Jeffrey Joslin goes old school to record new Christmas EP

Original post written by Michael Hixon for the Beach Reporter. Read original post.

Even though he grew up in east Tennessee, Jeffrey Joslin wanted to be one of The Beach Boys. Inspired by the lifestyle, music, images of palm trees silhouetted by an orange sunset, and the world famous surf, the singer/songwriter landed in Redondo Beach in 2012.

The Joslin family soon followed him to the beach cities including his bothers Justice and Javan, as well as his father Jeff, who are all part of the entertainment industry as well, and his cousin from Maryland Jarrod Spurrier. His mother Leslie Joslin followed suit as well.

“I make music with my brothers and my cousin, not too far from where the Beach Boys grew up,” Joslin said. “I learned to surf out here. I found my wife and now I have a two-year-old daughter. I've built a life out here.”

Joslin's latest musical endeavor is a Christmas EP of standards that was recorded in the Redondo Beach studio that he and his brothers and cousin built. The songs for "Vibey Christmas" were recorded in analog. He will be performing at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach, opening for The Cordovas, where he might be performing one of his new Christmas songs.

“Christmas is nostalgic for me because of childhood memories, but I associate Nat King Cole, Burl Ives, these kind of classic sounds, more so than some of the really overproduced Christmas stuff,” Joslin said. “I wanted to create something reminiscent of that.”

Being a “perfectionist,” recording in analog was a challenge for Joslin. He has a background in studio and audio engineering and has worked in film composition.

“It was an attempt to … let the goal be feeling and truth and honestly and, if it's not perfect, 'Oh, well, that's okay,” he said.

Following a dream

Joslin, who drew inspiration from Stevie Wonder to James Taylor, said he and his brother Justice, who has a busy schedule working as a model for Ford Models, always talked about moving to California. When he made the leap, Joslin first worked at Guitar Center, where he also worked for a stint when he lived in Atlanta. He also tackled the open mics in Hollywood.

He first moved to Redondo Beach when he found an apartment for $575 a month near the ocean, which he shared with his brother. He auditioned for “The Voice,” during its third season. He made it to the four judges, but they didn't turn around for him. While he didn't advance in the competition, the experience was well worth it.

“I met a lot musicians through that who I ended up working with in the studio, production and then writing with,” Joslin said. “That helped me network a little bit. A lot of the rejects have gone to do really amazing things. Career wise, I’ve watched some of them really grow.”

The Skipper Room

Their studio, The Skipper Room, is named after their grandfather, Skip Melhuish, who had some musical ability of his own. His 1942 Slingerland Rolling Bomber, a drum kit, is the centerpiece of the studio.

The studio started out in a rented room that was double dry walled to soundproof their jams, but it was still noisy and bothering the neighbors. They moved to his brother's house temporarily before building The Skipper Room.

 

Joslin said recording in analog is a “bit of a beast.”

“The sound is undeniable when you hear it,” Joslin said. “You don't have to do too much to it. All the stuff you would do digitally to get it to be warm or colorful was already there. It's been said that no one has ever been made a better musician by using Pro Tools. It can become a crutch.”

New music, new challenges

During the summer, Joslin said he had an “intense psychological experience,” which landed him in a psychiatric hospital. His therapist told him he might be bipolar, which he said hasn't been an “official diagnosis.”

“I definitely identify with all the info out there about the struggles of individuals who are (bipolar),” Joslin said. “I can be very intensely inspired and focused and the next moment, day or week, intensely depressed and confused directionally. But I also identify with those on the bipolar list who are great influences and creators in that I’ve never had a problem creating anything I set my mind to in about any medium. So I guess, in essence, the thing that gives me a vast imagination is the same thing that can tend to paralyze me.”

Joslin's new EP, featuring “Go Tell it On the Mountain,” “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and “Silent Night,” can be heard on soundcloud.com, or high resolution through his website jsjii.com.

Joslin hopes to release a new album as well as an EP of original material next year.

Jeffrey Joslin