“It was a pure terrible time, in every sense,” Joesef tells Apple Music of the period leading up to his second EP Does It Make You Feel Good?. That time included a canceled tour amid the global pandemic and experiencing lockdown alone—all while recovering from a breakup at the start of the year. And it’s that fresh heartbreak that the singer-songwriter explores here. Against a backdrop of the soulful, stirring melodies and wrought lyrics that made Joesef a name to watch, the singer documents what it’s like to split from your first love for the second time. (For their first breakup, see Joesef’s 2019 debut EP, Play Me Something Nice.) “It’s like picking a scab, and you can’t stop picking,” says the singer of focusing on all that pain to create the six tracks here. “It makes it harder to move on. But it’s good to come out of it and think, ‘I made these tunes and I’m proud of them.’ This is the positive I’ve got of that bad situation.” Read on as Joesef guides us through every song on the gorgeous Does It Make You Feel Good?.
Everything Belongs to You
“I wanted to make this song sound like it was falling down. I wrote it when I came back from a trip to New York, where I’d realized the relationship wasn’t working. I didn’t know who I was anymore, and it was like, ‘Fuck, what do I do now?’ At first, the song was a lot bigger, but it just felt like it was becoming mad. So I took it apart again and made it sparse. There is a filter over it as well, so it sounds like it’s underwater. I was just trying to paint a wee picture.”
The Sun Is Up Forever
“After we broke up, I spoke to my mum about how I felt. Then we ended up talking about her and my dad’s relationship. He was abusive to her—he was so bad to her and he was bad to us as well. And she said, ‘It’s taken me 20 years, but after all this time, I finally feel like I’m not living in the shade anymore.’ Spending so much of your life in the shade and then seeing the sun at the end of it is such a nice image. The song is from my mum’s perspective, but it has parallels with my own relationship. I wanted to give a song to her, because she’s been very instrumental bringing me up—even musically. What a gal my mum is, honestly.”
Does It Make You Feel Good?
“This song was written in a fit of rage. My ex and I had the worst argument ever, and it was basically what ended it. I was like, ‘Does it make you feel good that you make me feel like this?’ The song is about getting to a point in a relationship where you’re just hurting each other. But I like that the song is happy. I love the juxtaposition of making people dance to stuff that you’re crying about in your bedroom.”
I Wonder Why [Joesef & Loyle Carner]
“I feel like I can see this song when I hear it—it’s very cinematic and I’m very proud of it. My manager was like, ‘You know whose voice would sound good on this song? Loyle Carner.’ I’m his biggest fan—me and my mates fucking love him—and when we sent him the song, he texted me a voice memo of him rapping over the track. I screamed so loud my neighbors probably thought I was getting murdered! But it was a pure moment for me, like, ‘I’m proper doing this music thing.’ This track is about the unshakable feeling of loss [I felt] after my ex moved out. It’s probably the most honest I’ve ever been on a tune—I say things on it I’d never even tell myself.”
Think That I Don’t Need Your Love
“I never ever slagged my ex once. But I feel in this tune, it’s kind of like, ‘Fuck off, man. You ain’t shit.’ I put so much weight in people and build them up to be this height, but really, they’re just a person. I feel like I needed to write something funny, and some of the lyrics here are so stupid. But I just wanted to write something that people could can a few ciders to in the park.”
“I was drinking a lot and doing silly things and getting on it, so that’s the actual comedown. But it’s also the comedown of the fit of rage in ‘Does It Make You Feel Good?’ This song is a wee story—I’m sitting in a pub and telling a barman I love someone. I used to work in a bar and got a lot of that! This song is me admitting my fault and regrets. And it’s the tune people have got in touch the most about. The whole song is like a whisper, and if you listen really closely, you can hear my breath—like I’m almost crying. I looped the guitar, and was just singing randomly over it just about how I was feeling. It was all coming out.”