Josiah Steinbrick (b. 1981) is a composer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist originally from Providence, Rhode Island.
On moving to Los Angeles, he met then up-and-coming producer Danger Mouse (Brian Burton). Burton hired him as a session musician, and inadvertently offered a unique view of an auteur in his exploratory prime. Soon after, he met another important collaborator, Devendra Banhart, eventually joining his band. A shared love for left-field pop and “music that sounds like nothing is happening” (in tandem with becoming instrumentalist of choice for Banhart’s producer Noah Georgeson) resulted in Steinbrick contributing bass, drums, percussion, and synth arrangements to Devendra’s album Mala (2013). That same year, he also began working with Welsh artist Cate Le Bon, convincing her to come to Los Angeles to record her third album Mug Museum, which Steinbrick and Georgeson co-produced. Over the following years, Steinbrick produced another album by Banhart (2016’s Ape in Pink Marble) and two more by Le Bon (Crab Day, 2016, and the Mercury Prize-nominated Reward, 2019).
Steinbrick also formed the group Banana in 2014, with the Brazilian songwriter Rodrigo Amarante. Initially conceived as a way to play records in specific settings (its first event was as part of a three-week art series in an abandoned building) and with a performance element made up of members of Le Bon’s band, it developed almost accidentally into a forum for Steinbrick to explore his own compositional voice for the first time. A studio session was recorded for Dublab radio in Los Angeles and released by Leaving Records in 2017. That spirit continued in Steinbrick’s first solo release, Meeting of Waters (2017), a textural dream-suite consisting of “a lot of metal and wood” and a single synthesizer. In order to retain its impulse, he prepared little and worked almost spontaneously, capturing each layer in a single take. Produced by Le Bon, it was recorded in less than a week. His second solo record, Liquid/Devotion & Tongue Street Blue (2020) allowed elements of this process while exploring a wider range of bass, harmonic processing, and polyrhythm. Mouthfeel/Serene with Sam Gendel followed shortly after, comprised of reassembled 2018 improvisations inspired by Teo Macero’s editing techniques on Miles Davis’ Get Up with It and On the Corner.