Catching Up With Cannons Ahead of a Summer to Remember [Q&A]

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Photo: Pooneh Ghana

Electro-pop trio Cannons have been making music ever since frontwoman Michelle Joy posted a Craigslist ad looking for bandmates in 2013. Luckily, soon-to-be members and friends Ryan Clapham (guitar) and Paul Davis (bass and keyboard) responded. 

They’ve been using the years since that fated, and thankfully not missed, connection to craft a sound that is simultaneously novel and nostalgic. It's little surprise then that Cannons’ breakout song "Fire For You" exploded on the Alternative Billboard charts, climbing to the #1 position and landing them a deal with Columbia Records. 

Cannons are set to hit the this road this summer, including numerous festival stops at Lollapalooza, Firefly, Outside Lands, and more. Ones To Watch got the incredible chance to speak with Michelle Joy of the group ahead of a summer to remember. 

Ones To Watch: We heard you recently celebrated your birthday and got engaged?!

Michelle Joy: I know, it's been an insane year, but all good things! It was very exciting and a dream come true. I couldn't imagine all these great things happening to me. It's very surreal.

You're set to play Firefly, Lollapalooza, Life is Beautiful, and more, but the one I’m most excited for is Outside Lands, because you're playing on Halloween, the same day as Tame Impala. I don't know how far in advance you prepare for Halloween, but do you have a costume in mind?

I usually don't plan far ahead. I'm more of a day- of- person, but based on the comments for the music video "Bad Dream," I'll be going as The Disco Dazzler! She's a Marvel X-Men character who can convert sound into light beams. She's just so cool!

How do you feel about playing live according to mood ring colors? Black (stressed), yellow (nervous), blue (calm), (purple) happy, or green (mixed emotions)?

Purple for sure!

Based on the lyrics of "Bad Dream," Michelle are you always a person in the back row of shows?

I think it's been changing. Now I'm a person who would move to the front because I want to see everything and see what they're using. When I was in college at Florida State University, we had this place called Club Downunder. I got to see tons of shows for free! I would sit on the couch and just relax there.

Plus, Cannons is going on tour with Sir Sly and lovelytheband this fall! Are you excited?

 We're so excited to play live in like twenty-three different cities. We've just been playing shows on Zoom and then IG live. It's just not the same and we miss getting out there.

In high school, you were involved with a radio station. Tell us about your experience.

That was the most fun class I took because we could program the music and my friends had radio shows. People would skip their other classes just to be in radio. We just had a blast and it was totally worth it!

Were you worried nobody would respond to the craigslist ad that originally birthed Cannons?

No, I wasn't. I'm not sure why I posted it at that exact time, but I just wanted to make music with other people. When I posted that, I got a flood of emails. There were a lot of people that I felt I didn't connect with. When Ryan hit me back… he listened to all the same music as I did and he liked my voice. Ryan, Paul, and I can work on a song without meeting up, which made me feel comfortable. Cannons is my first band and it's been magical for seven years.

Where do you see Cannons a decade from now?

I always just see us on an upward path. It's exactly what we've done in the beginning. Some of my biggest dreams were to play festivals and have people hear us on the radio. I'm just soaking up the moment feeling grateful.  

What did you do before Cannons?

I had so many jobs before Cannons. When I moved out to Los Angeles, I worked as a barista, at a restaurant, a photographer representative, and a behavioral therapist for kids with autism.

Going back to your breakout song "Fire For You," can you speak a bit about the duality present between the lyrics and overall mood? 

The thing about that song is that it’s super sexy. One thing I like to do with songs is make it upbeat with a melancholic message. They are always going to be conflicting, so it can take on many emotions.

Your music has a real Studio 54 vibe, so if you could make a '70s/'80s playlist, who would be on it?

Prince, Rose Royce, Fleetwood Mac, Marvin Gaye, Motown artists, and Bee Gees!  

What's a song you wish Cannons wrote?

Prince's "Nothing Compare 2 U." I've been listening to a lot of Prince.

We heard a new album is in the works, when can we expect more new music to drop?

We're going to be releasing new singles until November when we tour. We're working on the album art cover now. I'm so excited to put it out!

What’s your In-N-Out order?

A #2. I just had that the other day (laughs).

Who are you Ones To Watch?

Remi Wolf and Cautious Clay.

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