The Joy Formidable - The Joy Formidable
Miss Fliss 28/06/2009
It's time to believe in a new band with all your heart again, to fasten upon them all your will to be thrilled, and to be rewarded by being caught up in a whirlwind of dizzying, frantic, fuzzy rock. The Joy Formidable glimmer like bright new hope. One mini album down the line, they already have a quartet of songs that sound like dreamy and addictive hit singles (one of which is going for a mega £30 on eBay this early on!).
North Wales is barren for rock kicks, but Joy Formidable, steadily and surely on the up, are set to be a famed and important export. On record and live you would not credit that there are only three noise makers involved - but the best trios embody something bigger than the sum of their parts. Ritzy fronts the JF with her sometimes-pretty-with-twirling-melody/sometimes-corruscating-with-crashing-chords guitar and elegant but energised vocals, then there's her beau Rhydian propelling things with his undulating bass, and sticksman Matt stapling the chaos together with crisp rhythm. Live, things can get wild, with Ritzy being known to hurl herself headlong into the pit, else the crowd themselves go into a deranged state of frenzy.
GIITTV sub-editor Miss Fliss caught up with the band before a particularly hectic Cambridge gig. Singer Ritzy does the talking.
How do you feel about the positive coverage you've had so far so early on - everything from The Guardian to Myspace?
Ritzy: It's obviously gratifying when your music makes a connection, particularly because it's been a natural process for us, we don't have a big machine behind us. So even the smallest of triumphs feels special. Feeling the fanbase grow and become more fervent is phenomenal.
Are you conscious of being 'a female in a band'?
No, not at all, gender doesn't come into it.
Which women in music do you find inspiring? Or is music a genderless thing for you?
Yeah, I don't like to dwell on gender, if you're good and inspiring that transcends everything.
What's it like being a couple in a band?
We have a good relationship and we've been friends for a long time, but it's an inconspicuous affair. On some levels it drives the band, because we have a unique writing partnership. But day to day, it's completely overshadowed by music.
Are the band in the habit of going up mountains with musical instruments? I used to live in North Wales (Bangor) and it's very beautiful and must inspire you to write musicâ€¦
It is beautiful and it's definitely inspired the voice of TJF. It's where the writing began and the hills around there are where Rhydian and I used to escape when things were becoming too intense.
How could you destroy those lovely instruments in the Whirring video?!
It felt great, I would recommend it.
Would things be different had you stayed in north Wales? Is it dispiriting that bands have to relocate to London to further their ambitions?
It would have been impossible to stay in North Wales, the circumstances there were too sad. I'd like to completely dispel the thinking that you have to move to London to progress as a band, that's not why we moved and it's not necessary.
How was the transition from Wales to London for you?
It was a relief and it still is exciting. We've met some brilliant, talented people.
What was the first gig that made you think 'I want to be up on that stage!'?
Probably Springsteen having so much fun with the E Street Band in Sheffield.
The reaction you seem to get at gigs is positive towards your more energetic moments and gets people in frenzies - what's the most extreme reaction you've received?
I like the chaotic side of shows, the bits that you could never plan. I loved watching people mosh to the quiet bit in While the Flies, that was unique.
Your quieter moments are really quite tender - any plans to work on songs that run quiet all the way through, or do you prefer to add guitarry bluster?
I don't plan when it comes to writing, I hate the thought of strategising the sort of song that you're about to write.
It's great that you do your own You tube - something that caught my attention was a Bukowski quote in the name of one of your songs - are you big Buk fans? What are your favourites?
Well spotted! Yeah, I can't claim to be a prolific reader of Bukowski, but I love Factotum, it's bleak and yet so funny...and very compelling, considering it's so repetitive.
What are your thoughts on the way music culture has changed in the past few years - is this a good time to be in a band? What are your ambitions?
Potentially, it's a fantastic, empowering time for new bands but you have to really love what you're doing and get on it with. The main ambition at the moment is capturing our debut record, I'm obsessed with it.