The Joy Formidable
Live @ Oxford Zodiac
October 6, 2008
Interview & Photography: Steve Bateman

Earlier this year, Ritzy very kindly completed an Exclusive TJF e-mail Q&A for me (which is archived here on the R*E*P*E*A*T site), but where possible, nothing ever actually beats meeting and talking to artists and bands that you love and admire face-to-face. So when I read that the gifted three-piece were going to be supporting White Lies in Oxford – who coincidentally, I was also pencilled in to speak to – I asked Ritzy if both herself and the guys may like to do an update interview at the gig, and she said, “We'd be delighted to and very much look forward to meeting you there!”

Everything was set – I was now due to be on double duty that day, with a pair of interviews and photo shoots! : ) Not only was it fantastic to finally meet Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin, all of whom are super lovely, attentive and courteous – with Ritzy having a bubbly personality and an infectious enthusiasm! But it was my first chance to ever see The Joy Formidable playing live – something which I had been greatly looking forward to from the very first moment that I heard the trio’s luminous, invigorating and remarkable music. And I’m really glad to say, that the experience even managed to surpass my lofty expectations!

As not only do the unsigned group have all the markings of an important act, but they have an equally exceptional, exuberant and entrancing stage presence, creating a sprawling cyclone of blissful, raucous, impassioned, addictive, irrepressible and sonorous dreamy delights. All of which, are laden with a healthy dose (and fondness) of lacerating distortion, feedback and reverb, resulting in one of the best modern day and wide-open guitar-based sounds of anybody! Ritzy also possesses one of the most original and unmistakable voices in rock ‘n’ roll, which has wonderful tone and inflection.

There’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever then, that tonight – as I’m sure they have in every other city where they’ve plugged in and played so far – that The Joy Formidable ingratiated themselves to a lot of people, becoming their favourite new band right there and then! Many of whom, have most likely rhapsodised about them to friends and fellow music fans with laudatory adjectives ever since!

Following White Lies’ similarly absorbing performance (where yet more grand songs melted seamlessly into each other) and once satisfied punters had emptied the Oxford Zodiac. I sat down with Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin at 10.15pm, in a quiet corner of the venue, whilst the house lights were up and road crews were busily dismantling the stage set-up and lighting rigs, in preparation for the London ICA gig the next night. As previously mentioned, this article is intended as a companion piece to my first Q&A with TJF, and hopefully, there’ll be another update in the near future – as long as the group don’t mind putting up with me again of course! ; ) Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin looked so cheerful and content, with their close bond and camaraderie, verifying that they thoroughly love and believe in what they’re doing with all of their heart!

In closing and before our new interview, I would just like to thank Ritzy, Rhydian and Justin for being so cool and kind to me – they gave me the most complimentary and encouraging comments that I’ve ever had about my work, for which I shall remain eternally indebted to them! I would also like to wish them great success and happiness for the future, because not only do The Joy Formidable have that scarce ‘indefinable quality’, but moreover, as a collective who are built to last, they’re already blazing their own trail and are well on their way to earning those much-coveted ‘classic band’ stripes…

Lucy: Your band have been quite quiet for the last few months. Are you looking forward to playing gigs again?
Katie Jane Garside: I think I give very obtuse ans

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, it’s been going really well and this is our penultimate gig (pausing), I’m going to be quite sad to see it end actually – we’ve had a really good tour and we’ve had really good receptive crowds!”
Rhydian: “We’ve been getting on really well with the bands as well!”
Ritzy: “Yeah, which is always an advantage (laughing)!”
Justin: “I’ve got an interesting tale (pausing), well, I think it’s 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 weren’t inflated and some of the lights weren’t working. And then when we got there (laughing), my sampler wasn’t working properly…”
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 couldn’t hear anything!”
Ritzy: “It was really funny (laughing), there was just like a moment on stage of sheer terror…”
Ritzy: “In Justin’s face! Because he gets like a little click track and for a moment, he just looked like, “I don’t know what’s happening?”
Justin: “I looked up and I saw these two staring at me…”
Ritzy: “We were going, “Why isn’t 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)!”
All: (laughing)
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 weren’t 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: “We’ve all had our fair share of van troubles!”
Ritzy: “I should have brought my bloody Nissan shouldn’t I? That would have kept going!”
All: (laughing)

