“I think it’s the creative kids that spark the skateboarding. Creative people need outlets. Art, music, and skateboarding all have similar qualities; freedom of expression being the greatest in my opinion.”
The first time I heard the name Josh Harmony was in his debut Toy Machine skateboard part, “Good & Evil.” As soon as I heard the bass-line to the track “Flame” by Sebadoh in his part, I thought to myself, this guy is going to rip at 100 mph. His skate-part did not disappoint. I then discovered that he was a musician and a songwriter: if his seamless skate style was any inclination of his musical ability, then I knew my listening experience was truly going to be something special. His blend of blues, folk, and rock, along with his gritty, soulful singing and powerful lyrics make Josh Harmony a 21st century singer/songwriter who could easily hold a candle to the likes of Woody or Bob. If my words are not convincing enough, “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” is a great harbinger of Harmony’s musical style.
I did an interview previously with Ed Templeton and asked him about something he had said:
“Kind of the weird tragedy when you become an adult is that you grow up and stop creating and involving yourself in the joy of coloring and creation and I feel that I was lucky enough to never lose that.”
Why do you think that the majority of adults lose their sense of creativity?
I’m not so sure that all people start out with the same drive, joy or love for coloring and creation.
I think that a person’s creative force comes from their personality type and their ability to be creative. It’s a beautiful thing when a person has the mysterious combination of both and the rest of us get to enjoy it.
Woody Guthrie once said, “A folk song is what’s wrong and how to fix it or it could be who’s hungry and where their mouth is or who’s out of work and where the job is or who’s broke and where the money is or who’s carrying a gun and where the peace is.” What are your thoughts on this?
Music can be a beautiful outlet for pain.
The best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
There is a religious theme to some of your songs. Where does your spirituality come from?
The Holy Spirit. I’m a work in progress.
Since I started writing my magazine there has been this underlying theme. Artists (no matter what form) all seem to have skateboarded at one point in time. What about skateboarding do you think sparks this creativity?
I think it’s the creative kids that spark the skateboarding. Creative people need outlets. Art, music, and skateboarding all have similar qualities; freedom of expression being the greatest in my opinion.
Most influential skateboarder, skating and style?
It’s almost cliche’ at this point but to me it has to be Mark Gonzales. His skating was outside the box and his style, you know, style is a funny thing to describe because you can’t really put your finger on it or properly define it with words. The mystery of attraction, charisma.
How did you become involved with Ed & Toy Machine? And what was it like having Ed design the cover of your new album, Lamps, and put out your albums?
When I was 17 my family moved to southern California at the same time that the Toy Machine team fell apart leaving only Austin Stephens and Ed. I had always loved Toy Machine and thought if I made a video and sent it in, I might have a shot at getting some boards or something. So I filmed as much as I could for a month and sent it in. Ed and Austin called me to tell me that they wanted hook me up with boards and meet me. We continued to skate and I graduated high school early to go on tour. Ed has always been super supportive of my music and skating. Thank you Ed!
In your skate part for Good & Evil, your last trick when you ollied into that bank, did you anticipate the second bank? What was going through your head? And how far was that gap you jumped?
I remember thinking that I was going to be able to somehow ride down the bricks at an angle but as soon as I landed in the bank, I realized that my only option was to head toward that ledge, jump it and hope for the best. I really am fortunate that there wasn’t a tree at the bottom or something because I was going so fast and the gap was well over a head high.
If you had 24 hours to live?
I would pray for an extension and try to comfort my wife and kids.
You have a song called “For Nick Drake” on The Harmony’s record. What influence has Nick Drake had on you as a songwriter / musician?
In alternate tunings and picking style. His arrangements are not only complex but express a depth of emotion that only the thinnest skinned musicians can achieve. ‘For Nick Drake’ is in the same tuning as his song ‘Fly’. BEBEBE.