The purpose of an interview, is to shed light on a band who’s music entertains while it mystifies. Wait To Pleasure may not provide you with any new answers about No Joy, but what it does offer is a batch of incredible new songs, the product of the Montreal noise-pop band’s first foray in a fully-furnished studio environment. Here the band has flourished, delivering their finest set to date, rooted heavily in shoegaze ripcurls and devastating melody, finishing sentences whispered long ago with depth, variance and force. Jasamine White-Gluz, Laura Lloyd and Garland Hastings knock down the fence between nostalgia and modernity, chaos and control, in a perfectly realized work.
No Joy still sounds like a shoegaze band, but on Wait To Pleasure you can hear what’s happening under the surface, a work that subverts the expectations of where a latter-day approach to that genre might be able to take the listener. “We get a lot of the obvious comparisons,” Laura says about the band’s music, favorably likened to the stormier side of the pond, where bands like Lush and Swervedriver used to reside, as well as the templates for that sound in groups like Hüsker Dü.
Wait To Pleasure found No Joy set loose in Mexican Summer’s studio, Gary’s Electric, for two weeks in 2012, with producer Jorge Elbrecht (Violens, Lansing-Dreiden) at the helm. Adding piano, keyboards and drum programming to the record helped to color in their sound the way that they wanted.
Those of you with well-trained ears can play spot-the-influence, but the record remains well within the precedent set by No Joy’s releases. “Lunar Phobia” finds Jasamine’s ethereal vocal harmonies prismatically split in the studio environment, with syncopated and chopped-up rhythms last heard in Alan Moulder’s work with groups of yore like Curve, a seamless blend of digital tricks and analog guitar crunch. Better to drill into your skull before you realize what’s happening – better to let all of their sometimes-stinging, sometimes-syrupy music into that new hole in your head.
TDOA writer Amy talked to the band about the new album and more.
Amy: I read in an interview that you don’t really perform for an audience, but to create for yourselves. I think that’s a really bold and ballsy statement – can you expand on that? Why do you feel that way?
No Joy: Is that really a ballsy statement? I don’t really think of it that way. We make music we would wanna listen to, that we would wanna see. If other people do also, that’s cool, but that’s certainly not why we make music.
Amy: On that, what do you think about the people who enjoy your music? Why do you think they enjoy it?
No Joy: It’s gotta be our slammin dance moves.
Amy: No Joy has been around since 2010, which is a fair amount of time to do some changing and evolving – how has the band evolved since your first release?
No Joy: We toured for a really long time from the release of our first 7″ throughout the Ghost Blonde cycle. You learn a lot about yourself as a musician when you’re touring for months straight. We also learned a lot about recording from the first songs we recorded on our own laptops to this record that we did in a studio.
Amy: How do you think touring with Best Coast affected both your music and your audience? I definitely hear similarities between No Joy and Best Coast, but there are some interesting differences – can you talk about that?
No Joy: We’ve toured with lots of bands that we have some similarities with but aren’t necessarily the exact same sound. We’ve been lucky to always tour with great bands and pals.
Amy: What are your favorite acts on Mexican Summer? Who should be on our radar?
No Joy: There are soooo many great releases coming through on Mexican Summer. The new Moodrings record should be rad. They were recording their album around the same time as ours in the same studio so we got to hear a little bit, I think its going to be amazing.
Amy: As two women in a shoegaze band, I would say No Joy stands out a little bit. Have you encountered sexism in the genre, or among shoegaze fans?
No Joy: There are lots of women in this ‘genre’. People always ask us what it’s like to be a woman in a band. That’s weird. Do you ask your grocery store clerk what it’s like to be a female cashier? I don’t get it.
Amy: “Hare Tarot Lies” definitely sounds a lot dreamier, and a little more traditionally shoegazey than does Ghost Blonde. What inspired those changes?
No Joy: Working with a producer, in a real studio. We got to take our time and flesh songs out. There’s actually a 6 string drop C bass and a piccolo snare on that song so its actually more traditionally nu metal than shoegaze.
Amy: I read that you guys are big fans of finding music and videos via YouTube – what should we be watching while we’re pretending to do our “day jobs?”
No Joy: I am a supporter of Amanda Bynes recent youtube contributions and I guess the screaming goat is still pretty good.