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!”
Ritzy: (laughing)
Justin: “So that you can sleep in the back of the van when you get the odd occasion to. Yeah, that’s what I like, a nice pillow – that’s my Tour Bus Essential!”
Ritzy: “And a water gun to annoy people with, when they’re falling asleep (laughing)!”
Justin: “Ritzy tends to put the video camera on you in the most unexpected moments – you’re sleeping and then all of a sudden you’re woken up with a lens in your face!”
Rhydian: “Yeah, or a jug of water in your face – to see the reaction!”
Ritzy: “Yeah (giggling), I think you’ve got to have a few pranks on tour! I mean I think I’ve actually been quite well-behaved (smiling)!”
Rhydian: “We were going to get Justin almost every night, but we’ve 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…”
Ritzy: (laughing)
Rhydian: “But we’ve been quite kind.”
Ritzy: “Yeah, we’ve been good (laughing)! Because Justin’s been the TM for this tour, because we haven’t got a crew at the moment – which is quite nice as well, because it’s all in-house!”
Justin: “I’ve had to be like the conservative one, making sure everyone’s up on time and ready to go!”
Ritzy: “Yeah, he’s been bossy (smiling)!”
Justin: “Rhydian’s the worst person to get out of bed.”
Rhydian: “Don’t believe the hype!”
Justin: “Ritzy’s up, but Rhydian will lie in bed probably until the last minute…”
Rhydian: “Yeah, 1 minute getting up and I’m out before you guys, because you take like an hour to have a shower!”
Ritzy: “But you stink of shit normally don’t you (laughing)?”
Rhydian: (laughing)
Justin: “Rhydian will wake you up at 5 in the morning just to have a fag!”
All: (laughing)

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 that’s 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 we’ve met per night and the reception that we’ve had – like the amount of people who want to come and talk to us after we’ve 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 you’re on early and there are loads of massive bands playing, but with hardcore music fans milling around, they’re the kind of ones who you want to latch onto you. So it’s 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, we’ve met a few people on this tour who have actually come to see us – even though we’re the support band – and they know more about our band than I do probably (laughing)! They’ll know exactly which sessions you’ve done and where you’ve played and stuff, and that’s quite touching!”
Justin: “It is kind of strange yeah, but it’s a nice thing (smiling)!”
Rhydian: “Also, because we’ve had the free download tracks ( 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 we’re happy (big smile)!”

4.What would you say the divide between talent and luck is in The Music Industry?
Justin: “That’s a really good question!”
Rhydian: “Yeah, but it’s 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 don’t know? Maybe I’m a little bit naïve in thinking that there’s a lot in drive, in talent and in determination. I’d 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 isn’t contrived (pausing), I mean obviously I think there is a lot of contrivance in the industry and that’s fair enough, and there’s a reason why people do that. But, I think with something like our band, it sounds a bit cheesy when you say it, but it’s kind of just part of where we are – it’s a gelling thing really, and everything else just comes from that!”
Rhydian: “Yeah, I think it’s determination, it’s 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, there’s no doubt – I’d say about 80% luck…”
Ritzy: “We’ve 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 record?
Rhydian: “Well, Rallye got in touch and Japanese labels are really enthusiastic and they’re always on the scout, so I suppose they just heard us over MySpace and said, “We’ve got to do this!”
Ritzy: “Yeah, and I think the thing that is so great about the Japanese album, is that because we’re going to record it and produce it ourselves (pausing), we don’t want to sound like complete control freaks (laughing). But we’ve got a nice amount of control on the tracklisting and the artwork and the sort of vibe of the album, and we’ve got a few collaborations on there, because Kyte and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have done remixes for us. So it feels like it’s really showing where we’re up to at this moment in time you know? There’s a lot of freedom with it, so we’re looking forward to it!”

6.Will there also be a new TJF single?

Ritzy: “Yes, Cradle is going to be our next single and we’re also hoping to film a video for it in the next few weeks.”

