Conversations with Enemies is an indie-folk/ rock band from Philadelphia, PA. We caught up with founding member and principle songwriter Josh Craft to discuss his experiences and his upcoming projects w/ Conversations with Enemies and beyond:
How did you get started in the music industry?
I started out in high school writing songs for punk and ska bands. Throwing events in local VFW halls, grange halls helped build a strong understanding of how to promote your music and get people out to events. I studied the business of the music industry at Drexel University and quickly realized my love for songwriting. I interned with my songwriting teacher Phil Roy who wrote for Ray Charles, Mavis Staples and Joe Cocker.
During this time, I finished up my first full-length album with The Bee Team entitled Hot Times USA. This was my first time writing music for a folk band. During high school and college my writing style changed seasonally from punk to hardcore and then to folk. The changes of styles of music helped me understand different chord and melody structures. Challenging yourself is the best thing you can do as a songwriter. I took a turn from writing about personal experiences and started writing stories.
My most recent project, Conversations with Enemies is a way for me to write about zombies, werewolves, pirates and ghosts. All of the albums are conceptual and tell heart-felt stories about love triangles between zombies, cowboys and Satan. Each album is another way for continuously challenging myself and re-inventing the sound.
What has been the proudest moment in your career?
There has been so many awesome moments, so it’s really hard to pinpoint one particular moment. The one that holds a personal attachment would be the Conversations with Enemies record release last year at Johnny Brenda’s. Of course, celebrating my band’s debut release is a huge deal, but even more so I just got engaged to our drummer Jessica Mckay and had not yet told it to the masses. I announced our engagement to a crowd full of friends and family, and it could have not been more of a life-changing moment.
What inspires you as a songwriter?
A song should tell a story. Everyday I am surrounded by some of my best friends and a community of people that support my vision. I am the assistant director at a music school called Rock to the Future. The program is an after school program that provides free music lessons to lower income families in the Philadelphia area. We teach the kids how to write their own original music and the students form bands inside the program. We even line the kids up with concerts and events inside of the community.
Working with kids and helping coach them in writing is the most inspiring thing I could do. While most kids write songs about how much school sucks, there are a handful of them writing songs about zombie hamsters and infatuation with eating cake among others. Inspiring others to write in return helps me find that perfect melody for a song.
I find myself writing short stories and constantly recording melodies that pop into my head. I always keep my notepad full of ideas and bring them down into the dungeon to record the next big hit.
You belong to ASCAP. Why did you choose them?
After doing some research I found that many of my favorite artists were on ASCAP including: Paul McCartney, some of The Beach Boys material, and Weezer. After going through the website’s functionality and talking with some songwriters, I made the choice.
What projects or events are coming up for you that the Songtrust readers should know about?
I just release my first solo album. The album is a collection of basement demos that have been on my computer for over 4 years. The album features a collection of material I have been writing for musical groups The Bee Team, The Best Westerns, Conversations with Enemies and many others. If you email me a photo of your smiling (and $10) , I will send you a personal CD with a picture of you smiling in it.
Conversations with Enemies will be releasing their sophomore album this summer. The album is a bit more polished and mature then our debut album. You can expect a another conceptual comic book to come with the new album. For this album we went back in time to tie up some loose ends. This is my first time writing a prequel and I could not be any happier with the production and artwork on this new album.