The Joy Formidable's Ritzy Bryan: Don't compare us to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Photo by James Minchin
Don't compare the Joy Formidable to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Don't compare them to Courtney Love for that matter, either. In fact, lead singer Ritzy Bryan doesn't want to be paralleled to any other female singer at all. "There's ladies doing their thing, and that's really great, but we're all very different. If you start making female references -- making comparisons -- that doesn't push us forward. We're women." Known for their intense rock shows, the indie-rock Welsh trio lean at times leans towards the heavy metal side.
As the snow was softly falling during what seems like the longest winter the Twin Cities has endured in a while, Gimme Noise spoke with Ritzy from London on a wonderful Spring-like day in the UK.
In her thick Welsh accent, the singer talks intensely about Wolf's Law, the band's latest album, released just at the end of January. Written in London, the new album is much darker than the band's prior records due to the claustrophobia and close confines the band lived in during the making of Wolf's Law. Bryan says, "We were living on top of each other and juggling many things. That shows through in the music. Nothing has become comfortable in the dynamics of the band. There's still fire and passion and a lot of emotion when we write."
Ritzy admits that while the energy and intuition was heightened in this record, she and bassist Rhydian Dafydd spent less time wanting to kill each other and more time getting "fucking excited at the material growing and coming together. There's still plenty of good, healthy fights. You have to have that."
That chemistry is what binds the band together; it's when artists lose that spark that they need to be worried. Bryan continues, "We've seen that many times in some of the bands that we've toured with, but I don't know. A lot of that passion comes from why you got into music in the first place. That's the thing that keeps you constantly grounded."
Another thing that keeps Ritzy grounded is her view of the music industry, more so her view as a woman in the industry. "People assume that you must be the girlfriend of one of the guys in the band when you're walking in the building. The also assume that you don't write the songs. The industry we're currently working in has a long way to go in terms of celebrating women. Ultimately it's run by men, but there are still plenty of women who are at the helm of their careers." Bent on exposing her generation to different female role models, she adds, "You're gonna run into that in any industry you're working in, though. It's how you handle yourself that makes or breaks who you are."
Known for their relentless tour schedule, the band now calls the road their home. Ritzy recently gave up her London apartment last year, since she was only home a few handful of weeks in 2012. "Our tour bus is our home. It has an ever-changing view," she says. The constant touring has earned the band many dedicated fans throughout the world. Citing no differences in their European audiences and US audiences, she says, "The thing that constantly surprises me is our audience. There's something strange about touring. Even if you go back to the same city, the same night a year later, it won't be the same experience at all. It's mind-boggling, but at the same time it's exciting 'cause that's the spontaneity when you walk out onstage -- you're never sure what you're going to get."
She lingers on the subject of their concerts, "I want to challenge people when they come to our shows. I want them to feel something from that hour and a half of their lives. There's too many musicians just going through the motions and playing songs they don't give a shit about. We have a lot of emotion in our show. As long as people go away feeling that moment in time was amazing, we've done our work. It's our way of bringing people together."
The Joy Formidable will be performing at First Avenue with Guards and Kitten on Wednesday, April 3, 2013.
18+, $18 adv, $20 door, 7 pm
Purchase tickets here.
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