No Joy Is Going Through Their Radiohead 'Kid A' Phase [Q&A]
The Adult Swim festival bore a significantly talented bunch of artists that still have our heads floating atop cloud nine. One group in particular makes a living out of creating songs that do just that.
No Joy is the Canadian dream machine that has people stepping outside of themselves and straight into their music. The world first welcomed the indie rock, dream-pop mixture back in 2009, a simpler time if you ask the band's lead, Jasamine White-Gluz.
2010 saw the band release their critically acclaimed debut album, Ghost Blonde, and sign with the record label Mexican Summer. Since then, the dreamy quartet have been releasing music perfect for blasting with the drop-top down on a road-trip through California. In 2017, the band resurfaced with a collaborative project with fellow artist Sonic Boom, blending electronic and indie rock sonics, furthering the band's complexity and authenticity.
After their riveting set at Adul Swim Festival, which set the tone for the second day of the festival, we had a chance to catch up with Jasamine White-Gluz of No Joy and talk about being a musical sponge, going through their Radiohead Kid A phase, and so much more.
OTW: No Joy’s origin story is pretty unique, with you, Jasamine, living in Los Angeles and Laura living in Montreal. How did the desire to create No Joy come about?
No Joy: It was kind of an early internet thing because now the story isn’t cool at all, but in 2009 it was really cool to like send emails with files and take the files and write songs separately. But we lived in Montreal. We’re from there. When it started, we were all in different places, and now band always lives in different places and most of the time we just write together digitally.
So it’s something that has continued since your origin, making music separately and then come together to perform it?
Yeah, exactly. Practice a little bit before we have to play a show.
Since we’re on the subject of your music, the music you create is a perfect blend between serenity and chaos. Who or what are some of the band’s musical inspirations?
Ooh thanks! I guess different things inspire different parts of the band. I love the band the Deftones, and that’s a band that always had really heavy but very soft and melodic vocals, so that was something that I’ve always been influenced by. And I’m influenced by all kinds of stuff, really. Sometimes things influence me production-wise, but I might not be a huge fan of the artist, but I just like what they’re doing production-wise.
So overall you’d say you're like a musical sponge?
Yeah, yeah! I like all kinds of stuff, so I like when people say, “I listen to all kinds of music… but not country." (laughter) I listen to country too, though.
That’s good because I’m definitely the person that’s like ”…everything BUT country.“
(laughter) I like country, there’s some good stuff. You just gotta know where to look - you gotta dig.
To transition back to No Joy a bit, the band’s most recent EP was with Sonic Boom and you can really hear the change in sound. Were you all looking for something different or was it a hail-mary kind of thing?
We had done so many records as a rock band, and I was getting more interested in electronic music a little bit and learning how to write songs that way. So, I started writing songs that way and spoke to Pete, who is Sonic Boom, and asked him if he wanted to collab because he has far more experience in that kind of thing. After we finished the four songs we were like, "Well, I guess I’ll put it out,” but there was no real intention to do it. It was sort of like an exploration of making songs without guitars for me, and then that led to the new record I made. There are still guitars, but it’s pretty much 50/50 between guitars and electronic stuff.
It was like really allowing creative expression to take over.
Yeah, and to challenge yourself. I mean, not to quote Radiohead, but when they made Kid A, they said that they wanted to challenge themselves and make something different. It can be so easy to just keep making the same thing you do all of the time, but it’s really a challenge when you pick up a new instrument and you’re like “I actually suck at this!” And I have to teach myself how to do it, how to write a song with it, how to put it into my live show and figure all of that out. That’s the fun part for me.
It’s all apart of the process of growth and moving forward
Yeah, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. But to keep going, that’s key for me.
What are some things this new year has heating up for you both music-wise and overall?
I wrote and produced a new record last fall and its this kind of thing where when you do everything yourself, you have to make deadlines, otherwise, you’ll just keep going forever and it will never end. So, hopefully, that’ll be out this upcoming year! It’s been sitting for so long and that’s been pretty exciting, doing that and spending time just doing that only really has been really good. In 2020, there will be some tours and a new album, but probably towards the latter half of 2020. It’s my Kid A, where I try to play instruments and I kind of suck at them (laughter). But we’re trying!
When Cartoon Network is transitioning into Adult Swim, they present a disclaimer that says: “Adult Swim may contain mature material some viewers may not find suitable.” So, if you had to have a disclaimer set forth before you entered any room, what would it be?
It’d be like, disclaimer: Before you talk to me, give me a second (laughter) give me a second to assess the room and like, don’t talk loud at me. Give me a minute to get there and then we’ll talk, but I need a second to warm up. That would be the disclaimer because I’m a double cancer like - please.
If you could create a universe out of anything - with absolutely no limitations - what would your universe consist of?
Oh my god, like, cute animals probably! Just a bunch of cute animals that are hanging out, being cute, in nice weather.
What’s your ideal weather?
Honestly this but not playing a show. When I left Montreal there were maybe six or seven inches of snow, so this is the ideal. LA has the best weather. I usually come here like three or four times a year to escape the freezing cold, but, yeah, my ideal universe would be sunny with animals.
If you could describe your music as a color, what would you say it was?
Ooh, that’s a good question. I don’t know… I feel like maybe a sea-foam similar to what I'm wearing because it’s like, it could be fun and nice but could also be scary because the ocean is scary sometimes. Like a sea blue, maybe.
Who are your favorite performers performing at the festival?
The lineup is so good, it’s like so eclectic and such an interesting group of musicians. Yesterday, we got to see Tim Hecker who is amazing and Health was so good and today is just ridiculous! Like, we soundchecked right after 2 Chainz!
That was probably such an interesting mashup.
I know! (laughter) And we were like waiting for them to finish soundcheck and were like, “This is going to be crazy, we have to stay the whole time because I want to see this!"
Speaking of live performances, what is the first live performance you ever went to?
My first show I ever went to see was No Doubt on their "Tragic Human Tour." It was so good! Gwen Stefani, what an icon.
Who are your Ones to Watch?
Our good friend Will, his act is called Baths and he just started his own record label and he just put out a new song! His music is so great and we did a tour with him as well. I’m really excited for him because it seems like a whole new chapter where he’s putting out his own records and his new stuff sounds crazy so I’d like to shout him out because I think he’s onto something that’s going to be really crazy good!