Hitchcock, the son of a Blues-singer father and a poet mother, has storytelling in his blood. "I view an album as a movie," he says. "I've been making YouTube shorts of questionable quality for over a decade now, and that bleeds into everything I do." He thinks of songs as scenes in a larger tapestry, though they're never written that way. "I just try to fit the songs I come up with together as cohesively as possible."
After four years of work he was understandably eager to show off what he'd been perfecting. "I just hope it resonates. It took so long to get right."
Joseph Hitchcock has always been inspired in short, furious bursts, so when what he claims was a haunted piano gave him twenty-five impassioned songs, he didn't stop to ask too many questions. The sole songwriting force behind the geographically-confused indie-rock project says that the first twelve songs landed on his 2015 debut—aptly titled By Ghosts—but the remaining thirteen sat in agonizing slumber until they were finally birthed in September 2019.
"I always know very early on which songs go where," he explains. "Though all written together, these new tracks felt very unique to a separate journey."
With his new LP entitled To All the Sailors We've Lost, which was recorded on the west coast of the United States before being mixed and mastered in England, Hitchcock seems to have taken the oceanic theme quite literally. "I wanted the different perspectives," he says. "I'm obsessed with the effect geography has on musical style. Painting it with the color of California and then giving it a UK finish was something I thought was cool."
Indeed, although the new album was written in Arkansas yet produced in San Francisco while Hitchcock was living in Seattle, it was released while he was on sabbatical in Eastern Europe.