Ponder talks new single “Walking by the Wake”


Joseph Barnum, best known as Ponder, is much cooler than you. Why, you might ask? At the young age of 21, Barnum has already toured the country several times over with this project, crafting a plain-sung blend of acoustic emo that wouldn’t feel out of place alongside Dashboard Confessional, Julien Baker, and the Front Bottoms and gaining notoriety from coast to coast. Today, we’re premiering his new single “Walking by the Wake”, marking the second release from his impending Trouble in the Self View EP that will be released next Friday, June 4th. “Walking by the Wake” is a great piece of story-telling as Barnum reflects upon a past relationship with evocative imagery and additive sonics that enhance the straightforward nature of his songs. You can stream the song via Soundcloud below, and keep scrolling to read my chat with Ponder about the new single, along with some reflections on the past year:

What does your writing process look like? Walk me through the story of Walking by the Wake.
So, “Walking by the Wake” is a song revolving around love lost and self-reflection. I had a guitar part I had fooled around with, and I tried to place myself somewhere I wanted to be to work through things, as opposed to just word vomiting my feelings, so I put myself in the headspace of being by the water of some sort. Generally, those kinds of places are my happy places! From there I was kind of reflecting on these experiences and my overall thoughts in a setting that made me feel comfortable. My writing process kind of varies between coming up with a song out of the blue, and sometimes sitting on ideas for periods of time before I’m able to put down whatever it is I’m trying to accomplish.



You’re a young dude. I remember playing shows with you when we were both in high school. Do you see that youth as a benefit or a crutch as you get started in your career? To be honest, it’s actually insane how much you’ve got done to be so young — I remember being impressed with how hard you were touring at like, 17!
I really appreciate that! It was just something I always wanted to do, and things fell into place for it so I kind of saw it as a “do or die” moment. Like, I may never get the chance to make friends and contacts and play shows like that again so I had to seize it while I could! I see it [his youth] mainly as a benefit just because it was incredible being able to see parts of the country and play shows with great bands, and more importantly making friends along the way and having a blast. There might have been times where it was a crutch or maybe a gimmick, but I think that’s mainly my brain because nobody’s ever made me feel that way specifically.

What’s your favorite memory from touring?
Holy shit, that’s hard. I think it might have to be the full band tour I did with Early Humans (phenomenal band — check them out) and we got to see the Mall of America. One of us got drunk before we went in at like 11 am and we got him to ride a roller coaster. Seeing Niagara Falls is absolutely tied with that too. Lots of memories that I miss dearly, but I’m hopeful for future ones! I’m so grateful for everyone who I’ve gotten the opportunity to tour with and I’ll be damned if I don’t get back out when it’s safe to.



Ha, that’s a good segue into my next question. I’ve primarily known you as a solo artist, which I believe is a pretty brave thing – I know it would be difficult for me to stand on stage by myself and sing about the things you do in your discography. Is that an intentional choice, to fly solo, or is there a full band Ponder in the future?
It’s definitely difficult at times but I’ve grown into it better as time passes. That being said I absolutely think full band Ponder is a possibility, and I’m gonna do the douchey artist thing and say you’ll have to wait and see what turns out!

What’s the biggest thing you want to get across to listeners on this new EP?
It’s okay to struggle with self-perception, and it’s okay to struggle with anything in general. Do your best and that’s all you can do!


Pre-save Trouble in the Self View here, and keep up with Ponder:  Twitter // Instagram // Facebook


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