Please give us a little intro about your band. How are things at the 'J.O.Y.' camp?
We are J. O. Y., Bristol's resident noisy melody artists. Our audiences have compared us to a variety of artists from Slowdive to Merzbow, so I suppose our sound can be a little hard to pin down in terms of genre. Things are going well in our camp though! We spent the last year trying to hone our craft and record an EP that felt like a cohesive body of work in the way that you normally only get from an album. I think we have successfully achieved that and it is really exciting to finally let them loose on the world.
Has your musical journey had a deliberate direction or did it simply gradually evolve?
Our musical journey has been and is a weird combination of the two. The band formed quite organically, after Toby was looking for bandmates and my old band stopped playing together. The bringing together of those two sonic landscapes has really defined what we are all about. We have a very defined vision for how we want the band to be but we try not to try too hard to get there if that makes sense, it has to evolve and get to that point in a natural way. Forcing creativity or commitment to a certain genre constraints often results in mediocrity.
Tell me about the latest single 'Syntax'– What's it about? What was the process for writing and producing it? What was it inspired by?
Syntax was one of the first songs we wrote for the EP. I can't speak for Toby to say what the lyrics are about, but I know he likes to leave any meaning quite open ended.We try to observe rather than direct and overtly inform, nudging the listener towards moods and emotions rather than forcing them there. As I said, we like to leave the meaning and intention open ended, so the interpretation of any meaning by the listener can also be informed by their own experiences.
What do you do outside of music? / Do you have any hobbies that you turn to to rejuvenate your creativity?
It can sound cliche but we really like to spend as much of our time absorbed in the music as possible. But we also like being in the outdoors, going for walks etc. Louis and I also got a Playstation 5 recently which is taking up a lot of our spare time!
You're plans for the band were crushed by the Covid pandemic – like for a lot of musicians out there – what impact did the pandemic had on your music career and how did you stay motivated through all the madness of lockdown(s) and being stuck at home?
The pandemic has been a real struggle for many but honestly it has been a really good time for us to reflect on our artistry and just focus on the songwriting and recording components of the band. The band is and always will be evolving and changing, but before the pandemic I think we all had the feeling that we weren't quite reaching our full potential in some of the areas that we have now been really able to take time over. That said, we are now itching to get back to gigging!
What do you love about Bristol/Bristol music scene? For us outsiders – best thing to do in Bristol?
Without a doubt my favourite part of Bristol is just how creative everybody is! Even people that don't work in industries that would typically be deemed as "artistic" seem to approach what they do with a creative mindset. The music scene is also very integral and non egocentric, everybody helps one another out and does so in a way that is conscious of social issues, representation and collaboration. When everything opens up again, I would just recommend going to exhibitions and gigs. There is always something for everybody and some of the more obscure nights and events are put on in really interesting and original ways.
If you were an instrument, what would it be and why?
Brian Eno argues that the studio itself is a musical instrument, can we be that??
What's your ideal press headline in 12 months from now? In which publication?
“J. O. Y. have become the first band to make their fortune in Bitcoin" on the cover of the Gardeners World.
If we were to look at the artists you are listening to, who would be on your playlist?
Lots of Phoebe Bridgers haha. We are also listening to a lot of music that utilises the motorik beat at the moment, stuff like Neu! and Faust. Personally I have also got back into No Age, they're fantastic. Empath too.
What are your plans for 2021 and beyond?
We are actually really looking forward to getting back into the studio to record again! We have written even more songs since the last studio sessions and in our opinion they just keep getting better. We also have some exciting live sessions coming up and hopefully some real world gigs as well! If the pandemic allows for it a little tour wouldn't be half bad as well.
Check out the official video for single 'Syntax' here: