1.Firstly, thank you so much for agreeing to do an update interview!
To begin with, I thought I would ask you how your support slots with
White Lies have been going, and if you may have any interesting tales
from your time on the road?
Ritzy: (laughing) Oh yeah, we have lots of interesting tales (smiling)!
Well, its been going really well and this is our penultimate gig
(pausing), Im going to be quite sad to see it end actually
weve had a really good tour and weve had really good receptive
Rhydian: Weve been getting on really well with the bands
Ritzy: Yeah, which is always an advantage (laughing)!
Justin: Ive got an interesting tale (pausing), well, I think
its quite interesting! On our first date, which was Cardiff, we
were really late because we had problems with our van we had
bad tyres which werent inflated and some of the lights werent
working. And then when we got there (laughing), my sampler wasnt
Ritzy: (laughs heartily)
Justin: And I remember looking at these guys staring at me in
the face, just before we went into a song and I couldnt hear anything!
Ritzy: It was really funny (laughing), there was just like a moment
on stage of sheer terror
Justin: SHEER TERROR!
Ritzy: In Justins face! Because he gets like a little click
track and for a moment, he just looked like, I dont know
Justin: I looked up and I saw these two staring at me
Ritzy: We were going, Why isnt he clicking us in (laughing)?
Justin: And it literally came back in and we were alright!
Ritzy: So we had a bit of what could have been potentially a shaky
start. But the crowd in Cardiff were so lovely and so receptive (smiling)!
Justin: No, it was fine, it was kind of a moment (laughing), because
all I can remember is the real horror in these two faces (looking at
Ritzy and Rhydian)!
Rhydian: Almost all of the bands have broken down at some point
Ritzy: Yeah, our ignition key even snapped!
Justin: Yeah (laughing)!
Rhydian: We were just about to drive up to Glasgow werent
we, and then the key snapped!
Ritzy: Post War Years van broke down and so did the White
Lies. So yeah, there was some vehicle gremlin!
Justin: Weve all had our fair share of van troubles!
Ritzy: I should have brought my bloody Nissan shouldnt I?
That would have kept going!
2.What are your Tour Bus Essentials?
Ritzy: I have to have a book
Rhydian: You definitely have to have something to entertain yourself
with, and a book is always a good one!
Ritzy: And good music!
Justin: Yeah and a pillow for me!
Justin: So that you can sleep in the back of the van when you
get the odd occasion to. Yeah, thats what I like, a nice pillow
thats my Tour Bus Essential!
Ritzy: And a water gun to annoy people with, when theyre
falling asleep (laughing)!
Justin: Ritzy tends to put the video camera on you in the most
unexpected moments youre sleeping and then all of a sudden
youre woken up with a lens in your face!
Rhydian: Yeah, or a jug of water in your face to see the
Ritzy: Yeah (giggling), I think youve got to have a few
pranks on tour! I mean I think Ive actually been quite well-behaved
Rhydian: We were going to get Justin almost every night, but weve
been pretty good we were going to have a running thing going,
maybe like putting honey on his drumsticks just as we went on stage
Rhydian: But weve been quite kind.
Ritzy: Yeah, weve been good (laughing)! Because Justins
been the TM for this tour, because we havent got a crew at the
moment which is quite nice as well, because its all in-house!
Justin: Ive had to be like the conservative one, making
sure everyones up on time and ready to go!
Ritzy: Yeah, hes been bossy (smiling)!
Justin: Rhydians the worst person to get out of bed.
Rhydian: Dont believe the hype!
Justin: Ritzys up, but Rhydian will lie in bed probably
until the last minute
Rhydian: Yeah, 1 minute getting up and Im out before you
guys, because you take like an hour to have a shower!
Ritzy: But you stink of shit normally dont you (laughing)?
Justin: Rhydian will wake you up at 5 in the morning just to have
3.Have you noticed a significant growth in your profile / fanbase
over the past few months, since our first interview?
All: Yeah, definitely!
Ritzy: I think we have noticed it since the single came out (Austere).
I mean thats had a really nice reception and its had some really
good press and its had some good radio. I think obviously on tour as
well (pausing), the amount of people weve met per night and the
reception that weve had like the amount of people who want
to come and talk to us after weve played and sign up to our mailing
list, has been quite overwhelming!
