Companionship is an element of life we all hold dear to us. The idea of being in close proximity to the ones we love is beautiful, but the aspect of how long, could make even the most measured person worry. It's that knowledge that makes it a truly beautiful accomplishment that the sisters of the band Joseph not only banded together to create music, but the fact they were able to create music unlike anything else we've heard before.

Their debut album I'm Alone, No You're Not will challenge your ears, while still giving you plenty of flourishes and hooks to latch onto. A major feat of this album is how it excels at being both an album for music fans and music obsessives; the layers you'll discover on this album will make future listens just as enjoyable as the first. After living with the album for several weeks, I got to sit with Natalie Closner to discuss how Joseph, and their beautifully crafted album, came to be.

When you formed Joseph what do you feel it was that immediately made this different from previous projects?

Everything. Prior to Joseph, I had been playing beachy little heartsick songs. Then Allie and Meegan came into the picture along with a friend Andrew Stonestreet (formerly in the band Greylag) who became our producer. My sisters brought their untamed, dynamic singing styles and Andrew was like our spirit guide, helping us say exactly what we meant in each song. Joseph is just more honest than what came before it.

The album feels realized but also hungry, that there was a major desire to utilize as many sounds as possible. Most acts tend to find themselves keeping their approaches small on the first go, what do you feel it was that made you three feel comfortable delving into such expansive territory on the instrumental side of things?

Wow, thank you! I love that - "realized but also hungry." To answer your question, this was our second project in a studio and the first, Native Dreamer Kin, was a bit sparser. We knew we wanted to work with someone who would grow our sound and stretch it across a large dynamic range. That's what these particular songs needed and our other producer Mike Mogis really made it happen!

I love how 'Canyon' doesn't waste any time in introducing the listener to your world. It's an expansive track, and the tones have a rustic quality to them that still sound sharp. I was particularly amazed by the heightened emotion felt near the two-minute mark where the vocals and instruments clash together. When you're in the studio creating a song like this, how does it feel to invoke such raw emotion on all levels?

It's my favorite therapy. I think in the process of growing up, you learn to temper your outward emotional expressions, and it's hard to know where to put what you feel. When was the last time sadness caught me by surprise in the middle of my day and I let myself cry? Or joy! When did joy well up big enough in me that I spontaneously leapt or danced? I can't speak for the world but I know Allie, Meegan and I need music to break through our emotional ceilings. So to answer your question it feels like breaking through a ceiling.

The electronic quality of 'SOS' was also something I took to right away. A track that that showcases how you understand the importance of cohesion within a track but aren't afraid to utilize various tools. When you were in the studio, was that aspect of 'anything goes' apparent while you were creating together?

Definitely! It really was a conversation with Mike that started like "Ok what will serve this song the best? How will we dress it up?" We love pop music/pop production and until 'SOS (Overboard)' we haven't had a fully indulgent pop song. I love it. It was really fun to go down the different paths each song led us to.

And that brings us to 'Blood and Tears', that continues the progression of rustic percussion but also introduces a crystalline guitar within the chorus. Again, it echoes how expansive your sound palette is. I feel like it was with this track it hit me that the last thing you wanted to do was feel a sense of being pigeonholed. That you didn't want people to assume that they could place you in a niche and that the songs could speak for themselves. Would you agree with that?

It's funny because in retrospect that is definitely what this record says but we didn't start with that in mind. It wasn't like, "We don't have an anthem so let's write one" or "Let's have some variety and write a dancey groove track." Each song was written in different ways and when we put them all together in the end, they were all different from each other.

What was the experience like working with a producer on this album? I imagine the conversations that lead to the approach of making these songs must've been very interesting.

We learned so much! Mike really understood our vision for the project and we could tell from the start he could feel the heart of the songs. And he's been doing it for so long he has so many colors to paint with... Most of the process was us describing how the song feels to us then Mike or one of the players throwing an idea on the table and playing it out. It went by feel.

What would you do during downtime from recording?

We recorded the record in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha is a lovely little town! There's a bar that had incredible homemade pickle juice for their pickle backs so we had a lot of those. We made dinners and drank Trader Joe's box wine, read books and danced.

I find it fascinating how for creatives, especially musicians, the element of work transcends the application. For example, I was listening to this interview with Don Cheadle, and in it he mentioned how vital it was for actors to be working even if they don't have a 'job' such as reading plays, researching scripts, finding like-minded individuals to bounce ideas with. When it came to making I'm Alone, No You're Not did you find yourself finding inspiration and ideas from other areas apart from the nucleus that is the studio?

Oh of course! It's totally ineffable, you know? Inspiration is hard to pin down because you're constantly absorbing what's around you and then suddenly an idea will come! Or finally, your feelings swell big enough that you can really see them for what they are. Touring is a big catalyst for songs. Being away makes you feel a lot. Reading. Going outside of the city to camp or hike. Meeting up with other musicians on the road who understand and want to talk about it. That's all part of it.

The more I listened to the album, the more I found myself struck by how the words flowed. How collaborative of an experience is it to write a Joseph song?

Oh it's so collaborative! Even if just one person writes the lyrics, the vocal arrangement is all of us. Finding the theme of this project and naming it was so rewarding. We realized once the songs were sitting there side by side that there was a thick theme of what we'd been going through together - tension, fear, longing, uncertainty, and ultimately the hope to push through those things. Meegan's song 'Honest' really encompasses that; the dialogue in your head that starts with what you feel then what you say to yourself about it.

With songs such as 'SOS', 'I Don't Mind', 'Blood and Tears', and especially 'White Flag' (my favourite song off the album), I couldn't help but wonder about the albums own title. To me, it feels quite specific, and I wonder if the story of the album title echoes that?

Yeah, when we first started writing for this album we had a hard time. We didn't like any of the songs that were coming and one night while Meegan was working on an idea, and then she got frustrated. From there she started journaling in the margins. She wrote "I can't say a true thing. It's hard to be that honest... There's always two thoughts, one after the other... I'm alone. No you're not." And when she read it she thought to herself, "Oh there's the song."