7.How are things going with your remix label ( – 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: “We’re quite happy at the moment, because we’re actually working on a Kyte remix – we’ve kind of done a swap – and that’s something that I’ve wanted to do for a while, because I’ve been following them and I really, really like their tracks! I think we’ve got quite a new song of theirs as well, so it feels a little bit special (smiling)!”
Rhydian: “It’s a matter of time as well you know? We’ve been so busy recently (pausing), we’ve certainly had a lot of people doing remixes of our music, because we’ve made our files available for download, so that’s been great! But in terms of us doing remixes for other bands, it’s 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), we’ve possibly got a little American release coming out as well, so we’ve just got so much going on, that it’s 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 wouldn’t want to touch them because they’re so good (laughing)! I’d love to do a Flaming Lips remix…”
Ritzy: “Ooh yeah (excitedly)!”
Rhydian: “But you know, that’s pie in the sky isn’t it?”
Ritzy: “That’s it.”
Rhydian: “Do You Realise?? That would be a great one!”
Ritzy: “Yeah! I’d 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 who’s actually done one of our remixes, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, he’s doing something quite different and fresh.”
Ritzy: “Oh yeah, he’s very good!”
Rhydian: “Yeah, and I think it’s quite nice getting that angle, because there are a lot of straight dance remixes, that maybe aren’t very creative with it you know?”
Justin: “Yeah, it’s 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 it’s obviously you, but it’s 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, I’d 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!”
Ritzy: “Yeah.”
Justin: “I like Dinosaur Jr. – I always thought that was a cool name!”
Rhydian: “I’ve always quite liked Howling Bells actually, that’s a good name! Ooh, that’s 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 – they’ve 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 it be?

All: “Ooh…”
Rhydian: “Mine would have to be so I could see Hendrix, because I grew up being a massive fan of his, so I would’ve loved to have seen him live! That’s 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) – you’d get them on the same bill!”
Justin: “I don’t 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 wasn’t on Buddy Holly’s 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?
All: “Ooh…”
Ritzy: “Your questions are shit hot man!”
Justin: “I’d like to write about Outer Space, that’s 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 doesn’t actually exist – it’s just a made up thing! So that kind of got me thinking, but I’m 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 society’s a pretty fucked up thing at the moment. It sounds a bit serious, but maybe a debate between love and unconditional love and people’s viewpoints on that…”
Justin: “That’s a much better answer than mine that is (laughing)!”
Rhydian: “It’s a bit serious, but…”
Ritzy: “I think I’d just go on a rant about Sarah Palin at the moment – that bitch is fucking me off!”
Rhydian: “I agree with that one!”
Justin: (laughing)
Ritzy: “We’re in such an environmentally thoughtful…”
*At this point, the Oxford Zodiac’s 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 Formidable’s shared dressing room with White Lies and Post War Years, which is currently empty*
Ritzy: “Where were we? Oh yeah, Sarah Palin. We’re in such an environmentally thoughtful stage socially, where we’re bringing up a lot of important issues and you’ve got somebody like Sarah Palin, who’s potentially going to be the next President of the United States…”
Justin: “She’s running for Vice President.”
Ritzy: “Yeah, but John McCain’s 72 – he could fucking conk at anytime couldn’t he? Things like that are quite worrying.”
Justin: “I’m just amazed at how she’s suddenly come to everyone’s attention so very quickly. She must have been around for years, that’s the thing, but suddenly she’s there!”
Ritzy: “Yeah, she’s been lurking under some nasty stone I think (laughing)!”

11.What is your biggest Love and your biggest Hate?
Rhydian: “Lack of a sense of humour is a real hate of mine – I don’t like people who take things too seriously. You’ve got to have a bit of substance, but also a flip-side you know?”
Ritzy: “I hate Traffic Wardens!”
Rhydian & Justin: (laughing)
Ritzy: “We’ve been in London for the last 8 months and I think we’ve had about 10 parking tickets – we’ve clocked up about £600’s worth! So they can all go and fuck themselves (laughing)!”
Rhydian: “Food and different cultures are a big love of mine. I just think it’s amazing that you (pausing), I don’t 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 they’re above you, or even if they feel that they’re below you. And I love roller coasters!”
Ritzy: “Roller coasters (surprised)?”
Rhydian: “You have a fear of heights as well don’t you?”
Justin: “No, I don’t have a fear of heights, I’m claustrophobic.”
Ritzy: “My biggest love has got to be music – I’m just obsessed with it!”

