It was 10 years ago that we were signposted by John Rostron to a young Cardiff band called The Knox. They seemed an ideal support for our Cakehole Presley EP launch. The band were raw, full of energy and most importantly they already had a ready supply of superb songs. The band subsequently morphed/splintered, as often happens, with Joel and Ethan continuing with Brothers and subsequently Tibet. Tibet then morphed into Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard but Joel stepped back from making music publicly. It is with great pleasure, therefore, that we can announce he is back with his new band Tiny Camels. Judging by their brilliant debut single “Feeling Existential” they look set to be one of the major bands emerging from Cardiff this year. Following the release of their debut single we wanted to find out more from Joel about his new band and what he has been doing for the past few years.
We first met you when you were in The Knox 10 years ago. You subsequently had various bands including Brothers and then Tibet. How do you look back at the experience of being in those bands and growing up around the music scene in Cardiff?
I feel very grateful looking back at my time in the Cardiff music scene in various bands. Throughout every band the local scene has given me a platform to perform, develop and discover music. It’s always had a great sense of collaboration; most musicians are in multiple bands and independent events thrive at the heart of the scene on Womanby Street.
Tibet gained a degree of national recognition with plays on Radio 1 and some TV coverage. What was it like to go through that whirlwind of exposure? The highs and the lows?
I think the experience was mostly surreal! The feeling of hearing my song on Radio 1 for the first time is something that I’ll never forget. Tibet gave me many great memories but also important lessons on how the music industry works. It was a humbling experience and made me realise that every step should be appreciated!
Tibet came to an end with brother Ethan and Tom going on to form Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. What caused the band to finish?
I think the band had been coming to its natural end over quite a long time. It was a mixture of side projects and a loss of creative direction which eventually led to the band finishing.
Since the end of Tibet you’ve kept a low musical profile. How have you spent your time and what have you been working on?
Since Tibet, I have been reconnecting with my vision as an artist (a bit of soul-searching!). I have spent my time creating a body of work that I can honestly say I am proudest of to date. Keeping a low musical profile has allowed me to focus on writing and developing a sound without being influenced by external factors such as management/labels and musical trends. More recently, I have brought my brother Ethan and friends Jack and Dom in to help develop the project further.
You’ve formed a new band Tiny Camels which seems to be basically the old Knox line up. What made you reconnect after all these years?
As teenagers, me and Jack wrote hundreds of songs together. I can honestly say that I’ve never experienced a deeper musical connection with someone as I do with him. I knew that Jack would really understand the creative vision I had so it was a no brainer really!
What type of music can we expect from Tiny Camels? Is it a radical departure from Tibet?
The band create a surreal yet familiar sound with influences spanning from 1960s psychedelia to modern pop. The sound sits somewhere between the psych pop and electronica of Tame Impala and the raw, harmony driven folk of Simon and Garfunkel. The sound isn’t a million miles away from Tibet, but is more refined and experimental than previous projects.
Your new single ‘Feeling Existential’ is coming out this month. What is the background to the song?
This song was written during a particularly difficult period of my life where I was lost on both a personal and creative level. The song aims to capture the struggles of leaving University and entering the real world. Like many people in their early 20s, you soon realise that you have no clue who you want to be or what you want to do.
How will you be approaching this band compared to your previous ones? Any pitfalls you might try and avoid?
This band will be 100% focused on the music. Regardless of external factors, we have a plan we’re confident in, a vision we are passionate about and a message of hope and solidarity which we hope to spread!
Finally what plans have the band got for future releases and gigs?
We are currently working on our debut EP which is set to be released in Autumn 2023. Prior to that, a string of singles and videos will be released over the next year. We will be playing our first live shows over the next few months and are planning a special show later this year!