Written By: Rahsian Parris
Photography by Luke Yates
It has been ten years since the Dum Dums first rocked their way onto UK airwaves and into our hearts, but one underrated album, a string of catchy singles and a breakup later; ex front man, Josh Doyle, still delivers the goods as an independent solo artist. Josh sheds some light on what it is like being an independent artist having come from a mainstream pop background.
It’s a decade since the Dum Dums first single was released, how do you think the industry has changed?
Completely. We were popular during a boom time, the biggest year ever for music. If we would have brought [our music] out today with our sales from then, we would have had all number ones! Back then it would have been impossible to be independent but now there are avenues opening up all over the place.
It is commonly thought that your record label dropped you (the band), what actually happened?
Hahaha! Sometimes people want the quickest story possible to tell their buddy but its not like they lost interest and said, “you didn’t sell enough records, you’re dumped”. You can watch our documentary at dumdums.com to see how it panned out.
How much pressure is there to conform to what is popular?
I think, for me, I would prefer to be making music no-one else is making and be ahead of the pack. I might be inspired by a currently popular song, but that will just go in the bag with all of the other inspirations. I get inspired by songs that are true more than songs that are trendy, cause what value will trendy songs have in a few months but kitsch value?
How much do you think labels responsible for ‘copy-cat’ artists?
There are usually a couple artists that come out with something real and then labels create or sign other mediocre versions. It’s very sad but I understand it economically, most record labels want to make money above everything else.
What are the good and bad things about being independent as appose to on a label?
I now have the choice to say “no” and you don’t have that tied to a label. You do it, but really will I be happy having all these new fans and success if I have kids I never got to see and no marriage? When I was a pop star for those few years all I knew was touring, interviews, performances, I saw brief snatches of the news and I could read about life as it was happening but I was not living in the real world.
Many mainstream artists have opted to go ‘Indie’, do you think this surge has undermined the significance of being an independent artist and having freedom etc?
No, it shows the legitimacy of it as an option. Before it would be that you would be an independent because a record label wasn’t interested in you and all the independents were niche artists or just really bad ones that wouldn’t translate to the general public and wouldn’t make a label money. When you see these big bands go indie it is a powerful statement that the labels are doing things poorly.
Which song from your Values and Virtues album is your favourite and why?
I am happiest about how “Ghosts like you” and “Waiting for the payoff” turned out. They are both unfiltered truth and artistically they build some great pictures and tell a story about the world as I see it. Plus they are catchy, ha!
For more info and Josh’s Values and Virtues EP is available from JoshDoyle.com