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Written byChristian Staines

Dream Club.

The latest album from an artist you’ve probably never heard of – Joshua Mol.

I only say probably because were you to look at his Instagram, you’d likely just be taken aback by his boyish charm and not see much to do with music. In fact, when he released Dream Club on New Year’s Eve, it was only a few days later that he even told anyone about it. Joshua’s approach to music is a little unconventional. He doesn’t promote, he doesn’t stagger his releases in EPs or singles, and he does it all while studying medicine at UCT.

That’s not even the most mind-bending part. This guy, who can sing, who can play everything from guitar to keys to bass to drums… only started making music two years ago. It’s not right. I’m outraged and I’m upset. While the rest of us (mainly me) are stuck porridge punching the same instruments over and over, he’s gone and perfected five. “I try to learn most of my stuff by ear, I’ve got a nice record player at home so I just put on old records and play along with that.”

Joshua attributes his musical skill to his grandmother, his days in Acapella at school, and to Youtube. He had guitar lessons for a year when he was 12 but it was only during the first lockdown that he decided to actually try record some stuff himself. “All the other live musicians were saying that lockdown was the worst because they couldn’t perform live, but for me it was the opposite because I actually had the chance to give it a go.”

At the end of 2020, Joshua released his first self-titled album, written and recorded all from within his dining room. Again, I asked him why he didn’t try to publicize or market his releases; his songs are catchy, engaging and made ever more impressive by his skills as a one-man-band. “Honestly I wouldn’t release if I didn’t have to. It’s just easier to listen to it on Apple Music than on a computer file. I feel like as soon as you start marketing yourself and dropping cash into it, it becomes more like a job and loses its appeal. I’ve just seen other okes market themselves, and it’s paid off for them, but I just really can’t do that, like TikTok and Reels and stuff. Respect to people who can do it because it works, but it’s just not for me.”

“Honestly I wouldn’t release if I didn’t have to. It’s just easier to listen to it on Apple Music than on a computer file.”

Back to the album. 

Dream Club is a 12-track, hour-long journey through everything from the slower melodies in ‘Moving On’, to the faster indie-rock tracks like ‘Can’t We Just Get Along’. In this album, there’s no shortage of energizing guitar riffs to carry you away – a talent Joshua makes abundantly clear in his 15min Pink Floyd-esque track ‘Bleed The Brain’.

Something I find infinitely enjoyable is when a song seamlessly alters its tone halfway through whilst still carrying the general expression forwards. A dramatic de-escalation, followed by a tone shift and then a perfect rise into some new energy. Some of Joshua’s tracks include three or four of these tone-shifts and still manage to sustain the rhythm and energy. Just something to keep in mind when you’re listening to each song – there’s always something new to keep you hooked throughout.

“This album was inspired by quite a few things. Last year wasn’t great so I just wanted to wrap up the year with an album. Just put it out there and move on.”

So what can we expect next from this dark horse? Unbelievably, he still has some songs in the bank from 2020 which he is combining with some newer stuff for two album releases later this year. He reckons his coming albums will be more rock-filled, more experimental, and filled with more energy. “I want to steer away from the emotional side of things because I feel like I get too emotionally involved and in my own head about it. “My next album has got some more instrumental stuff in it with psych-rock aspects as well.”

Because Joshua isn’t so big on publicity, the only gigs you would have seen him at are the Studio Candor Shindigs. And with him going into 4th-year med, live acts might become a little trickier…

Don’t fret though, once we’ve had a look at his exam schedule, you’re more than likely to see his name appear on future CCC line-ups

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“I prefer to release albums instead of singles here and there because you get to tell a whole little story and then when you release it, it’s just there in its entirety. But with singles, I mean they’re also nice, but it’s just like a little snippet. It’s much nicer to hear the full thing.”