Every Monday we will be bringing you an unsigned singer or band as part of our Independent Music Monday feature. This week, we caught up with unsigned band JOY find out more…

Who is in the band, how did you meet, where are you from and how did you come up with the band name?
Ben: I'm Bin, or Ben, drummer and burger flipper extraordinaire. Came to Bath thinking I was going to get a degree in Film Studies and ended up in a band. JOY just seemed like the right name for us, I guess it is kind of ironic, as Toby says, we’re not always the most joyful people ha ha.

Ali: I'm Ali and I’m the Bassist/Comedic Relief. I’m from South America. I met Toby out of luck and even though I didn’t know him much then we started living together. Right away it was clear that we shared a lot of music tastes and got along pretty well. I was always really intrigued by his songwriting, so we started playing together. Bin kind of just fell into our laps one night after I saw him practicing with one of his old bands through a rehearsal room window and we connected eyes. It was rhythm section at first sight.

Toby: I’m Toby and I’m the rhythm guitarist/vocalist. I’m from the south of England. The band has brought us closer together but we were definitely mates first. We chose “JOY” as our name because we had this opportunity to rebrand and get featured on this YouTube page, we wanted a name that could play into our sound, and well we don’t always sound too happy so we thought it was funny I guess.

Who were your musical influences when you were growing up and who are your influences now?
Toby: When I was in secondary school my mum got me this Best Of Bowie CD and it was the only one in the car that wouldn’t like skip and jump so naturally I sort of fell in love with that, every day to and from school we’d just play it on repeat, loud!
My dad was really into Talking Heads too and from a very early age I remember recognising how clever and humorous their lyrics were, this was something that really appealed to me in the Pixies’s stuff too but they did it in such a raucous way and since I heard that I don’t think I’ve been the same since, that 90’s sound is everywhere now.

Ali: My parents were quite old school with music when I was a kid. They listened to a lot of folk music from South America. I was super lucky to have a really good friend in elementary school that started to show me all kinds of music like The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, and Nirvana. Kings of Leon really called out to me, especially their early stuff. Now I kind of listen to everything.

How would you describe your sound?
Toby: It’s very varied, some of our stuff is very quiet and almost ballad like, but we also do these grungey ambient songs, we like Wolf Alice a lot, those guys definitely influenced our sound.

Ben: Space Grunge. We go places with our music I think, when we play we just involve ourselves in the music and move around in it. It’s hard to describe it ourselves without getting too deep, but I feel like there’s a lot of substance to the sound.

What is your latest single called and what was the influence behind it?
B: Its called Tree, and you can listen to it pretty much anywhere at the moment. Toby wrote the song about alienation, which is something I feel people can relate too. That’s helped by how haunting the song and Toby's vocals can sound.

Toby: More than anything I wanted to create a song that was misleading in it’s first appearances, I mean it’s about alienation and inhibition and I think those things come in great disguises.

Ali: This one was kind of recorded in an acoustic setting and we think it really spear-heads the kind of vibe that we want to go for. We got a lot of support from a YouTuber called Stefan Michalack who really helped us get the song out there. And we are so happy to see that a lot of people really like it.


What’s your local music scene like?
Ali: We have quite some good venues to play in, and while it’s not a scene with massive audiences, it’s a very supportive community. It’s very homely but very varied, there’s so many different kind of bands it’s crazy.

Toby: Yeah it’s a blessing to be honest, the bands and fans around us show nothing but support I think it’s the best way to not only listen to, but create an environment in which great music can be made.

Ben: The combination of Moles and Nest being such amazing venues to play means we’ve got a pretty good deal! Bristol is also amazing, so many opportunities.

What do you have planned for the next 12 months? Any albums or festivals?
Ali: We are in the process of recording a 4-5 track EP and plan to release it in very early 2018. You can expect to hear some music soon, as we are going to be releasing singles and hopefully some videos between now and then.

Toby: It’s gonna be super busy, hopefully we can see some friendly faces at the shows!

Ben: We really wanna go on tour to promote that EP too so, exciting times haha!

Is there anyone you’d love to collaborate with?
Toby: Josh Homme from Queens, he just seems so fun and educated.

Ali: I’d love to work with Tom Dalgety, the man behind Royal Blood’s EP, or maybe just have a Jam with the guys from Idles, that’s probably something we’d remember.

Ben: David Lynch, his filmography and art are just out of this world.

Any funny stories surrounding your live performances?
Toby: This one time in London under our old band name, we played this gig, it was only our 3rd show or something and I thought it would be funny to get some crowd banter going before we played so I said “if there’s anyone in the audience who likes Coldplay, you might wanna leave now”. Our guitarist at the time, who’s not with us anymore, decided to follow up this up with “No seriously fuck off!!” the room went dead quiet and everyone actually did leave!? We were left in this empty venue like, we just traveled 3 hours for this.

Ali: We were once playing a Nirvana cover and the audience got super close. They started to push me about and at some points my glasses just went. For the rest of the song I wasn’t able to see what was going on.

Ben: Had many situations involving bits of drum flying off mid set… the worst was when the bass drum wasn’t actually gripping the floor properly and it ended up just moving away! Had to stop the set and get a spare bass drum.

What is the one thing that you want readers to know about your band?
Ben: That Toby is my favourite songwriter and he will soon be yours :)

Ali: I want them to know that we don’t go through a day without thinking about making music and planning to play live. We have so much we’ve been working on and have so much to show to the world.

Toby: I want people to know that if you wanna know anything about us, you gotta come see us live, it’s definitely where we shine our best.

You can find out more about JOY via Bandcamp or Spotify.

Jenny Pugh