Josh Cohen

Australian pianist and ambient artist Josh Cohen launches his debut solo piano album Weird Time Signature via his new label DNTWIG at Kühlhaus Berlin on Wednesday, 31.5.2023.

Josh Cohen’s innovative and improvisational approach to playing conjures all the dynamism of iconic electronic music producers merging it with the rich atmospheres of impressionist pianists.

A unique synthesis of classical and jazz training underscores Cohen’s sound but it is the sense of space, simplicity and intensity of emotion that have driven over 19 million YouTube views and granted Radiohead’s approval for songbooks featuring Cohen’s idiosyncratic arrangements to be released by their publisher Faber Music.

Inspired by iconic electronic producers and Impressionist pianists for this release, Cohen will be performing live in Germany for the first time after touring his band-approved Radiohead songbook around Australia. Featuring visual design by Melbourne-based audiovisual artist Joshua Batty of MindBuffer.


1. Jonny Greenwood chimed into a conversation with my editor and myself confirming that my arrangement of Radiohead’s ‘Videotape’ was notated correctly in a band-approved Radiohead songbook that was published a few years ago.

2. I caught a flight with José González between Berlin and Munich. Raced off the plane after the flight to look up a photo to confirm that it was him and it turned out that it was just a random dude with two guitars who looked kind of similar. My heart was racing the entire flight.

3. I can rotate my tongue 360 degrees.


1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?

I’m a big harmony guy and love feeling the resonance of an acoustic piano. I’m inspired by pianists such as Debussy and Bill Evans, but also have an appreciation for electronic music, so I find myself hovering somewhere in between these two worlds whilst currently keeping my live sets exclusively acoustic.

2. How and when did you get into making music?

I’ve been playing the piano for over thirty years now, which started with a lot of classical training before studying jazz and improvisation at university, so it’s been quite the journey exploring the instrument for me. I’ve now fallen into the chasm of appreciating that the more you know about something, the more you realise you don’t know.

3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?

I used to run a couple music schools back in Melbourne, Australia before I moved to Berlin and I’d always ask the applicants to send through their top five favourite albums with their application. You’d be amazed at what some people put down when sifting through hundreds of applications. Most of the lists included passionate lists of lots of bad pop, but you’d always find some nice little discoveries in there and get a much better insight into an applicant’s vibe before meeting them in person. One application included five King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard albums, which was pretty amusing, but my personal favourite included various albums by Meat Loaf, of which my friend Winty suggested to me after sharing the list with him, “Oh, man, the Loaf! No interview required.” If you don’t know Meat Loaf, probably best to keep it that way.

4. What do you associate with Berlin?

I arrived in Berlin from Australia for the first time in 2017 for a summer holiday, as my Swiss cousin had been living here for a little while. He surprised me at Tegel after he finished work and was on the other side of the gate after my thirty hour voyage. After the initial shock and a big hug, Cousin Jeremy asked me in the middle of the airport, “Would you like a beer?” In a haze and severely jet lagged, I replied with “Ummm.. sure?” He then reached into his backpack and pulled out a couple of beers right in front of about twenty cops, cracked them open and just said, “Cheers, mate! Nice to see you.” We bought a couple bus tickets and finished the beer on our way to Neukölln. You’re not allowed to drink in public in Australia, so it’s always a novel experience to be treated like an adult here. I did get him back though last month when he was visiting Berlin (he’s now living in New Zealand, as we both have Kiwi passports) and pulled the same trick on him at the train station, but with some of my weed tincture instead. We had a very lovely meal in Schillerkiez that night.

5. What’s your favourite place in your town?

We are spoilt for choice on the nature front in Australia, which is something that I miss living in Berlin. I used to walk the Merri Creek in Melbourne every morning, which would have to be one of the most pleasant ways to start your day if you have to live in a city.

6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?

I always thought that it would be fun to study graphic design or typography.

7. What was the last record/music you bought?

I’ve been going a bit old school recently and have been revisiting J. J. Cale’s ‘Naturally’, as I think I’m craving going on a proper road trip with the weather warming up now. I’ve just done my first Euro winter, so I’m definitely enjoying the change of albums that I’m listening to as we head into the summer.

8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?

I’m not really one for collaborations and usually like to keep things as a one-man-band, however I love collaborating with visual artists. I’ve worked really closely with a dear friend of mine Joshua Batty from MindBuffer, who was living in Berlin for a couple of years. Check out his work, he’s really operating on another level.

9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?

Launching my Radiohead songbook in Melbourne was a pretty special experience. The support act was one of my favourite Melbourne soul/jazz DJs and we ended up flying my friend Batty (above) from Berlin for the show to do a custom LED installation for the launch. You can find the gig on YouTube.

10. How important is technology to your creative process?

In my creative process it plays a minimal role, as most of my time is spent on an acoustic instrument. It’s still handy to be able to jot down ideas on to my phone as phone memos, as I exclusively play by ear these days and I just can’t remember all of the ideas that evolve from the late-night jams.

11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?

Both of my siblings are also creatives, my sister Tali works in fashion and used to own a little boutique and my brother Danny is a director who has done film clips for indie musos like Courtney Barnett, King Gizz and Kurt Vile. We’re always supportive of each of our endeavours, which is a really beautiful thing.