An interview with Joy As A Friend

1 0
Read Time:7 Minute, 35 Second

Image courtesy of Joy As a Friend

When you take on the role of producer, writer, composer, and artist, on top of arranging your own music, there’s got to be an immense sense of pride, and accomplishment. Being able to do it all on your own when you share it with the world is not something many artists can say they’ve done. Well, that’s exactly what Joy has done with his debut album Collage 1.

In this interview, we talk about just that — his influences, his process, and his creative passions both inside and outside of music. When you’ve digested this interview, be sure to check out his Instagram page here!

Anthony:
Joy, thank you so much for reaching out to us. How have these past couple of years been for you?


Joy:
Hey! Thanks for having me. The last couple of years has been simultaneously super crazy, and really boring. I only really dedicated about three months to Collage 1, but I’ve spent a lot of time just experimenting with sounds in my studio space. Overall, good.

Anthony:
Let’s start off easy. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Joy:
Yeah, I’m a multidisciplinary artist from Chilliwack, BC, Canada. I grew up in this area of Canada but spent a lot of time traveling in my early to late teens. My father was a Jazz pianist, and my mother was a fashion photographer growing up, so, it always felt like art was just a part of life. They definitely had a huge, positive influence on me creatively. Naturally, my passions are music foremost, but I love photography and spend a lot of time tinkering with textiles and fashion in general.

Anthony:
Before we get into the guts of your debut album — where did it all start? How long have you been making music?


Joy:
I’ve been playing since age ten. My Dad and one of his good buddies showed me a video of Eddie Van Halen playing the “Eruption” solo when I was about nine, and the rest was history. I begged my parents for a guitar relentlessly until I got one after seeing that video. I’m twenty-four now, so it’s been almost fifteen years of playing.

Anthony:
Wearing the hats of producer, writer, and arranger for your music — that’s quite a feat to accomplish. Would you say the digital age of music has helped a lot to make that happen?

Joy:
Absolutely. There is so much information out there. A younger me made a lot of excuses as to why I couldn’t record or get into producing, but that kinda changed after learning about Steve Lacy. For those who aren’t aware he primarily records and produces onto his iPhone using the Garage Band app. The stuff he was making on there was so cool it even landed him a producer slot on Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. That was pretty eye-opening for me, you don’t need much to make a classic record, and that’s one of the most beautiful things modern tech has done in my opinion.

Image courtesy of Joy As a Friend

Anthony:
Who and what are your influences on your music? Your debut album seems to take on Shoegaze, Dream Pop, and Hip-Hop vibes, among others.

Joy:
Thank you, first of all. Growing up it was a lot of 80s Art Rock from my parents. My dad was really into The Cure, and more Progressive/Classic Rock bands like Yes, and Boston. When I first started writing songs, it was a lot of artists like Andy Shauf, David Bazan, and Pinegrove that really shaped how I write. as I got into production, I started leaning more towards Hip-Hop, and different Ambient composers in Experimental Electronic music. I don’t think I’ve quite hit it yet, but my goal, musically, is to find a stylistic balance between Folk, Alternative, Ambient, Hip-Hop, and Dance music. Almost like a sonic “pop art,” of sorts.

Anthony:
The track, “17,” is a beautiful and sad song about remembrance, and looking back at good times long gone. That’s what I get from it. Am I in the ballpark?

Joy:
It is. I wrote that song a few years back as a sort of lament. I currently live in a small town, but when I was seventeen, I went to college in California near San Diego for two years and met the people that are still my best friends to this day. That song was really a response to “losing” that time and moving away, but longing for that feeling again.

Anthony:
Can you take us through the process OF writing, composing, and recording Collage 1?

Joy:
Most of the songs I had already written were in a much more basic form. I had a lot of half-finished ideas saved on my computer, and through some haphazard work, I realized I had an album, and set out to make it a more concise, finished product. If I write on my guitar, it usually starts with a chord progression, just messing around, and then, subsequent melody/lyrics over top of that. Sometimes, I write in my recording software though, and this process almost always just starts with a drum sound, or a sample, or an interesting synth that begins to spark more ideas. Writing on guitar feels more formal and concise, but writing in a program gives me the same feeling as abstract painting

Anthony:
Do you have an artistic statement for the album?

Joy:
I fully think that it’s a coming-of-age album, but not the standard teen to young adult timeline. More like already being an adult, and coming to terms with the realities of life, and all the weirdness/chaos that your mid-twenties seem to bring. Not realizing that you’re an adult, but discovering who you were, and who you actually are.

Anthony:
What type of setup do you use to record your music?

Joy:
My setup is super simple. I have an Apollo Twin Interface from UAD, a Sure sm57 microphone, my laptop with Ableton as the recording software, a cheap acoustic guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, bass, and a Midi keyboard. This along with sampling was how I created the landscape for Collage 1. For Meet Me In Montauk, I outsourced to a friend to track live drums, and I literally paid a guy off of “Fiverr” to play the sax solo on “Heart Sound.”

Anthony:
Who are some of your favorite artists? How about meaningful albums?

Joy:
Jeff Buckley, Kendrick Lamar, The Alchemist, JPGMAFIA, and Radiohead are super influential to me. Maybe not sonically always, but especially how The Alchemist and JPGMAFIA use Sounds and produce. Really inspiring. I don’t have a favorite album, but my current fave is Absolutely by Dijon. Amazing.

Image courtesy of Joy As a Friend

Anthony:
Do you collect any music? Are you into vinyl, CDs, cassettes, tapes, or are you mainly digital?

Joy:
I have a thing for CDs. I don’t own a smartphone, and music while driving is my favorite, so, I have a pretty good CD collection.

Anthony:
How do you feel about the current state of the music industry? We hear how the digital age has “ruined music” for the worse. On the flip side, some say it’s been incredible for music What are your thoughts?

Joy:
I feel like it’s harder to make big money off of music now, but I also think it’s more reasonable than ever to make an honest living off of it. The accessibility is awesome in my opinion. There is so much experimentation and so many artists that we get to hear now that the point of entry is so cheap. I think things could be better for artists, but there are a lot of really beautiful things about how music is currently made/released.

Anthony:
Do you have any other interests, and hobbies outside of music? What do you do in your time off?

Joy:
Photography. I’m obsessed with street photography. Capturing one-off moments feels like finding a unicorn. The rush of getting a crazy split-second shot is too good not to do it. I also love painting and have been experimenting with making some clothing. Creating is a real peacetime for me, so, I try to stay occupied with a couple of projects at once. Most of it doesn’t get seen by anybody, but its more of a lifestyle to me than a trade or something.

Anthony:
Joy, what does the future of your music look like from here on out?

Joy:
I’m hoping to put out another record in the very near future. My desire is to scale each project. I want to keep developing, collaborate with others, and make each one a little better than the last!

Image courtesy of Joy As a Friend

Dig this? Check out the full archives of A.M. Radio, by Anthony Montalbano, here: https://vwmusicrocks.com/a-m-radio-archives/

About Post Author

Anthony Montalbano

Anthony Montalbano grew up in New York and North Carolina. Anthony is a baker by day and a contributor to the Vinyl Writer cause by night. With a passion for podcasts, Pop Punk, video games, and more, Anthony brings a unique and fresh perspective to the team. Anthony's column is a catch-all for the things he loves most, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Happy
Happy
100 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %

Average Rating

5 Star
0%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: