriters so I'll focus on them, in no particular order; Bob Dylan, Billie Joe Armstrong (of Green Day), Matt Healy (of The 1975), The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, Brandon Flowers (of The Killers), Noel Gallagher (of Oasis), Bruce Springsteen, My Chemical Romance and Taylor Swift.