Po Lazarus

A Discussion with Joshua Carey

Po Lazarus

Po Lazarus

Written by Elizabeth Mclellan

Joshua Carey is a 26 year old singer-songwriter, who very much looks the part. His thick beard and moustache accompany his long flowing hair and vintage leather jacket, as we sit down to discuss Po Lazarus' recent musical progression, as well as his own. 

We kicked off the conversation extolling the benefits of not working: or not working a 9-5 job, that is. Carey remains so passionate about his music that most days don’t feel like work at all. 

As we talk, he picks up a copy of Rolling Stones sitting on the table and admires Eddie Vedder’s smouldering cover shot. There seems to be, however, a tinge of cynicism in his voice. While the rockstar lifestyle is glamourized in mass culture, Carey’s experience of actually being a musician has de-mystified the industry and its rose-coloured veneer. While figures like David Bowie and Bob Dylan lived an often times chaotic drug filled life, Carey still finds their music and legacies a source of inspiration. The role they played in our society has made them so much more than humans: they are mythologies, enigmas, symbols. Bowie’s performance of gender in such fluid terms opened up so many doors for other artists. While Josh doesn’t see himself putting on a full drag performance anytime soon, the performance of gender and identity is something that is very much a part of the Po Lazarus shows. They call upon the atmosphere created with a group of men on stage together, and the energy that produces. While sometimes boastful, it can also be sexual. The fine line between performer and musician is one that Carey tries to balance on: “I like when there are performers with talent”, he says.

Experience, practice, and historical or theoretical knowledge are important to his understanding of music. Carey loves “collecting stories about rock and roll”, and considers himself “an amateur scholar… trying to get to know the mythology” of the industry. In this way, his passion for music also extends to other art forms, including film and poetry. While trying to focus and hone in on his musical skills, collaborating with other local artists has given him the chance to explore other fields. In addition, his background in writing poetry has translated well into songwriting, which is now, however, a highly collaborative process with his bandmates. For him, “its mainly the words that inspire the chords”, which he tries “to make beautiful or poetic, even while its very hard to remain original”.

Seeing the group perform live on several occasions, I can't help but pick up on the beauty in the franticness... the discomfort in the calm. There's a stirring. There are clear intentions, which inspire pen to paper.

Recently, Po Lazarus have been performing at unique new venues, where the environment is very relaxed, and has a very communal feel (e.g. Bad Lunch, Bar de Courcelle, Porchfest). These performances bring them together in a magical way, with experiences like sending chinese lanterns off into the night after a show.

The guys just returned from their East coast tour with John Jacob Magistery, and are getting ready to launch a new record in the next few months. With Josh singing lead vocals as well as playing ukulele and guitars, Luc on guitars, M.O. on drums, and Paul on bass and guitars, their sound continues to be full of movement and life. 

You can catch Po Lazarus live at Casa del Popolo on Saturday, May 28th in support of Jon Cohen Experimental, who'll be releasing a new instrumental album. You can find the facebook event by clicking HERE.

You can also find Josh playing a solo outdoor set at Blanc de Blanc alongside Thanya Iyer, and Neil Holyoak on May 25th. Event here.


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