Justin: Reading and Leeds was really good for us as well, because
there were a lot of passers by who caught us just in-between
bands and it kind of captured their attention. Festivals are
a funny thing, because you think youre on early and there are
loads of massive bands playing, but with hardcore music fans milling
around, theyre the kind of ones who you want to latch onto you.
So its quite nice if you can pick those up, because quite a few
have come to see us on this tour, because of that!
Ritzy: Yeah, weve met a few people on this tour who have
actually come to see us even though were the support band
and they know more about our band than I do probably (laughing)!
Theyll know exactly which sessions youve done and where
youve played and stuff, and thats quite touching!
Justin: It is kind of strange yeah, but its a nice thing
Rhydian: Also, because weve had the free download tracks
(www.musicglue.com/thejoyformidable) for quite a while now, our mailing
list has been getting bigger!
Ritzy: It makes it a lot more accessible for people, which is
always a good thing you know? So were happy (big smile)!
4.What would you say the divide between talent and luck is in The
Justin: Thats a really good question!
Rhydian: Yeah, but its very tricky to answer
Ritzy: Yeah! We actually met up with James Allan from Glasvegas
after the show in Nottingham, and we had a really nice evening with
him he definitely made the luck angle quite clear
you know? But I dont know? Maybe Im a little bit naïve
in thinking that theres a lot in drive, in talent and in determination.
Id like to think that that will create enough luck.
Justin: Basically, I think great bands encompass that anyway,
without necessarily making a conscious decision about it, do you know
what I mean? You can kind of look at it however you want to, but if
it all works and it isnt contrived (pausing), I mean obviously
I think there is a lot of contrivance in the industry and thats
fair enough, and theres a reason why people do that. But, I think
with something like our band, it sounds a bit cheesy when you say it,
but its kind of just part of where we are its a gelling
thing really, and everything else just comes from that!
Rhydian: Yeah, I think its determination, its as simple
as that, because things do go round in circles and if you stick at it,
then luck will eventually come your way I think. Because a lot of it
is luck, theres no doubt Id say about 80% luck
Ritzy: Weve actually given it a figure (laughing)!
5.Excitingly, you recently revealed that your debut album is set
to be released in Japan this December through the indie label Rallye.
Can you tell us how this came about and what we can expect from the
Rhydian: Well, Rallye got in touch and Japanese labels are really
enthusiastic and theyre always on the scout, so I suppose they
just heard us over MySpace and said, Weve got to do this!
Ritzy: Yeah, and I think the thing that is so great about the
Japanese album, is that because were going to record it and produce
it ourselves (pausing), we dont want to sound like complete control
freaks (laughing). But weve got a nice amount of control on the
tracklisting and the artwork and the sort of vibe of the album, and
weve got a few collaborations on there, because Kyte and Totally
Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have done remixes for us. So it feels like
its really showing where were up to at this moment in time
you know? Theres a lot of freedom with it, so were looking
forward to it!
6.Will there also be a new TJF single?
Ritzy: Yes, Cradle is going to be our next single and were
also hoping to film a video for it in the next few weeks.
7.How are things going with your remix label (www.myspace.com/tjfremixes)
and if you could handpick any artist or band to remix one of
their songs, who would it be and would you like them to return the favour?
Ritzy: If we could handpick someone? Wow!
Rhydian: God yeah, there are loads man!
Ritzy: Were quite happy at the moment, because were
actually working on a Kyte remix weve kind of done a swap
and thats something that Ive wanted to do for a while,
because Ive been following them and I really, really like their
tracks! I think weve got quite a new song of theirs as well, so
it feels a little bit special (smiling)!
Rhydian: Its a matter of time as well you know? Weve
been so busy recently (pausing), weve certainly had a lot of people
doing remixes of our music, because weve made our files available
for download, so thats been great! But in terms of us doing remixes
for other bands, its been really hard fitting it in, but we do
try our best to do it. Because with this Japanese label and the second
single (pausing), weve possibly got a little American release
coming out as well, so weve just got so much going on, that its
really difficult. But in terms of bands that I would like to remix,
Oh My God, there are a lot! There are so many songs though, that you
think are great, but you probably wouldnt want to touch them because
theyre so good (laughing)! Id love to do a Flaming Lips
Ritzy: Ooh yeah (excitedly)!
