From their humble beginnings at local shows in Montreal to working with a Raveonette, Canadian shoegazers No Joy made a name for themselves with dialled up amplifiers, layered guitars, ethereal vocals and hypnotising live shows. The release of 2015’s More Faithful was met with positive reviews from fans and critics alike for its subtle blend light vocals and dense instrumentals. Before their show at Kantine am Berghain on Wednesday, September 23, we spoke to lead singer and guitarist Jasamine White-Gluz about the band’s growth and musical style.
More Faithful is generally firmer but less aggressive than your previous records.
Depends what you mean by aggressiveness. Even the softer songs on the album have some aggressiveness to me. We wanted to juxtapose and contrast sonic elements, that may have resulted in some moments coming off as ‘less heavy’ and instead sounding ‘firmer’, but I think holding back and carefully choosing the moments in which to be aggressive is just as heavy as turning up the fuzz the whole song.
How have you personally matured in the way you approach songwriting?
We spent a lot of time writing, in pre-production, analysing every single detail of every arrangement. In the past we left a lot of things up in the air to explore in the studio, but this time we wanted to be prepared and tighter as a band. We also challenged ourselves with the parts and time signatures, we never want to do the same thing twice. So we spent a lot of time trying to make ourselves better as musicians.
The instrumental density of More Faithful contrasts the lightness of your voice. Is this intentional?
I don’t think its really intentional, that’s just how I sing! We have always played with quiet and loud, soft and heavy, so I think this record is an extension of that.
What are you now “more faithful” to?
“More faithful” was a set of words that we could interpret in so many ways… that’s why we liked it. It means different things to each of us, personally and musically. The title was chosen after the album was recorded, so it’s kind of an after thought to the entire process we went through.
Why record the album in Brooklyn and Costa Rica? Did you also write the songs in these places? How did each environment effect the songwriting/recording atmosphere?
The songs were all written before we got to the studio. We were scheduled to record with Jorge Elbrecht in the Mexican Summer studio in Brooklyn throughout October, but he decided he had to move out of NYC and was going to visit his family in Costa Rica. We decided to move the production with him. We stayed on a century old farmhouse isolated in the jungle. I wouldn’t say that the environment effected the production or any creative aspect of the album other than being isolated gave us lots of time to focus and we couldn’t go anywhere so all we had to do was to work on the album 15 hours a day.
How do you approach songwriting with the band? Do you each write individually or collectively?
We all bring in our own ideas or individual home demos and flesh them out together. So it’s a bit of individual writing and also collaborative.
You seem to prioritise the tone and flow of your voice over the clarity of your lyrics. Why?
I don’t think I give one priority over the other, its just easier for me to get a feeling across using melodies over explicitly clear words, but the lyrics always play a hugely important role too.
NO JOY Wed, Sep 23, 20:00 | Kantine am Berghain, Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain, S-Bhf-Ostbanhof