by Erica McQueen

Joseph & Maia: Song Of Old Zealand

by Erica McQueen

Joseph & Maia: Song Of Old Zealand

Two years after the release of their sophomore album ‘Fear’, alt-folk duo Joseph & Maia dropped a typically personal new single entitled Amsterdam in late 2019, following it up recently with a nostalgic video directed by fellow Tauranga local Mark Fruish.

The Amsterdam single was recorded with Luke Thompson, Joseph’s brother.

“It’s the first time we’ve ever worked together so closely on something. He was a huge help,”

Starting pared back with just the strum of a guitar, the duo’s effortless harmonies shine against autumnal images of the city. The song’s lyrics draw on what life was like on the road in Europe and living in Amsterdam. They reminisce about a city they called home, and the memories they have from that time.

“Nostalgia about our time in Europe is something we feel often – it just felt right to release a song that was relevant and real.”

‘I can hardly remember who I was before I met this town,’ they sing. Mark Fruish travelled to Amsterdam to film the video, which is a snapshot into their three years spent busking and touring throughout Europe. The city became a home base for their adventures. 

“We were usually in Amsterdam during our downtime between touring, so life there was slow – we strive for slow, though it’s a lot harder here!”, Maia says in reflecting on what parts of life Amsterdam they’ve brought home. 

“We had been on the road for close to a year and we were realising that without a base we were potentially going to go insane. On a slight whim we caught a bus from London to Amsterdam with everything we owned and asked a guy we had met once at a party (we are now good friends!), if we could crash with him until we found something else. We were lucky (thanks to amazing friends) that everything fell into place.”

The video echoes the memories sung with shots of a local bar, river canals, cyclists and streets full of people. It’s shot very much as a person’s natural point of view walking through the city, and camera angles immerse the viewer. Amsterdam as a city is so much more than what a large majority of the tourists visit for, the pair explain, and it’s the simple aspects of day to day life that are captured in their music video, the gently wistful tone of both tune and imagery well matched to these Covid-19 times.

“We just wanted to share some of what we love about the city, some of our favourite streets to walk. To be honest lockdown felt a bit like Amsterdam, lots of coffee and free time spent making food and music.”

There are also glimpses of the duo singing in a studio, giving face to the voices behind the song, as they sing their story. ‘Somehow, hand and hand, we found ourselves together, singing our way through the streets and the river crowd. You and I in Amsterdam.’

Joseph and Maia received funding to create the nostalgic video after the single had been released.

NZ On Air is a fundamental reason that indie artists like us can be creative at a professional level without oceans of debt, or having to lean on majors. We’re so grateful to be from a country that supports each other, especially in a time like this.”

They had been planning to tour Europe later this year, no doubt with Amsterdam as a local media drawcard. With that no longer a possibility, the duo instead hope to start work on a new record – they have, after all, had more time for writing and planning lately.


Made with the support of NZ On Air.