Rhydian: But you know, thats pie in the sky isnt it?
Ritzy: Thats it.
Rhydian: Do You Realise?? That would be a great one!
Ritzy: Yeah! Id quite like somebody like The Prodigy or
The Chemical Brothers to remix a Joy Formidable song something
really dance-based would be good!
Rhydian: The guy whos actually done one of our remixes,
Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, hes doing something quite
different and fresh.
Ritzy: Oh yeah, hes very good!
Rhydian: Yeah, and I think its quite nice getting that angle,
because there are a lot of straight dance remixes, that maybe arent
very creative with it you know?
Justin: Yeah, its nice to have signature remixes, rather
than obvious generic stuff, do you know what I mean? So that whichever
artist does it, they kind of put their spin on it, which is a really
nice thing so its obviously you, but its obviously
them at the same time.
*I remark that it would almost be like a versus collaboration*
Justin: Yeah exactly!
Rhydian: A Trent Reznor remix, Id like that (smiling)!
*I say that I hope all of the remixes happen one day*
All: Yeah (laughing)!
8.For me, the name of a band has always been important and I think
The Joy Formidable is one of the very best! But which groups do you
think have striking names?
Ritzy: Hmm (thinking)
Rhydian: The Flaming Lips is a good one!
Justin: I like Dinosaur Jr. I always thought that was a
Rhydian: Ive always quite liked Howling Bells actually,
thats a good name! Ooh, thats a tricky one, because there
are so many, to just come up with some straight away is difficult.
Ritzy: A lot of really good bands and some of my favourite
bands theyve always got good imagery in their names really,
bands like Mercury Rev
Rhydian: Yeah, it works on many levels!
Ritzy & Justin: Yeah!
*I say that the Manic Street Preachers is one of my favourite band names*
9.2008 is obviously a very exciting time for you all, but if you could
be magically transported back to any other musical year, which one would
Rhydian: Mine would have to be so I could see Hendrix, because
I grew up being a massive fan of his, so I wouldve loved to have
seen him live! Thats got to be mine, just out of pure nostalgia.
Justin: I would have liked to have seen Buddy Holly that
would have been awesome! That Johnny Cash / Buddy Holly era, when it
was kind of before they were super-massive, when they were kind of touring
around the States doing those small, intimate gigs
Ritzy: Yeah (excitedly) youd get them on the same
Justin: I dont think they even knew what was going on that
time, so to be a part of that, would have been something really special
I reckon. Because it was a real precursor for a whole, massive movement
that was going to happen 5 or 6 years later (pausing), as long as I
wasnt on Buddy Hollys aeroplane though!
10.Many music magazines now feature a guest columnist discussing
a topic of their choice, but if you were asked to contribute an article
on a subject that interests you, what would you write about?
Ritzy: Your questions are shit hot man!
Justin: Id like to write about Outer Space, thats
what my article would be about.
Ritzy: And Time Travel (looking at Justin)?
Justin: Possibly Time Travel, because I came to this realisation
the other day (pausing), you know this whole Particle Accelerator situation
in Switzerland, well, I thought that time doesnt actually exist
its just a made up thing! So that kind of got me thinking,
but Im absolutely obsessed with stars and planets, so I would
like to write something about that!
Rhydian: I would like to raise some substantial issue socially
I think societys a pretty fucked up thing at the moment.
It sounds a bit serious, but maybe a debate between love and unconditional
love and peoples viewpoints on that
Justin: Thats a much better answer than mine that is (laughing)!
Rhydian: Its a bit serious, but
Ritzy: I think Id just go on a rant about Sarah Palin at
the moment that bitch is fucking me off!
Rhydian: I agree with that one!
Ritzy: Were in such an environmentally thoughtful
*At this point, the Oxford Zodiacs Club Night music is turned
on at such a loud volume, that we can barely hear ourselves speaking,
so, we decide to move to The Joy Formidables shared dressing room
with White Lies and Post War Years, which is currently empty*
Ritzy: Where were we? Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. Were in such
an environmentally thoughtful stage socially, where were bringing
up a lot of important issues and youve got somebody like Sarah
Palin, whos potentially going to be the next President of the
Justin: Shes running for Vice President.