12.Have you ever had a life-changing moment?

Justin: “Oh, that’s a good question!”
Ritzy: “You know what, we had one the last time we were in Norwich. We’d 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, there’s always that sort of worry or that anxiety – wondering where it is that you’re up to as a band, and it just felt like a really poignant, sort of sublime moment, where we actually felt that we’d experienced this…”
Rhydian: “It’s nice being on the road and experiencing kind of off the cuff things…”
Ritzy & Justin: “Yeah!”
Rhydian: “It was a really clear night wasn’t 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, I’ve just seen one as well!” And then Rhydian went, “Fuck, there’s another one – and there’s 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 we’re all very sentimental, sensitive motherfuckers (laughing) – so we had one of those big, “Come On Joy Formidable!” moments.”
All: (laughing)

13.Are there any particular lyrics that you’ve heard, or any lines of poetry that you’ve read over the years, that have always stayed with you?

Rhydian: “God (thinking).”
Ritzy: “I always go back to Elvis Costello’s lyrics, because for me, they’ve got such a lot of truth and there’s 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, that’s quite hurtful, against something that’s quite beautiful, against something that’s very poignant. I just think that when you can capture that sort of breadth in lyrics, it makes me go, “Ooh…” He’s got quite severe elements sometimes, along with something that’s melancholic.”
Rhydian: “On a slightly different note, I’m always fascinated how quotes contradict themselves constantly, like for every “Too many cooks spoil the broth,” there’s a “A problem shared is a problem halved.” There’s always something going against it (laughing)! But I suppose it’s about the moment isn’t it? And I suppose that’s what you’re asking, if there’s something that has stayed with us. Christ, it’s really difficult and I haven’t got a great memory, but there are so many! There’s a Welsh saying (speaking in Welsh), which basically means, “Determination will get you whatever you want!” And I think that’s an ethic for us certainly, because we’ve been doing this for a long time now – not in this band, it’s only been about a year in this band, but it’s a really important thing, just to stick at things, do you know what I mean?”
Justin: “This isn’t really a lyric or quote, but it’s similar to what Rhydian was saying. There’s sticking at things and then there’s sticking at things for the right reason – like people who stick in a marriage or stick in a rotten job, when they know it’s blatantly wrong. But for me, it’s sticking at something that you know internally is the right thing, and that for me, is the whole point about this band – it’s absolutely the right thing to do, do you know what I mean? Because there have been many things in the past that I’ve stuck at, knowing inside, that it’s not right, so it’s kind of when you make the leap of knowing that it’s the right thing to do! That’s 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 I’d much rather kick in the eye?” (Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now). Yeah! It’s obviously not got to be completely full of that sort of shit, but I quite like people actually having some balls!”
Justin: “It’s nice to have a bit of honesty…”
Ritzy: “Yeah, definitely!”
Justin: “And not kind of beat around the bush – it’s quite a brave thing to do. But also, you could be writing about anything couldn’t you, and people can take it to whatever level they want to. They’re 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.”
Ritzy: “Yeah.”
Rhydian: “I recently read Howl by Ginsberg and that was very inspiring! Oddly enough, it was Bono who was reading out some Bukowski (pausing), what’s the line (thinking)? It’s 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: “There’s 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 it’s 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 Formidable’s 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 Jovi’s Livin’ On A Prayer (singing, “Ohhhhh…”), it’s just killer (laughs hysterically)!”
Ritzy: “Can you erase over that (laughs heartily)! Didn’t you do that in Karaoke once (looking at Rhydian)?”
Rhydian: “Oh God no (looking really embarrassed)!”
Ritzy: “I’ve 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: “There’s a cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart, by a band called Honey something or the other, but it’s very nice! It’s totally different, because some covers can be difficult to pull-off, especially a track like Love Will Tear Us Apart…”
Ritzy: “Yeah, because it’s such an enormous song!”
Justin: “Yeah, but that is a real spine-tingling piece of music and it’s all done on keyboards. It’s 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: “You’re getting us going now (laughing), we’ll 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 it’s 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, I’d 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 it’s fucking awesome!”
Ritzy: (laughing)
Justin: “I know you all think that’s funny…”
Rhydian: “No, I love Roald Dahl man, he’s one of my favourite authors!”
Jack (White Lies’ drummer): “I’m more of a Fantastic Mr. Fox fan myself!”
All: (laughing)
Justin: “The film would be, Planes, Trains & Automobiles…”
Ritzy: “That’s a great film!”
Justin: “And an album, that’s such a hard one isn’t it (long pause + thinking)? I’ll have to have a think about that one, Rhyds can you do yours?”
Joel: “White Lies’ debut album!”
All: (laughing)
Justin: “It’s a classic, there’s absolutely no denying that!”
Rhydian: “Irreversible is my film…”
Justin: “That’s a tough film man – that is dark!”
Rhydian: “Yeah, it’s a fucking amazing film! A book would probably be On The Road by Kerouac and my album would be Led Zeppelin II.”
Justin: “I like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac, so that would probably be mine!”
Ritzy: “Wow! That’s eclectic isn’t it (laughing)?”
Joel: “I would say Slippery When Wet by Bon Jovi, for my record!”
All: (laugh hysterically)
Jack: “Wouldn’t we all though? If answering truthfully – we’d all go for that!”
Ritzy: (laughing)
*Those record, book and film choices in full…
Ritzy – The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead, Garcia Lorca’s 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?

