Josh Rouse | Read Music, Speak Spanish

I think there are moments where you just get ideas.



With a brand new album (Subtitulo) under a brand new record label, and having lived in a brand new country for the last few months, Josh Rouse is doing peachy in 2006. As he begins a new chapter in his life, the guy has a lot to say.

On the business side of things, Rouse’s record contract with Rykodisc just ended and he was ready for a change. “I didn’t want to record more records with them, because they had just become a catalog thing.” He pauses for a moment. “And they weren’t really working on my records too hard.” Rouse is now recording under Nettwerk Records, with the imprint of Bedroom Classics, his newest endeavor. “I just started my own little thing. I wanted to record a record myself and just license it with someone. It’s more rewarding than before.”

As for Subtitulo, Rouse wrote the entire album within the first week that he had arrived in Spain. It’s a gorgeous, summery mix of well-written tunes that go perfectly with lazing around in solitude on a summer’s day. The majority of the songs were inspired by Josh’s new home on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. A Nebraska native, Rouse had also previously lived in Nashville (hence the title of his 2005 CD); his move to Spain was a big deal. “I was tired of living in [Nashville], and I got a divorce, and that’s always kind of uncomfortable. I was just ready for a change in my life. I had been talking to a girl who had been living here in Spain, and she said, ‘Why don’t you rent an apartment here for awhile?’ and that’s what I did.”

Rouse has lived in Valencia, Spain for about six months, but before that, he lived in Altea. “There was no movie theater, and it didn’t really have a music scene, so I’m kind of reclusive these days. I’ll see a concert every once in a while, but I don’t really make a point to see what’s happening locally; I don’t think there is a lot, to be honest.”

As for his music, Rouse was hard-pressed to name a favorite of his six albums. “I don’t really have one…I like Home a lot, even though no one really liked that record when it came out, and now it’s influencing people.” He hesitates for a second. “It’s interesting. I was just starting off and I felt really intimidated by making records. I wanted everyone to like them, to think they were cool—and when that record came out, there was some English press and they didn’t like it and they thought it was not-so-good pop, and now people love it.” When it comes down to favorite songs, he enjoys his own music. “I like ‘1972’, I like ‘James,’ and I like ‘And Around’ from Home and ‘Parts and Accessories’; that’s a really cool song. Every once in a while, I go, ‘Yeah, that is a cool song.’”

But with every beautiful song comes a bit of bitter truth and complicated challenges. “I think it’s important to challenge yourself when you get older; it’s easy to kind of get in your groove and keep doing what you’re doing.” Rouse has an older, more intuitive mind than most people could ever hope for. He also gets extremely bored very easily. “I could have stayed in the States and moved to New York; that was what I was planning on doing. But I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to go try to learn another language and immerse myself in a different culture.’” And that is certainly difficult. “Just living here, learning the language, it’s been hard, a real challenge, but that’s important.”

On top of living in a new country, Rouse could soon be facing another challenge. “There is a show on Showtime called Weeds, and I’ve been offered a chance to score that. I don’t know if I will do it, because the timing is bad, and I would have to move to L.A. for four months, but that is a challenge that I am looking at.”

Rouse’s songwriting abilities could make any poet swoon. His beautiful lyrics and sometimes simple, sometimes complicated instrumentals are heartfelt and lovely, with delicate truths mixed in. One wonders how a man could write such delightful songs. “I write songs in waves. Sometimes I’ll see a movie and get inspired, or get these ideas that I’m going to do a jazz record. Or when I’m flying on an airplane to do a press tour, I get really inspired. I don’t know what it is; I think there are moments where you just get ideas.”

All in all, Rouse is one of those most talented and ambitious people that have been making music for quite some time. And his future is not any dimmer than his present. “In the future, I’d like to start a family, have kids, and that kind of stuff. It’s kind of the next phase, I guess.”



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