Ritzy: Yeah, but John McCains 72 he could fucking
conk at anytime couldnt he? Things like that are quite worrying.
Justin: Im just amazed at how shes suddenly come to
everyones attention so very quickly. She must have been around
for years, thats the thing, but suddenly shes there!
Ritzy: Yeah, shes been lurking under some nasty stone I
11.What is your biggest Love and your biggest Hate?
Rhydian: Lack of a sense of humour is a real hate of mine
I dont like people who take things too seriously. Youve
got to have a bit of substance, but also a flip-side you know?
Ritzy: I hate Traffic Wardens!
Rhydian & Justin: (laughing)
Ritzy: Weve been in London for the last 8 months and I think
weve had about 10 parking tickets weve clocked up
about £600s worth! So they can all go and fuck themselves
Rhydian: Food and different cultures are a big love of mine. I
just think its amazing that you (pausing), I dont know?
You can get a real sense of culture just by eating something!
Justin: I hate arrogance
I HATE arrogance! I hate people
who think that theyre above you, or even if they feel that theyre
below you. And I love roller coasters!
Ritzy: Roller coasters (surprised)?
Rhydian: You have a fear of heights as well dont you?
Justin: No, I dont have a fear of heights, Im claustrophobic.
Ritzy: My biggest love has got to be music Im just
obsessed with it!
12.Have you ever had a life-changing moment?
Justin: Oh, thats a good question!
Ritzy: You know what, we had one the last time we were in Norwich.
Wed played a gig in Norwich
Rhydian: That was a great gig!
Ritzy: We were travelling home together and we just started suddenly
seeing this meteor shower in the sky! It was at quite an important time
for us you know? Things were just starting to move for us and with every
glimpse of things going well, theres always that sort of worry
or that anxiety wondering where it is that youre up to
as a band, and it just felt like a really poignant, sort of sublime
moment, where we actually felt that wed experienced this
Rhydian: Its nice being on the road and experiencing kind
of off the cuff things
Ritzy & Justin: Yeah!
Rhydian: It was a really clear night wasnt it (looking at
Ritzy and Justin)?
Ritzy: Yeah (smiling)!
Justin: We were driving back it was about 3 in the morning
and Rhydian went, Fucking hell, I just saw a shooting star!
It was amazing! I think it was Ritzy who was driving and then
I went, Oh, Ive just seen one as well! And then Rhydian
went, Fuck, theres another one and theres another
one again! So we ended up stopping the car and just getting out
on the lay-by, and watching for about 45 minutes. We all checked online,
but nothing had been reported, so it was almost like a unique and exclusive
experience just for us!
Ritzy: Yeah, we felt quite privileged and quite special (smiling)!
Justin: It was nice!
Ritzy: We had a group hug, because were all very sentimental,
sensitive motherfuckers (laughing) so we had one of those big,
Come On Joy Formidable! moments.
13.Are there any particular lyrics that youve heard, or any lines
of poetry that youve read over the years, that have always stayed
Rhydian: God (thinking).
Ritzy: I always go back to Elvis Costellos lyrics, because
for me, theyve got such a lot of truth and theres a lot
of thought behind them! Things like, Why wear your heart on your
sleeve, when your remarks are off the cuff? (Riot Act). That sort
of being able to play on good puns and having that slightly schnidey
element sometimes, thats quite hurtful, against something thats
quite beautiful, against something thats very poignant. I just
think that when you can capture that sort of breadth in lyrics, it makes
me go, Ooh
Hes got quite severe elements sometimes,
along with something thats melancholic.
Rhydian: On a slightly different note, Im always fascinated
how quotes contradict themselves constantly, like for every Too
many cooks spoil the broth, theres a A problem shared
is a problem halved. Theres always something going against
it (laughing)! But I suppose its about the moment isnt it?
And I suppose thats what youre asking, if theres something
that has stayed with us. Christ, its really difficult and I havent
got a great memory, but there are so many! Theres a Welsh saying
(speaking in Welsh), which basically means, Determination will
get you whatever you want! And I think thats an ethic for
us certainly, because weve been doing this for a long time now
not in this band, its only been about a year in this band,
but its a really important thing, just to stick at things, do
you know what I mean?
