Normally, I’d start with a lengthy paragraph saturated with weird anecdotes and far-fetched puns that probably only make their writer giggle at the very best, but this time decided not to. Instead, I’ll clock in this week’s band Joy with a comment of their own about how the act came into existence, which in its extremely mundane nature goes to underline the fact that even the most stellar music has the tendency to rise from a very simple and trivial setting.
‘The four of us have been friends for years, and we’ve played music together outside of Joy before in various projects and settings. We decided to start writing together as Joy in mid 2015.’
‘As far as heavy music goes, we listen to almost everything from hardcore and punk, to black metal and thrash, to doom and stoner metal. As far as Joy goes, we like to keep things fast and loud. Hard guitar riffs from bands like Converge or Trap Them have always been inspirational to us. Fast, heavy hitting drums and chaotic thrash elements from Trash Talk were also very big inspirations when we first sat down as a group to figure out the direction we wanted to take the band. We try to take aspects from all genres we love and combine them into something that is uniquely us.’
‘Writing has always been a very interesting process for us. We definitely work better together as a group. Being in the same room together is the ideal writing process. We can bounce ideas off each other, get feedback on ideas instantly and usually get the general outline of a new song started in just a few hours. That being said, it’s sometimes very difficult for us to get together on a frequent basis. With our full-time jobs and half the band being married, it can be hard for us to line our schedules up to write together. Usually, we all demo out ideas on our own time and send them to each other to get opinions or to build off of each other’s ideas. We take those ideas when we are together and then go from there to build a song. It usually takes a little longer that way, but it has worked out for us so far.’
‘Whenever we start writing it has often been very different for us to figure out what direction we want to take things. We are definitely our own worst critics. We try to not fit into one specific sound, and initially that can make the writing process very difficult. I think our best songwriting has just come from just letting go of genre stereotypes and just writing what we like and what we think would sound awesome, like going from a fast, black metal inspired blast beat section straight into a big hardcore style guitar riff. It’s really freeing to not write like ‘alright we did ‘a’ and ‘b’, now we have to do ‘c’. It can certainly make things a little tricky and frustrating at times, but in the end we are always very happy with what we’ve created.’
‘The lyric writing process is very important to me. The lyrics for No Light Below took me a little over a year to mold into something I was happy with. Something that has always frustrated me is lyrics that are bland or don’t seem like they come from a genuine place, especially in heavy music. I think it’s really easy to spot emotionally empty writing. I don’t have a specific influence other than my own life experiences, but as for the writing itself I try to keep everything very poetic. I try to imagine that I’m just writing poetry first and foremost, then figure out how to fit that writing into a song. I like to have a definitive message in each poem, but I don’t want to beat people over the head with the meaning or spoon feed it to them. I try to keep things a little open so whoever is reading them can take the words and interpret or use them as a mirror to reflect their own experiences and emotions back at themselves, but I definitely wrote the words with a specific meaning in mind. Everything I write is very personal and meaningful to me.’
‘I think our only goal when we started was to hangout and create music we want to hear. We wanted to play shows with bands we liked listening to, and over the years we’ve gotten to play with a lot of amazing artists and made many good friends along the way. The heavy music scene can occasionally have some gatekeeping, which is fucking stupid, but 99% of the time the scene has been nothing but supportive and inclusive to everyone, which is really cool and encouraging to see. We just want to play as much as we can and create good art. Our next goal is to probably put out an EP. Since we are currently not affiliated with any specific record label we kind of want to get really experimental with our next release, mess with our sound even more and put out something that nobody would ever expect from us.’