Inbetween their UK tour featuring a wee slot at King Tut’s, Mary Machin caught up with Rhydian Dafydd of Welsh outfit The Joy Formidable for a chat and insight into their creative mindset…
How’s 2011 treating you so far?
Rhydian: Pretty well, yeah. It’s all very early days but we’ve been itching to get on the road and get debuting tracks from The Big Roar live.
When it comes to playing something live for the first time, do you translate songs so their sound is varied from that of the record?
R: Yeah, absolutely, I think we do see the two as quite distant and it’s nice to challenge yourself and change things night to night. The live experience is something within itself, that’s the way we see it and I always think, why go and see something live that I can listen to on a record?
In terms of visual aspects, such as artwork and videos, how involved are you?
R: Pretty much always. I’ve done the artwork for all the releases up until now, the same goes for merchandise. I think being in a band is more than music, it’s the ethos. Maybe that doesn’t work for all bands, but I’ve always been interested in the visual side of things anyway, so the artwork seems to tie in with whatever’s going on lyrically. We also get involved with videos, all be it in a D.I.Y way, I think there’s that charm to it though that I think that can be lost when things get professional.
What do you do when you get writer’s block?
R: Luckily, we don’t get it that often, the reason why is we do everything in a studio back home, and because of that set up, we can get things down whenever we want. If there’s ever a hurdle, you can always come back to it anyway. I think that’s how we work best, the traditional way of touring and then coming home to write, the two can inspire each other.
What are the main themes of The Big Roar?
R: There’s quite a few, hard times…social commentary, pure joy of writing, language itself, there’s all sorts. We wrote the album in South Wales, and even that landscape inspires us, aswell as North Wales, where we grew up. The title comes from something Ritzy (vocals/guitar) was reading about the Amazon, where there’s this wave every year that comes along and destroys everything, it’s the longest wave in the world. There’s a translation of that into The Big Roar and a really strong imagery, and it’s very inspirational in terms of what we were writing at the time, y’know, you’re trying to get over something, things aren’t okay but they could be.
Are you pleased with the reception of the album?
R: We’ve enjoyed being in a bubble with all that stuff, it means a lot to us, we’re proud of it, we’ve put so much into it, and I’m not going to have anyone saying it’s sh*t. It’s always nice to have some appreciation, like when people come to shows and are getting what you’re playing. I suppose that’s all that matters to us really, that is we’re happy with it and people are coming to see us regardless of what critics say.
What has the year ahead got for you?
R: Probably more touring, maybe a bit of writing. Mostly touring though, I think we’re on the road for four months in total!