We recently caught up with California’s Joyce Manor who just wrapped up recording their debut, self-titled L.P. for 6131 Records as the ink dries on their recent signing with the leading underground label. With influences that range from Guided By Voices to Weezer, the band has created a strong buzz throughout the Indie-rock World with a live experience that builds on the emotion of their punk contemporaries with a sound accessible to fans of Indie, Rock, and even Pop. Check out the exclusive Blow The Scene Interview with Matt and Barry as they discuss Joyce Manor‘s forthcoming L.P., their gear, mix-tapes for deserted islands, New Years’ plans, and whole lot more. Enjoy!
Joshua BTS: Greetings! Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for Blow The Scene readers around the World! Let’s begin by having you introduce yourself and declare your weapon of choice with Joyce Manor:
Matt: Hi, I’m Matt. I play bass and sing in Joyce Manor
Barry: I’m Barry, I sing and play guitar. But if we are playing a rowdy show I usually just Tim Armstrong that shit and just sing while wearing a guitar.
Joshua BTS:Congrats on your recent signing to 6131 Records! 6131 said that after hearing your self-released E.P. and seeing your live show, “there was no way we could not work with them”. Bold statement from a label with so many quality bands. How did you come to link up with 6131? You must be pretty flattered for a label of their status to test new water with the unique sounds of Joyce Manor.
Matt: Thanks! Our friend Elliot plays drums in Touche Amore and was nice enough to play the record for Joey at 6131.
Barry: It’s very flattering to have someone spend a bunch of money so you can record and put out a record.
Joshua BTS: What should fans expect from your forthcoming LP on 6131? What’s the 411? Where did you record? Who was at the recording helm? And how does this forthcoming release compare to your prior works and split releases?
Barry: The record sounds more like the demo and less like the split we did with summer vacation. It’s really warm sounding and pretty up beat considering its such a bummer lyrically. We recorded with our friend Alex Estrada. We tracked the drums and bass at his dad’s analog studio in lake arrowhead with this great guy John Nacho. We also watched Hardball, not the TV show, the movie about inner city baseball and Keanu Reeves . We did the other half at his studio, The Earth Capitol, in LA.
Joshua BTS: What does the song writing and recording process look like for Joyce Manor? Do you all actively participate in the writing process or is there a captain of the ship who leads?
Barry: Kurt writes all of the songs and I teach him how to play them on drums. Everyone is annoyed.
Joshua BTS: Can you touch on some of the lyrical themes for the new LP?
Barry: Boredom, repeating the same mistakes over and over, eating too much candy, sexual depression, regular depression, fifteen VHS tapes for five dollars, that sorta thing.
Joshua BTS: Joyce Manor has a very energetic and engaging live performance. Your fans show up and scream almost every word with the band. Your live presence seems to draw from the energy of punk shows but with a sound that incorporates elements of rock, pop, and indie. Who were some of your main influences?
Barry and Matt: Stephen Patrick Morrissey.
Matt: Punk show energy is really important to us. I’m really into bands that play short, engaging sets, like Ampere and Iron Lung. As far as bands that we all share a mutual love for- Guided By Voices, Pissed Jeans, and Rancid all come to mind immediately.
Joshua BTS: Any budding tour plans for 2011?
Barry: We’re going to try to make it out to the east coast this summer and we are thinking about trying to play some un-official sxsw shows.
Joshua BTS: I always like to throw one in for the gear heads. Joyce Manor is able to capture a natural and organic live sound with each new recording you have offered fans. Any pieces of equipment whether it be a guitar head, or cabs, or instruments that you’ve found to be pivotal to drawing a sound you are happy with?
Matt: We have spent all of this year working on upgrading our gear and getting our sound right. For a while Chase was playing guitar through my old Ampeg solid state head, but now Chase and Barry are both playing guitar through Fender tube combos, and I think that is best for our sound. I play a Japanese Jazz Bass through an old Acoustic head, and I’ve been really happy with it. That head is LOUD.
Joshua BTS: Joyce Manor did a fair amount of touring this year. What was one of most memorable moments of your tours over the summer? Any bands you shared the stage with that just blew your mind or melted your face?
Barry: 1994!, Jason Clackley, Tiny Lungs got really good after they did that US tour, and of course Summer Vacation.
Matt: 1994! is an incredible band with an incredible drummer. I was stoked to get to play with Big Kids from Oakland, and Little Lungs from Brooklyn over the last year. Both bands brought it super hard.
Joshua BTS:You are about to be abandoned on a desert island for an entire year. You can bring a boom box and one mix tape. Who makes the cut?
The Smiths – Ask
The La’s – There she goes
The Replacements – Favorite Thing
Summer Vacation – Having your cake and eating it too (demo version)
Prizzy Prizzy Please – Campfire Girls Weekend Party
Guided By Voices – Always crush me
R. Kelly – Leave your name
The Weakerthans – Night Windows
Neurosis – Raze the Stray
Billy Bragg – Greetings to the New Brunette
Big Business – Grounds For Divorce
Antony and the Johnsons – Hope There’s Someone
Orchid- New Jersey Vs. Valhalla
The Smiths- I Know Its Over
Joshua BTS: Any odd touring habits on the road? We love to hear about them! We’ve heard stories of bands shattin’ out of van videos to others with extravagant collections of urine-filled Gatoraide bottles. How does Joyce Manor rank on the odd tour habits category?
Barry: Kurt eats a lot of dry frosted flakes. His eyes light up when he sees them. Other than that we are all pretty normal. Sometimes Chase asks really weird questions and wont acknowledge the fact that he asked them. Things like “I wonder what tuna food looks like”. He won’t explain what “tuna food” is, or even really acknowledge the fact that he asked what it looks like. It’s like he had some out of body experience or something.
Matt: The best thing about tour is taking a shower at someone’s house and using their really fancy soap. Haha, I guess that means we rank pretty low in that category.
Joshua BTS: California definitely has its fair share of grassroots organizations for a wide array of great causes and humanitarian efforts. Any organizations or causes you guys are supporting or think more people should be paying attention to as the holidays are upon us?
Matt: I really like Homeboy Industries. They offer classes and give jobs to ex-gang members in the LA area. They operate a bakery and a cafe in the city that happens to be very good. I also really like Slow Food Los Angeles, the local chapter of a national organization that lobbies and educates people about things like the dangers of factory farming and fast food, as well as the importance of food tradition. They also teach gardening classes. Its something America really needs right now.
Joshua BTS: What will the members of Joyce Manor be up to as the ball drops on Mid-Night Dec 31?
Barry: Hopefully not pissing on someone’s living room floor again.
Matt: The last couple New Years parties have been real wild. I’m gonna be hard pressed to top them, but I sure am gonna try!
– Interview by Blow The Scene Editor, Joshua T. Cohen.
More info and streaming songs at the Official Joyce Manor Myspace Profile