Only a few rock bands have a decent second coming, and there is certainly only a handful that arrives with the velocity of a Welsh bullet train to the face like The Joy Formidable! Muso’s Guide managed to pin down singer, Ritzy Bryan and bassist, Rhydian Dafydd to talk about the new album, strong personalities and Adrian Chiles before the band headed off to New York to mark the start of another US tour.
It’s been quite a couple of years for The Joy Formidable, receiving critical acclaim for their first album, The Big Roar and relentlessly touring and writing new material. Sat opposite them in a typical greasy spoon in South London, it was so refreshing at how totally grounded they still are despite so much success.
Muso’s: You seemed to make a triumphant return to London at your Kings College show, how was it for you guys?
Ritzy: It was really great to be back. It was just so special, so nice seeing so many friendly faces in one room. We’ve enjoyed playing on the Muse tour in terms of a new crowd but I don’t think anything really beats your own shows.
Muso’s: You’ve had an amazing 2 years as a band, is there a stand out moment that makes you forget those moments when you’re missing home?
Ritzy: I think for me when we were recording the album in Portland, Maine. That felt like a really important moment in terms of your surroundings and losing yourself, just the memory of that three-week period. I think it was because we’d been on the road touring relentlessly for 12 months, but happily so. Then all of a sudden we came to this place in Maine, very isolated, very wild, nine foot of snow and totally locked away. To me, even though there was no interaction with the outside world, in terms of the creativity and feeling, in some way, we were suddenly at piece with things. Also because we were so hungry to get back into the studio and those three weeks were just so fruitful.
Muso’s: Lets talk about the second album. How was it recording for you, did you do anything noticeably different than when you did the first?
Rhydian: I think we just went back to basics; we grabbed just one guitar or one piano. Made it all about one accompaniment and a voice and got down to the roots of what the song was about. We wanted everything to have a function. We couldn’t keep up with the amount of songs that were coming out.
Muso’s: Were you worried about that? That there might be some sought of tough second album syndrome about it?
Ritzy: No quite the opposite. We’d actually been writing for the last 12 months on the road. So we were hungrier and excited to realise those ideas.
Muso’s: You guys seem really close on stage, almost affectionate – is that something you think is important?
Rhydian: I think being a tight unit is absolutely crucial.
Ritzy: We do challenge each other though, it’s not like being in the f**king Walton’s in this comfortable bubble of like, ‘oh you play that’ and ‘I’ll play that’ and ‘that’s nice’. There’s a really passionate push and pull but respect through it all.
Muso’s: You must have a bunch of famous fans now, any unusual ones?
Rhydian: Adrian Chiles has been to quite few of our shows.
Musos’s: Quite a few?
Rhydian: We like the variation, the untraditional fan; it’s good you know.
Ritzy: Absolutely, it’s better than Morrissey showing up at your show!
Muso’s: Talking of middle aged men, there were quite a few at your show last week. Were they all there to see you Ritzy? Because you’ve become a bit of a sex symbol haven’t you?
Ritzy: Oh s**t – what to the aging male population? I find it fascinating. I think when we look out every show is so different; it feels like every demographic is there.
Muso’s: We can’t help thinking at Muso’s that Matt (drummer) has a bit of a lookalike?
Ritzy: You talking about, ‘old Russell’ (Brand)? He’s had a couple of experiences of people shouting at him from across the street, but not good things, stuff like your f**king lass’s film was a load of s**t! He loves it, just waves to them.
Muso’s: Thanks for taking the time out to talk to us today guys and good luck with the new album.
Ritzy & Rhydian: Cheers!
The band’s second album, Wolf’s Law is set for release on January 21st 2013.