Justin: This isnt really a lyric or quote, but its
similar to what Rhydian was saying. Theres sticking at things
and then theres sticking at things for the right reason
like people who stick in a marriage or stick in a rotten job, when they
know its blatantly wrong. But for me, its sticking at something
that you know internally is the right thing, and that for me, is the
whole point about this band its absolutely the right thing
to do, do you know what I mean? Because there have been many things
in the past that Ive stuck at, knowing inside, that its
not right, so its kind of when you make the leap of knowing that
its the right thing to do! Thats probably not really answering
your question, but
Ritzy: Actually, the more I think about it, I do quite like searing
lyrics, like with The Smiths and lines like, Why do I smile at
people who Id much rather kick in the eye? (Heaven Knows
Im Miserable Now). Yeah! Its obviously not got to be completely
full of that sort of shit, but I quite like people actually having some
Justin: Its nice to have a bit of honesty
Ritzy: Yeah, definitely!
Justin: And not kind of beat around the bush its
quite a brave thing to do. But also, you could be writing about anything
couldnt you, and people can take it to whatever level they want
to. Theyre probably the greatest kind of lyrics for me, where
you can just take it on board yourself and use those lyrics how you
want to, rather than there being a definite meaning.
Rhydian: I recently read Howl by Ginsberg and that was very inspiring!
Oddly enough, it was Bono who was reading out some Bukowski (pausing),
whats the line (thinking)? Its something like, 'Love
is like the fog in the morning, as soon as the sun hits, it burns away.
I thought that was quite poignant, definitely!
14.Do you have any particular favourite sections in songs moments
which you think are magical?
Ritzy: I always think that moment in The Flaming Lips Do
You Realise??, you know where it goes high? Holy shit man (excitedly),
that gets me everytime!
Justin: Theres a Mercury Rev track called The Dark Is Rising
the part that goes (humming a small section of the song) always
give me goose-bumps! And its not the track that you would expect
it to be, which is kind of weird, but when it kicks in, it kind of goes
into this other track and then it builds right back up again. That for
me, is a really special moment (smiling)!
*The Joy Formidables Manager, Joel, had entered the dressing room
with White Lies just as I was asking this question, and decides to contribute
one of his magical moments in a song*
Joel: The key change in Bon Jovis Livin On A Prayer
), its just killer (laughs hysterically)!
Ritzy: Can you erase over that (laughs heartily)! Didnt
you do that in Karaoke once (looking at Rhydian)?
Rhydian: Oh God no (looking really embarrassed)!
Ritzy: Ive never seen anybody go so fucking red in my life!
I thought your fucking balls were going to fall out of your pants!
All: (laugh hysterically)
Justin: Theres a cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart, by a
band called Honey something or the other, but its very nice! Its
totally different, because some covers can be difficult to pull-off,
especially a track like Love Will Tear Us Apart
Ritzy: Yeah, because its such an enormous song!
Justin: Yeah, but that is a real spine-tingling piece of music
and its all done on keyboards. Its very nice!
Rhydian: Classical music can have changes that will suddenly
Justin: Ah, there you go (excitedly) there you go! Clair
De Lune by Debussy, absolutely gets me!
Ritzy: Youre getting us going now (laughing), well
be here all night (smiling)!
15.If you had to go shopping for someone and buy a record, a book
and a film what would they be and why?
Ritzy: For me, a film would be Once Upon A Time In America
just because its one of my most over-watched films ever! A record
would be a copy of The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths and book-wise, it
would probably be the biography of Garcia Lorca, because I just think
that that is one of the best biographies going really, and its got a
lot of his poetry in there. So, Id give a book that has a little
bit of life and a little bit of poetry (laughing).
Justin: My book would be The BFG, because I think its fucking
Justin: I know you all think thats funny
Rhydian: No, I love Roald Dahl man, hes one of my favourite
Jack (White Lies drummer): Im more of a Fantastic
Mr. Fox fan myself!
Justin: The film would be, Planes, Trains & Automobiles
Ritzy: Thats a great film!
Justin: And an album, thats such a hard one isnt it
(long pause + thinking)? Ill have to have a think about that one,
Rhyds can you do yours?
Joel: White Lies debut album!
Justin: Its a classic, theres absolutely no denying
Rhydian: Irreversible is my film
Justin: Thats a tough film man that is dark!
