Josh Setterfield On 'Better Off', What's Next For 2022 And Beyond & Much More
Josh Setterfield is one of Australia’s best up-and-coming country artists. His feel-good songs have been topping the charts and his high-energy live shows have been touring the country with the likes of Casey Barnes, The Wolfe Brothers, Shannon Noll, and more. With his 2021 song ‘Right About Now’ reaching over one million streams and his latest track ‘Better Off’ climbing the country charts, there’s no slowing down for Josh Setterfield.
Starving Kids staff writer Dennis Comino had some questions for the man himself.
What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?
My favourite thing about music, in general, is connecting with people. Being able to play your own music on stage and have people sing along, is one of the most incredible feelings in the world to me!
Who are some musicians that inspire you? What qualities do you admire about them?
A LOT of musicians, from all different genres haha. In country, artists like Morgan Wallen and HARDY for their styles and writing, but it also branches out to pop-punk bands like Simple Plan, and 80’s rock like Mötley Crüe. I’m a huge fan of people with entertaining live shows!
No matter what kind of show you’re playing, you always give 110% in your performance. Do you have any pre-show rituals you do that help hype you up even more?
Good question! So a lot of the artists I tour with have pretty quiet backstage areas before they go on, but I like it LOUD, with upbeat music playing and things that just really get me excited to go on stage. I want the vibe to be high energy!
Your latest song ‘Better Off’ is currently sitting in the top 10 on the Kix Country chart! What has been your favourite moment throughout the song’s release?
I think, just people's reactions to the song. Everyone has something they’re a little better off without. Whether it’s their toxic ex-partner or fake friends, anything. People have related to the song. And that’s what I’m most stoked about.
What is your creative process when you write new music? Does it change for each song?
Yeah, so writing for me can start in all different ways. Sometimes I come up with a guitar riff or chords that I really like, or sometimes it’s a vocal melody or some lyrics.
A lot of the time an idea will come to me at a bad time like 4AM while in bed or while I’m in the shower and I have to try not to forget it. That’s happened yesterday actually haha.
Your song ‘Hometown’ has quite some emotion to it. Where did you grow up, and do you miss your hometown even more when you perform that song?
I grew up in a little town just south of Newcastle named Wangi Wangi (pronounced ‘Won-Jee’) it’s a really quiet little place, where there’s not much to do except go for walks or go fishing. So as a kid, my brother, cousins and I would make cubby houses in the bushes and stuff like that. It’s STILL my little piece of paradise, and I love that place with all my heart. I miss it every time I think about it, let alone when I play it haha!
Tell me about your favorite performance in your career.
Oooooh. Tough question. There’s been so many highs and SO many tough gigs over the years. I think my favourite show to date was in Tasmania recently.
The band and I were rockin’ out on stage and I stopped singing and could hear HEAPS of people singing the lyrics to 'Better Off' over the band. Pretty special moment.
Do you have a least favorite performance? What did you learn from this experience?
I most probably do… however, I’ve learnt to try and block those out. So I can’t really tell you what show that would have been. I try to focus on the positives when playing live, and just improving and being the best that I could be. Even if I know I played a show and it could have been better, I don’t like to watch the footage afterward. I just want to make sure the next one is better!
One of my favourite country music festivals in Australia has gotta be Tamworth, do you have a favoured memory or story from that festival?
Yes actually! My first year in Tamworth, I started busking on the streets outside a little cafe that’s no longer there. And I was beside a traditional Australian Country artist named Evan. Really nice guy!
One time he was playing 'Folsom Prison Blues' by Johnny Cash, and I stopped my song and joined in and started playing it with him. Nobody had ever seen two buskers do that before in Tamworth and they started to crowd around us.
At the time, nobody in the industry cared about who I was. But in just a few years, I’ve built it up to be doing my own bigger shows in Tamworth… Every year, I still go and say hey to Evan, and we still talk about that Johnny Cash moment haha! Absolute legend.
How do you feel in the studio when recording? Is it as fun for you as performing live?
I love the creative process. It’s amazing to me because there’s literally NO limit to what you can come up with! That can also be really daunting as well though!
Just gotta come up with something you like and ride the wave of it!
Do you have any new tracks you’re currently working on in the studio?
Yep! Got a brand new song on the way right now called ‘Blow Our Cover’ and it’s a super country, rocky-modern one!
You recently just finished touring Australia with Casey Barnes, what was the most memorable experience from the tour?
I think what I loved the most about the tour was just getting to know Casey properly! I’d always known him. But not as well as I do now.
The reason I say this is because it’s a really good feeling to tour with someone that’s a really great person. Yes, you’re there to play music… But having some friendly banter and joking around on a tour, makes it all the more fun!
Some shows you perform just as an acoustic soloist, and some shows you have your band with you. What are your favourite parts of both experiences?
I’m definitely a full band kind of artist, but I do the acoustic solo shows when that’s what is called for!
With a band I’m free. I can run around the stage and give my BEST performance possible! And with an acoustic show, I just make it my job to do the same thing, but with a guitar in one place.
I want people to leave a Josh Setterfield show knowing damn straight, that they have had an amazing time!
What is one thing you wish you could tell your younger self when you first got into music?
Not to be so nervous about what I’m doing. I was always super worried that I wasn’t doing the right thing, or keeping up with other artists. But at the end of the day, every musician's path and journey is different. And you’ve just gotta ride that wave and be true to YOU.
And lastly, do you have any exciting plans for the rest of the year? Any big shows or more releases?
Yeah, man! I’ve got a bunch of singles ready to record. I’m planning some headline stuff and a lot more touring coming up!
Thanks heaps for the interview, Dennis!