For Levi's Craft Of Music
Levi's Craft Of Music: The Joy Formidable Interview

The Joy Formidable recently performed at the inaugural Levi's Craft Of Music session at the brand's Regent Street shop, alongside soul songbird Rox.

We spoke to the Welsh trio's frontwoman Ritzy about their new album, 'The Big Roar', the demands of touring and performing acoustically.

It’s been four years since you formed The Joy Formidable, but the album’s only just come out. What took so long?
Ritzy: I don’t know! [laughs] Nothing’s been particularly planned. We’ve always written, but we’ve not really ever had any rules in place. We’ve not released anything traditionally. We did an EP, a live album, a whole bunch of songs in between...I think it all boils down to how well the EP was received, because we had so many invites to tour and we like being on the road. It’s a good opportunity to get to places we’ve never been before. So writing the album became something we were doing simultaneously with 18 months of solid, solid touring.

Obviously tonight you were playing acoustically, but the songs aren’t normally like that. Do they begin life like that though? What’s your process?
Ritzy: Some of them start like that. Some start just as lyrics, some as drumbeats, guitar riffs. We swap up the way that we write all the time. Some of it comes from Rhydian first, some of it comes from me first and some of it comes literally from just pissing about in rehearsal. We’ve got lots of different ways of approaching it, but it’s always been very natural. I think it’s good not to become too methodical. We don’t like to put things in boxes, even between touring and recording. We record on the road. It keeps things fresh.

Do you ever get tired of playing the same songs every night?
Ritzy: It’s funny, because we have so many older tracks, but maybe it’s because they’ve metamorphed it doesn’t stagnate. They change tour by tour, and almost gig by gig. We have quite a free approach to playing live. We rehearse enough to be intuitive with each other, but beyond that I think we quite like the danger of not knowing exactly where things are starting and stopping and going. It keeps us on our toes, both on stage and when it comes to writing.

What are the biggest differences creatively between this band and your previous one, 'Sidecar Kisses'?
Ritzy: Well, in 'Sidecar Kisses', I’d joined as a guitarist. It was already an entity – the band had formed and I joined them as a guitarist. I was always creatively fulfilled by writing by myself, but I didn’t really have a voice in that band except as a guitarist. I don’t feel complete if I’m not writing music. I don’t always have to be sharing it, but I have to write. But the dynamic now, with Rhydian and Matt, is way beyond anything I thought we’d have in terms of chemistry. It feel s really good.

Words by Mischa Pearlman
Photo by Tom Bunning

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