Interview with STMPD RCRDS Next Big Thing, Josh Charm

Get ready, because here he comes. Josh Charm, an exciting upcoming artist from the Netherlands, is quickly making waves in the house music scene. His inspired blend of melodic house and poppy vocals has caught the attention of industry stars such as Tiesto, Hardwell, Oliver Heldens, and Martin Garrix. Even if you haven’t gotten the chance to see him live, you’ve probably heard his songs “Feel So Good”, “Desolate”, and “Praying” mixed into their sets. However, Josh Charm is more than just his music. He is passionate about creating experiences that people will love and aims to connect people with each other. Overall, a Josh Charm song will get you dancing, smiling, and craving for more.

This year, he was exclusively signed to Martin Garrix’s label STMPD RCRDS. He has already released a number of tracks, including “Cray”, “Trust”, “Dance for Me”, and “Too Close for Comfort”. When the world opens up again, we fully expect him to be dominating the festival and club scene.

We had the chance to meet Josh Charm and hear more about his journey into the limelight. His bubbly personality and love for what he does is truly inspiring, and we are so excited to share him with you.

EDM Maniac: From what I read; you first began releasing your music in 2018. I assume your journey started before then, so can you give us some background on how you got started?

Josh: Well, that’s going back a little bit, I started with music when I was 16, so eight years ago. In 2015, I graduated from the International School of The Hague, where I’m from. I decided that I wanted to study in the UK and study music production and performance in Leeds, actually. But, when I arrived there, I got taught how to record bands and how to do foley sounds and everything like that, and at that time I wanted to make dance music. So, I finalized that for a year, came back to Amsterdam, and took several different courses. Later on, two years after that, I just began putting out music on my own. Even before Josh Charm, I just kept producing, kept doing courses, and, later on, I even went to the Conservatory of Amsterdam to study it again because I did want to have something related, education-wise. Two years ago, I ran into my manager and sent him a track, and he said, “yeah, this could be cool for Spinnin’ Records” and I’m like “yeah, okay whatever”, you know, never thinking that it would be released. Then a couple of months later, they said, let’s do it. So that was in 2019, I think, my first release on Spinnin’ Records.

 

EDM Maniac: What sparked your interest in dance music?

Josh: That’s a bit further back, and like what you mentioned about how I got into it I think it came when I was listening to Paul Kalkbrenner, a German DJ. When I heard the song Sky and Sand, I got hooked on electronic music.

Photo by Josh Charm

EDM Maniac: When you first began, were you studying producing your first time in college, or were you studying for a different degree?

Josh: When I finalized high school, I knew from that moment on that I wanted to pursue a career in music. I come from a musical background so, luckily, my parents were supportive enough. But a lot of my friends were like, “how are you going to manage and everything” because they were studying something different. But I just never had a plan-B, so I just went for it and I guess it just turned out good.

EDM Maniac: For followers who are just discovering you can you give us some background on yourself and what you’re passionate about?

Josh: Music wise, before I got into electronic dance music, I was playing Spanish flamenco guitar, really different. Later on, of course, I discovered electronic dance music and, you know, downloaded Ableton and the rest is history. But what I’m passionate about is just helping others. I think that coincides a little bit with my music now. Whether it’s hanging out with friends or going for walks at the beach. Other than that, I love to play sports, football, hang out with friends, sometimes play video games, and in normal circumstances, travel.

EDM Maniac: How would you describe your music for people who may not be as familiar with your genre?

Josh: I have to think back. When I was making my, so to say, “business plan’’ you have to think about how you want to position yourself, especially when I just got signed to STMPD. You have to have a unique selling point. I know some guys are making house, I mean a lot of guys are making house, but if I have to describe it myself then my music leans more towards the sophisticated style. I don’t know if you can describe that in terms of music, but I really try to aim for that. And, on top of that, I also aim for making poppy love songs but in a danceable way. Like, especially with “Dance for Me” or  “Too Close for Comfort”. All of my songs are based upon things that happened in my life.

EDM Maniac: Is there a special moment or memory that made you fall in love with the dance music scene?

Josh: I went to an event about nine years ago, and it was an event called Dance for Life. It was a charity event for HIV and AIDS, and I think Armin van Buuren was playing and Don Diablo. And to see the entertainers, whether it’s DJs or bands or whatever, having such a relationship with the crowd; I think that was so magical that I just was like okay, I want to do this.

I know it’s cliche, but the thing is making people happy. I spoke to Garrix about it, as well, but to have that relationship with the fans is truly unique.  And now, I’ve been going at it for quite some time, but now that I am professionally doing this, you can see that people also appreciate the music that I’m putting out. Which is nice because, a lot of times, it’s hard to combine something emotionally and put it out there for people to kind of relate to and inspire them.  So, you’re thinking, “oh, I hope they can relate to it, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t”.

