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Some time after releasing their 2013 EP ‘Roll Up Your Sleeves’, indie-folk duo Joseph and Maia found themselves in the Italian city of Sorrento. Sitting on the high cliffs above the Tyrrhenian Sea, the couple developed a lingering case of wanderlust, one that would haunt them for years.

Turns out that itch extended beyond geographical longing. The songwriters were creatively frustrated too, feeling out of place, struggling with a career that only felt half-true.

The duo amicably split with their label and took to their fans to fund their debut album, the aptly-titled ‘Sorrento’. It was the first step in a journey of discovery for the newly independent duo.

“We spent two years trying to make a commercial record for radio.” explains songwriter Joseph Thompson, “We hit wall after wall until we realized that that making a pop record wasn’t something we wanted to do. We needed to be free to make music just because we loved it.”

Thompson dug his teeth into a steady diet of Americana and Roots records, searching for tenets of a sound that would ring true for the duo. They set up camp in Neil Finn’s Roundhead studios and recruited a band of like minds and old souls, including renowned producer Nic Manders, drummer Brent Harris (Cut Off Your Hands), bassist Matt Short (Sola Rosa) and guitarist Si Moore (Streets of Laredo). A chance meeting with pedal steel guitar veteran Janek ‘Buck’ Croydon led to phenomenal country flourishes on three songs. The album was cut live as the band huddled together in Roundhead’s underground brick room.

‘Sorrento’ also sees the songwriters opening up some veins lyrically. “The record is more honest and open than we’ve ever been before.” says Thompson, “I’m more open than I am with my closest friends in these songs. I didn’t want to play it safe this time round.” When the album was finished, the couple played it to his parents. “They both came away really worried about me” Thompson laughs, “I think that means I was being honest.”

“‘Sorrento’ is about not feeling in place,” continues the songwriter, “Maybe we’re all in the same state, searching for where we belong, in limbo. I feel like that’s where both Maia and I have been for a while; restless minds and spirits, searching for our Sorrento”

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