Rhydian: Yeah, its a fucking amazing film! A book would
probably be On The Road by Kerouac and my album would be Led Zeppelin
Justin: I like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, so that would probably
Ritzy: Wow! Thats eclectic isnt it (laughing)?
Joel: I would say Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, for my record!
All: (laugh hysterically)
Jack: Wouldnt we all though? If answering truthfully
wed all go for that!
*Those record, book and film choices in full
Ritzy The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead, Garcia Lorcas Biography
and Once Upon A Time In America.
Justin Fleetwood Mac: Rumours, The BFG by Roald Dahl and Planes,
Trains & Automobiles.
Rhydian Led Zeppelin II, On The Road by Jack Kerouac and Irreversible*
16.Who would be your ideal dinner guests?
Justin: Id like to have dinner with Stephen Fry, but thats
a bit of an obvious answer isnt it? But I think hes brilliant!
Rhydian: Ritzy would surely say Elvis Costello wouldnt you?
Ritzy: I would like some time with Elvis Costello, yeah!
Justin: Freddie Mercury would have been cool as well!
Ritzy: Chrissie Hynde I think me and her would have a good
Joel: Bon Jovi the whole band!
All: (laugh hysterically)
*I say that theres a recurring theme in Joels answers*
Ritzy: There is isnt there (laughing)?
Rhydian: Patti Smith would be alright
and Morrissey, just
purely out of intrigue.
Justin: Morrissey? He would just annoy me, because hed stop
me from eating meat!
Ritzy: Yeah, hed have something to say about your movement
back to meat eating. Justin was once a vegetarian, so wed sit
them two together, definitely (laughs heartily)!
*White Lies say goodbye to everyone*
Justin: Oh, are you guys shooting off now?
Ritzy: Well see you tomorrow!
Rhydian: See you in London last day, big party!
White Lies: Yeah see you in London.
Ritzy: Yeah (smiling)!
17.As the NME sometimes asks, Who Is The Coolest Rock Star
Rhydian: Its got to be Hendrix for me personally
the flamboyance and a black guy in a white mans world going, Fuck
Off you know?
Ritzy: Im definitely going to go with a female choice, so
for me, its got to be Björk, just for her sheer passion and
Justin: Oh no, this is where Im going to ruin it all isnt
it? Freddie Mercury thats my personal choice!
18.Lastly, what are your biggest hopes for The Joy Formidable long-term?
Rhydian: Are hopes are to definitely finish off the vision that
we started with. It doesnt necessarily need to be one body of
work this is just our second single coming out now so
we want to show all spectrums of what were about, but with singles,
obviously you can only do an element of that.
Rhydian: So personally, I would like to show people that its
not just one thing, its a lot of things!
Justin: I would just like to be in a situation where you can entertain
people, but to also be in that privileged position of being wherever
you are whether its in some kind of small venue or in a
massive venue just to be playing your music and people being
really happy to see you! For me, that is what being in a band is all
about as much as youre enjoying it, theyre enjoying
it! I really hope that we can achieve that. It sounds so cheesy when
you say that, but
Rhydian: Being able to sustain yourself as well you know? Because
Im not doing this for a 5-minute wonder Id like us
to keep going for as long as we can. I know that answer relates to money,
but money is really important not necessarily making a load of
money even if its just making enough money to carry on
doing it. Yeah, you need to sustain yourself.
Ritzy: Yeah, similar for me and I just want to make a really good
Rhydian: Yeah, thats the main thing making a record!
Ritzy: And to get out on the road again really.
Justin: Yeah, Ive got to go to work on Thursday its
going to be so weird (laughing), saying, Morning, morning, morning
to everyone again.
Ritzy: Id like to do this (pausing), you know how some bands
do 3 year tours I think, Yeah, Id like to do that!
I say that now, that I could do that, knowing that my outlook might
change, but Id certainly like to give it a go that would
be absolutely brilliant (smiling)!
Joel: I think a tour supporting (long pause)
Justin: Come on, what are you going to say?
All: Bon Jovi (laughing)!
Joel: No (sustained long pause), Poison!
All: (laugh hysterically)
A very special thanks to Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin,
and to The Joy Formidables Manager Joel, for all of their time
This hope is not lost