EDM Maniac: You seem to have a really good connection and understanding of your fan base. Have you had many times to interact with them or any great moments of them?

Josh: I think that started because of COVID and lockdown, before I was never really paying so much attention to it. But I found, especially during this time, to interact and engage with people, because everyone was online. And at a certain point, I also wanted to give back; even though I don’t have so many followers. But I kind of wanted to share my story with how producers can make a name for themselves and help. I started this thing called Josh Charm Helps. This really started because a friend of mine said “what do you like to do, what is your passion?” and I said, “I like to help people”, then he said, “Let’s just do that then!”. Now I’m messaging everyone in response, as well as coaching and guiding other musicians. And they say it themselves, like “you’re messaging us back?” and I said, “yeah, of course. I mean you’re listening to my music, of course, I’m gonna message back!”

EDM Maniac: I know you’re making a lot of people’s days by doing that!  Many of our readers are from the United States, so we’re especially excited to have your unique perspective on the international dance music industry. Can you give us some background on what the European dance scene is like?

Josh: In Europe, what I noticed is a lot of people are not so satisfied quickly and I love that the States always appreciate artists. And not only for the fan base and the music, but for the extravagance of the show, and they can really appreciate that!

EDM Maniac: Interesting, what about festivals in Europe? Have you been to any of them that are just outstanding?

Josh: I mean, of course, Tomorrowland. I like the fact that it’s like an entire village of electronic music there. And Mysteryland, as well. I find it cool because, I don’t know if you knew this, when they do Mysteryland in the States they also use some of the same parts from Europe, so they’re very sustainable.

EDM Maniac: Even though you just recently began sharing your art, you certainly made a name for yourself quickly. This year Martin Garrix signed you to STMPD RCRDS, can you explain how that happened, and what was your debut with them like?

Josh: First, I had a trial period, in which I sent them a song called “Too Close for Comfort”.  The label responded,  “Awesome, we’re going to sign it, but we want some more” and at that time I was like” I don’t have any more songs that are matured, but let’s go!”. So, I did a test period, and a year after that, Martin played my song in his Dutch Waters set. From that moment on it, it blew up. And then we spoke to each other, like his team and my team, and we’re like, “let’s see if we want to work together in the future” and we did, so we did an exclusive deal.

EDM Maniac: That is awesome. How did you decide that that was the record label you wanted to go with?

Josh: I think they shared my vision a lot and I really still do, of course. They were doing Tomorrowland stages and I really wanted to perform. I started out as being a DJ and then produced. So that whole side of entertaining people, making people happy, creating an experience for people where you know when they go to work on Monday that they’re like, “what I experienced was awesome”. I always wanted to create it and STMPD and I were sharing the same vision. And they trusted my sound and, like, artist perspective in that. And I just had a good feeling about it. Especially, about the fact that Martin also has a lot of influence on the artists and he really helps develop them. Not only on a personal level but also musically. He A&Rs himself. So, for me, it is very helpful because he has so much experience so of course, you want to learn from him.

EDM Maniac: Well, that actually leads perfectly into the next question. Can you tell us what it’s like to be part of the team and how it has helped you grow your sound and career?

Josh: I met a lot of the artists last year. During that time, I was just showing myself around, so they didn’t really know who I was or anything, but they were super nice people, especially Martin and his team. To be able to be so famous, but yet so humble and relaxed. They are great, really nice to work with. Furthermore, they are critical but fair and really strive to push me as an artist. Thus, it’s a blessing to be part of the STMPD RCRDS family.

EDM Maniac: How do you think your music, or sound, has grown since joining the label?

Josh: Funny enough, the thing is that there are no festivals, so I made the decision to lean towards the radio side of things. However, with “Dance for Me”, I was craving that dance, or at least club vibe. And, sometimes, what I do with songs is make a version with like an A-side and a B-side. For example, with “Dance for Me”, it’s a little bit the same as “Trust”. I don’t know if you know, but “Trust” also has a pitched vocal on it, which was a stylistic choice, so I blend songs together, even though they’re two different songs. They’re all stories that I want to give away. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it’s not one single at a time. They’re linked with another song that can be released in the future.

EDM Maniac: That’s very poetic, impressive! So, because of your skyrocket success, it seems like this is all happening so quickly.  But we know there’s a ton of behind the scenes work that comes with it. How have you been perfecting your craft over the years and what advice do you have for other producers looking to accomplish what you have?