Ritzy: “Ooh…”
Justin: “I’d like to have dinner with Stephen Fry, but that’s a bit of an obvious answer isn’t it? But I think he’s brilliant!”
Rhydian: “Ritzy would surely say Elvis Costello wouldn’t 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 chat (smiling)!”
Joel: “Bon Jovi – the whole band!”
All: (laugh hysterically)
*I say that there’s a recurring theme in Joel’s answers*
Ritzy: “There is isn’t there (laughing)?”
Rhydian: “Patti Smith would be alright… and Morrissey, just purely out of intrigue.”
Justin: “Morrissey? He would just annoy me, because he’d stop me from eating meat!”
Ritzy: “Yeah, he’d have something to say about your movement back to meat eating. Justin was once a vegetarian, so we’d sit them two together, definitely (laughs heartily)!”
*White Lies say goodbye to everyone*
Justin: “Oh, are you guys shooting off now?”
Ritzy: “We’ll 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 Of All-Time’?
Ritzy: “Ooh…”
Rhydian: “It’s got to be Hendrix for me personally – the flamboyance and a black guy in a white man’s world going, “Fuck Off” you know?”
Ritzy: “I’m definitely going to go with a female choice, so for me, it’s got to be Björk, just for her sheer passion and soul!”
Justin: “Oh no, this is where I’m going to ruin it all isn’t it? Freddie Mercury – that’s my personal choice!”
Ritzy: “Brilliant!”

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 doesn’t 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 we’re about, but with singles, obviously you can only do an element of that.”
Ritzy: “Yeah.”
Rhydian: “So personally, I would like to show people that it’s not just one thing, it’s 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 it’s 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 you’re enjoying it, they’re 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 I’m not doing this for a 5-minute wonder – I’d 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 it’s 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 record…”
Rhydian: “Yeah, that’s the main thing – making a record!”
Ritzy: “And to get out on the road again really.”
Justin: “Yeah, I’ve got to go to work on Thursday – it’s going to be so weird (laughing), saying, “Morning, morning, morning…” to everyone again.”
Ritzy: “I’d like to do this (pausing), you know how some band’s do 3 year tours – I think, “Yeah, I’d like to do that!” I say that now, that I could do that, knowing that my outlook might change, but I’d 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 Formidable’s Manager Joel, for all of their time and help.

“This hope is not lost”

wers to questions...It's never about looking forward to it. Actually maybe I should change the
script, maybe we are looeir musicm the 3rd album?