Field Notes: An Interview with Josh Garrels

Within every note, there's intention; within every lyric, a confession — this is the music of Josh Garrels

We're huge fans of Garrels over here, but it's not just us. Many filmmakers have been drawn to incorporating his inspiring folk ballads into their projects.  One of those filmmakers is Randy Warren from Advocate Creative. Earlier this week, we caught up with Warren about his creative process and his love for Garrels' distilled, optimistic tracks within his films, especially his infectious tracks "Rise" and "Slip Away."

Now on the other side of the coin, we get a chance to chat with Josh Garrels and get some perspective on his day-to-day life as a musician behind the music. 


M: When did you start writing music?

JG: The earliest I can remember writing my own little folk songs was when I was about 12 years old. I had a punk band in middle school, made east coast hip hop in high school, and started mashing it all together from my 20's and beyond...

M: What does a day in the life of a working musician look like for you?

JG: Wake up at 6:30 am. Coffee and prayer in bed for 45 minutes. Hang with my 3 kids for an hour while my wife Michelle get's her "quiet time" as well. Family breakfast and off to work (my studio in the backyard) at 8:30 am. Check emails with 2nd cup of coffee. Turn on gear, open up sessions and begin working on songs by 9:30. Lunch with family at 12:30. Back to studio from 1:30 to 5. Dinner, get kids to bed, and have a few hours to whatever in the evening. Repeat. With so many moving parts in life right now, we've had to become pretty disciplined with our time in order get anything done. At least for now, the days of only working when inspiration seizes me are gone, mostly I just go to work.

M: What was your inspiration for your songs "Rise" and "Slip Away"?

JG: With Slip Away I was coming to terms with my own failures and shortcomings, but also putting myself in the shoes of so many friends who have had to navigate divorce and loss on a more extreme level. In the song Rise I'm building upon the story of regret and loss, but taking it further, to the place turning, rising, and confronting the things that we fear most (which often reside within our own hearts), in hopes of actually claiming victory. I don't care if you've been a victim or you're the perpetrator, their comes a time to rise up from that destructive identity, by faith and love.

M: How do you feel your music complimented Randy Warrens films?

JG: Anytime my music is used in a film that has a redemptive element to it (i.e. betterment of man, rather than merely entertainment or pulling us deeper into despair and meaninglessness)…I'm stoked. I feel as though these films have redemptive quality. 

M: What are you excited about for the future?

JG: I finally got my studio built, so I'm hoping to enter into a prolific season of making a lot more music. I think that's what time of life it is for me…flesh out as many ideas as possible while trying to hone in on my craft. I love my job.


How do you resonate with Josh Garrels' music?

Tell us about it.

How has Josh Garrels' music elevated your story? Share your film with us. We'll choose our 5 favorite stories on 10/24. Our winners will each get a signed out of print book-bound copy of his new album "Love & War & The Sea Between."

Dig Garrels' jams at his Marmoset Artist Profile.