An Interview With The Rising Artist, DESURE On Going From Midland’s Tour Manager to Managing His Own Tour!
Posted On 23 May 2019
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Desure is an up-and-coming artist who actually started off as Midland’s tour manager until they needed someone to open their set and they threw him on the bill.
The bearded troubadour doesn’t censor a thing. As a result, he steadily maintains pace on an upward rise highlighted by syncs on NETFLIX’s The Ranch, sold out tours supporting Midland, and acclaim from the likes of Rolling Stone within a year since his emergence. Rife with wailing slide guitar, a sunny spirit underscores the telling admission, “Los Angeles, you’re killing me. Lord, I can’t live on two hours sleep. With a daily dose put up my nose to the women we talk to after shows, it’s a simple reminder of what’s to come when I say I won’t—but wind up drunk.”
Representing the missing link between sixties Laurel Canyon and desert dust bowl country right from the heart of Bakersfield, Desure traffics on his own road beset by unfiltered storytelling, evocative instrumentation, and soulful delivery.
Desure blurs the lines between country, folk, indie, and rock in his self-titled debut EP. which was released earlier this month on May 3.
PRAISE FOR DESURE
“It’s a rare joy when, upon very first listen, a song grabs you with a triple threat of hook, rhythm and lyric. But ‘Kick Rocks’ by new artist Josh Desure does just that.” – Rolling Stone
“’Stranded Son’ is his only official release, but the song is more than enough to prove Desure’s musical chops, a panoramic slice of folk rock with just enough twang.” – Rolling Stone
“An acoustic-driven Americana melody gives way to classic rock-influenced drums and guitars in ‘Los Angeles'” – The Boot
“We always knew Josh was a musician, but it wasn’t until we let him open for us at the Crystal Palace when he was tour managing some of our early dates that we realized he was a mind-blowing singer. His voice is so powerful that it fills the room.” – Midland’s Mark Wystrach for Billboard
Learn more about Desure in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
I’m currently at my home in Los Angeles. It’s my first day home in a while, I’ve been out with Midland and opening for Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam.
Now that we are into the 5th month of the new year, how has 2019 been treating you so far?
It’s probably the best year of my life so far. Pretty unbelievable. My wife and I are having a baby! I was lucky enough to open for Midland at The Ryman, open a couple dates with Willie, and now I’m touring with Dwight Yoakam. It’s all the biggest dream come true.
What are some goals that you have for yourself this year?
I’m working on a lot of new music. I just plan on making new records, touring as much as possible, and bringing my little baby into the world.
How are those New Years Resolutions going?
I’ve been writing a lot. Things are going well. I’ve already done things I’ve only dreamt about this year so I hope it keeps on comin’.
Growing up, how important was music in your life?
It was a huge part of my life. My parents had an amazing vinyl collection so it started pretty early for me. I picked up a guitar when I was about 13 and started bands shortly after. It was always something we did in our spare time. It was trial and error, but I noticed a lot of friends liked the way I was singing and writing so I stuck with it.
Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician?
Listening to “Under My Thumb” on my parents’ huge record player. I remember listening so closely and trying to pick apart each instrument and focus just on that. It was the first time I truly heard music and fell in love. I knew I wanted to at least surround myself with it.
Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Pretty easy I guess, I don’t have a shitload of other skills.
How did you go from being Midland’s tour manager to being a performer yourself?
Midland was on tour playing at Buck Owens Crystal Palace in Bakersfield and I was their tour manager at the time. They didn’t have an opener and asked if I wanted to play some songs before their set. I jumped at the opportunity of course, and from there it was sort of clear that was what I should be doing and focusing on rather than being a tour manager.
What was that transition like for you?
The transition wasn’t difficult. Becoming a tour manager was more difficult because I had never done anything even close to that before. I’ve been playing music from a young age, so this feels more natural to me.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career?
Within the last few weeks I’ve gotten to play The Ryman and sing along with Chris Isaak and Midland, opened two nights for Willie Nelson, and now am on tour with Dwight Yoakam. Each one of these offers has been a bigger surprise than I could ever imagine.
What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Every tour has challenges. Pretty much everything except being on stage playing is difficult at this stage. Long drives, no sleep, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world
Let’s talk about your self-titled debut EP that was released earlier this month What was it like working on this collection?
I’m really proud of this EP. I’ve been working and writing these songs the last few years and I’m happy it’s finally out. Working with Robbie Crowell is awesome. He’s a good friend and recording at Creative Workshop is a dream come true. So many legends have been in there, the vibe is heavy.
What was the inspiration for these songs?
Friends mostly. I lost a really close friend in 2016 and was just partying nonstop, it’s around this time I wrote some of the songs, and if not then, that time period was where they came from. Leaving Los Angeles to go tour manage Midland and live in Texas has a lot to do with the songs as well.
Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
I’ve recorded in professional studios but mostly for friends’ projects and nothing to this capacity. It was really cool to see the original board and studio I have been watching in Heartworn Highways forever.
Can you talk about a few of your favorite songs on your debut EP and how they got to be on this collection?
“Los Angeles” means a lot to me. It might be my favorite song. I wrote it about everything I was going through at the time and it is just forward honesty. “Kick Rocks” is fun to play and I think the lyrics are relatable. I do love all the songs though.
How excited are you to be heading out on tour with Dwight Yoakum?
It’s really more than a dream. He’s an absolute legend.
What has it been like touring with Midland?
They’re some of my best friends and I’ve known them all for about fifteen years. It’s the best time I’ve ever had playing music. I really love those guys. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
What would you say that you have learned from that tour?
I’ve learned that sleep is maybe the most important thing in the world. We don’t get much of it. They have taught me how to deal with conflict and about what brotherhood truly means.
Where can people see you perform live next?
I’ll be heading out this weekend with Dwight first stop is Corpus Christi. All dates are at Desuremusic.com
What has been an ideal show of yours in the past?
The Ryman! By far The Ryman was the coolest show ever. So many legends have stepped foot on that stage and we got to play alongside a few. Such a dream come true.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started singing and writing songs?
I started writing when I was about thirteen so I hope I’ve grown quite a bit. Back then it was a lot of love songs to girls I liked or just funny stuff. I guess I haven’t changed that much.
What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now?
In-person, always. Saying hello after shows and talking with people is awesome.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music?
Instead of naming my obvious ones, I’ll tell you about some friends that inspire me. Gold Star is one of the greatest musicians. His songs are incredible and everyone should listen. Danny Dodge, Albert and His Dreamboats, Mara Connor, Dixie, Sam Morrow, Leroy From The North. These are all LA artists I love and everyone should check out.
Who would you absolutely still love to work with in the future?
John Prine, Andre 3000. I could name people for days.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
What has it been like having your music featured on Netflix’s The Ranch?
It’s awesome! I love those people and new fans is always a huge plus.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope it inspires people to write or just create. Hopefully I can make at least one person feel the way I do when I hear some artists I love.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Come see us live if you haven’t already and have a beer with us afterwards.