No Joy Find Their Polarity With New Album ‘More Faithful’
Photo by Joyce Kim
When the Montreal shoegaze/noise-pop group No Joy announced on Facebook on June 17 that they had just been booked to play at the upcoming NXNE Festival in Toronto, their post featured a picture of an entirely different band. The three men of Brooklyn’s Weekend acted as a visual flare accompanying the announcement, and for the past month, No Joy have been using this playful, deceitful method to toy with their social-media bulletin board.
“That was Laura [Lloyd]’s creation. She started using other bands that we either played with or [bands that] people always reference whenever they’re describing [us],” says No Joy vocalist/guitarist Jasamine White-Gluz in regards to her bandmate's social-media skills. “I think some people were maybe confused. The first time it was Vivian Girls and people commented like, ‘What – Vivian Girls are playing?’?”
White-Gluz calls in to the Voice from somewhere in Minnesota. Since February the band have been on and off the road in support of their third release, More Faithful, which hit shelves on June 9 via Mexican Summer Records. This new album has the foursome sounding their most focused, an adjective not often used when describing the hazy drone of shoegaze. “We wanted to do our best to have a contrast so not everything was loud or quiet, but a good mix of them,” explains White-Gluz.
More Faithful was recorded last fall, with studio time split between Mexican Summer’s Gary’s Electric in Greenpoint and the homemade, remote digs of producer Jorge Elbrecht, located about an hour outside of San José, Costa Rica. “There was nothing to do. You could go for a walk in the woods, but it would be raining for most of the day, so we just made our little mixing studio in an old farmhouse and sat together for the whole time,” recalls White-Gluz of their Central American recording. “There was nobody around, really, [but] there were stray dogs you could hang out with sometimes.”
She speaks of contrast and how it pertains to two aspects of the record: in the way the album is heard — how certain tracks such as “Hollywood Teeth” and “Corpo Daemon” blast wide open with noise and fuzz while other songs are glossily subdued — but also in how the album itself was recorded, balanced between secluded forest and concrete metropolis.
“New York does kind of feel like a home away from home, but there are a lot of things you can do when you’re there: We’re recording, but at ten o’clock I want to go see the Blood Brothers show, so I’m going to leave,” she says of recording in New York. “There are things you can do, but in Costa Rica there was nothing to do.”
White-Gluz and Lloyd began recording as No Joy back in 2009 and have steadily risen as one of the more prominent noise-rock groups touring the circuit today, earning fans like Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast, who early on in their career tweeted, “Dude, No Joy is the best band ever. Two hot blonde girls just shredding away. Sooooo amazing.”
Montreal remains their hub, but White-Gluz admits it can feel like a small pond after a band begins to take off. “Montreal is a great place to get started with stuff. It’s cheap and you can have a space and make do really easily. But the thing is you don’t really ever — you gotta leave!” She chuckles. “You can’t stay there forever. So bands either move to New York or they tour a lot. But it’s a good launching pad. It’s really easy to just focus on music there.”
Does this mean No Joy are thinking it's time for an exodus? “We’re definitely going to stay in Montreal just 'cause now that we tour a lot, it’s been a great home base to come back to when you’re not home all the time,” she says. “I say that now, but I really like Brooklyn, too! We’ll see what happens.”
While onstage, White-Gluz says she gets lost in her own world — not so much due to the wall of sound she and her bandmates are creating, but because she’s in a constant state of damage control.
“I have so many pedals and effect units — I have Radio Shack at my feet! So I’m always [thinking] 'What’s going to break next?' A lot of it’s just concentrating on not breaking everything, and sometimes it does. Laura has gotten into the habit of picking one person and having a staring contest with them throughout the show,” she says before cracking. “So maybe I’ll start to do that!”
No Joy play Baby's All Right on June 23 at 8 p.m. Openers include EZTV and ADVAETA. For tickets, click here.
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