Catching up with Papa Josh 

The former Whistlerite talks about his new solo music, performing with other groups and his ongoing teaching gigs around the corridor

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - jam time Papa Josh is planning to return to the local stage this summer.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • jam time Papa Josh is planning to return to the local stage this summer.

Papa Josh (a.k.a. Josh Suhrheinrich) might have officially moved from Whistler to Seattle five years ago, but it turns out he never fully left.

"I've been back and forth between Seattle and Whistler—more or less since I moved, but more now than previously," he says over the phone from south of the border.

It turns out, he's been dutifully driving the winding highway to teach guitar at the Whistler Waldorf School a couple times a week. "It's a nice drive," he adds. "It's not the worst thing in the world."

Suhrheinrich has primarily been teaching music—both here and in Seattle—recently, as well as focusing on his kids. "I haven't pursued anything over this year," he says. "I now have a two-and-a-half year old, so I'm trying to dig in and spend a lot of time there and not stress myself out trying to hunt down new things and deal with travelling."

But that could change. Suhrheinrich is putting the finishing touches on a new EP and is set to release a new video as well. After that, he hopes to pursue more opportunities for his solo act again.

Locally, he was set to return to play the Alpine Café this weekend, but then an opportunity came up for four dates stateside with his former guitar teacher Fareed Haque in his band Garaj Mahal.

"(He's) a world-renowned jazz and classical guitarist," he says. "He said, 'My keyboard player can't make four shows' and he asked me to sit in."

Suhrheinrich jumped at the opportunity, but it means rescheduling the Alpine Café show until July 13.

"I go in there all the time," he adds of the venue. "It's a nice, friendly, local environment. I'm still doing my solo thing: looping using computer-based software and doing shows on my own. A lot of it is straight-up improvising."

While his solo act is rooted in the same upbeat, funk-steeped sound as when he played more frequently around town, "it's now a combination of doing the looping I've previously done, but then mixed with software where I've got sounds and effects and things DJs would use, but I'm putting it together on the spot. That's really evolved quite a bit over the last year."

In the meantime, his band Klozd Sirkut just released a pair of singles as well as a video. "I play a few weird characters in that one," he adds. "The cool thing about that as well is everyone writes and produces. We compose together and get a different angle on our stuff than we would on our own."

He might have several music projects underway, but Suhrheinrich is also returning to Whistler to teach the Into the Groove Music Camp for Teens from July 17 to 21 at The Point Artist-Run Centre.

Students—age 13 and older—will learn music in a variety of genres, "feel the groove" and perform in a final show.

"We're going to tap into a variety of different styles but also focus on what the students are into," he says. "We'll choose some songs together that are fun that the students are into and appropriate for their ability level ... We definitely had a really good response to it."

For more information on all of Papa Josh's projects visit papajoshmusic.com

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