Artist Interviews

Q&A: The Joy Formidable

By | Published on Tuesday 5 April 2011

The Joy Formidable

Original members Ritzy Bryan and Rhydian Dafydd formed rock trio The Joy Formidable in 2007, taking on Justin Stahley on drums prior to the release of debut single ‘Austere’ the following year. The band put out a mini eight-track album entitled ‘A Balloon Called Moaning’ in 2009 through Pure Groove Records, then recruiting a “human dynamo” in new powerhouse drummer Matt Thomas upon Stahley’s departure.

Having toured extensively with Editors, The Temper Trap and Chapel Club, the band re-released ‘Austere’ and another single ‘Whirring’ to herald the release of full-length LP ‘The Big Roar’ via Atlantic/Canvasback earlier this year.

Currently riding high on the album’s transatlantic success with a series of US live dates, the band will return to our shores on 10 May for a headline slot at London’s Koko. Vocalist Ritzy took some time out from the band’s busy touring schedule to address our Same Six questions.

Q1 How did you start out making music?

I grew up in a very music orientated household, lots of guitars and instruments. I started playing classical guitar when I was young and spent a lot of my youth writing songs and poetry. Rhydian discovered Jimi Hendrix in his early teens and music obsession ensued, and I think Matt was paradiddling in the womb.

Q2 What inspired your new album?
It’s an emotive record, it’s captured a reaction to circumstances, it’s personal, it’s social, but it’s not indulgent to any one sentiment. It chronicles a period of grief and running parallel the pursuit of hope.

Q3 What process do you go through in creating a track?
There is no process, we write and record in several ways, it depends on the spawning of the track and how we decide to develop it. Some are studio based, others begin in rehearsal. We have a modest studio setup in our bedroom, so it’s very easy to capture tracks as and when they happen.

Q4 Which artists influence your work?
We’re inspired by many artists and art forms but it’s very unconscious, it’s not apparent in the music that we’re making. I grew up on a musical diet of Elvis Costello, Bruce Springsteen, Soul & Motown, The Smiths and Van Morrison. Outside of music, there’s so many, the films of Sergio Leone, Hieronymus Bosch, Magritte, Pollock, De Kooning, Philip Guston, Carl Ray, Dan Beard, Werner Herzog. Lots.

Q5 What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?

I wouldn’t say anything, I’d let them listen, music doesn’t need an explanation.

Q6 What are your ambitions for your album, and for the future?

We’re proud of the album we’ve made, we’re glad to be sharing it and it’s just the start. Just the first in a long line of tracks and albums to come.