Josh: I saw that question and I was just laughing because now people are like, “whoa, who’s Josh Charm?”. But funny enough, I was doing this eight years ago and it takes a long, long time. There’s no quick route, or like one-hit-wonder… well, I mean if you’re lucky, of course. But now, thinking back about it, it just takes a long time for people to be even recognized. For up-and-coming artists, I would definitely say just go at it. You know, I had so much doubt and now, especially during this pandemic where you lean towards the negative, it’s very hard sometimes to become positive and motivated. But if you really want to do this, you have to give it your all, that’s my advice.

EDM Maniac: So, when you first started as Josh Charm, how did you teach yourself the different ways of music? You mentioned that you went to school, but were there other things you’ve done outside of school that really helped you focus your niche or style?

Josh:  Not being afraid of making mistakes, even though I am a perfectionist. I kept producing different kinds of music. I tried to learn from guys who are making different genres and applying that to my own music, whether that’s like tweaking a certain sound or exploring something different. And, I think over the years that just really helped me to not only get more knowledge but also with blending a lot of stuff together.

Photo by Josh Charm

EDM Maniac: This year’s been crazy, but you still managed to release the music, you just released the track “Dance for Me”. Can you tell us about the song and what was your inspiration?

Josh: My inspiration was the fact that I was craving for clubs to open, and I hope to play it when they do. And I actually received a phone call from a friend I met in Sweden when I participated in an exchange program at the Pop Academy, and she wrote a lot of different songs. Well, we wrote a lot of different songs together, but I found her vocals a little too poppy and that’s why I tweaked it a little bit. But it was mainly about seeing a person during nightlife and having an instant click with them even though you don’t know them. And I just wanted to make that in the song, I thought that was so cool. Thinking about it, I really just want to play it when that happens again, and I hope people can relate to that.

EDM Maniac: That’s cool because you don’t really think about love happening in a club, but it definitely can. How has the quarantine been like for you and how have you stayed motivated?

Josh: It’s been difficult, especially because I graduated this year from the electronic music department of the Amsterdam Conservatory and signed with STMPD, and for me to think to myself “well, you just succeeded but there are no festivals”. It was a shock, obviously. But I just said to myself, you know, I’m excited and I should focus on the positive. I started making mood boards, which is something I thought I would have never been into, but I think that gave me a positive perspective of things. Of course, it’s difficult to be quarantined and, of course, you can’t always see your friends. But, doing stuff like that and just having a breather for myself. I think this was also the year for me to prepare for the next. Maybe the universe was like “okay, slow down. This is the chance to get your stuff together”.

Photo by @joshcharmmusic

EDM Maniac: Would you make the mood boards for your music?

Josh: I actually started that this year. I had a picture of an STMPD logo, and I was like “I want to sign”… and it happened. And, at first, I didn’t really believe in the law of attraction. But it does work. If you say it out loud and if you visualize it, it’s going to grow. But, actually funny enough, that’s where the name Josh Charm comes from. When I was a kid, my mother would bring these stones for me when she would work abroad and would go to different places. And she would say they were like a lucky charm. And when I was brainstorming for my artist name, there were hours and hours of brainstorming sessions. At some point someone said “charm”, and that immediately resonated with me”.

EDM Maniac: How has this year affected your career?

Josh: I think probably for the better. I mean I released a lot of music. I said to myself, “if I can’t play, you know what, I’m going to release a lot of music”. And I want to help people and that’s what I’ve been doing. To go back to what I was saying, it’s very easy to lean towards the negative but I think perhaps this year turned out fine. Other than the fact that I couldn’t perform, obviously and that sucked. But, yeah, we made the best out of it!

EDM Maniac: So, no pressure but we are clearly expecting great things from you. What’s next? What are your plans for the rest of the year, or in 2021?

Josh: I got a lot of collabs with guys from the States, a lot of more releases on STMPD. I really hope festivals will open again because I really want to play Ultra. That’s been on my list and my visualization board for the longest time.

EDM Maniac: What are you most excited for when you’re able to tour again?

Josh: I want to go to South America and Asia. I am a quarter Indonesian myself and lived in Malaysia for a few years, so I think if I go to Asia, it’s just like going back to my roots. Plus, I think the audience there is going to really appreciate me being there and, I guess we’ll see! I also love to play in the States as I’ve been to Florida twice as well as to New York. Really, just exploring the world to travel and share my music again!

 

We are beyond excited to see such a passionate, caring, and creative man rising to the top of the charts. We can’t wait to watch him grow and see what he creates with STMPD RCRDS. When he is finally able to tour again, we will be at every show we can, and we know you will too. Check out more of his music here.

 

Featured photo by Josh Charm

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