SXSW Band Preview: The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable

Embrace the chaos. It somehow goes well with our attitude.

The Joy Formidable

A haunting new band that's taking the the U.S. and U.K. by storm, The Joy Formidable is a Welsh alternative rock band formed in 2007 – and one of the bands we're featuring this year at our rocking SXSW party. The band features Ritzy Bryan (lead vocals,guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion) and their newest album Wolf's Law is just out to rave reviews. You may have seen them on Letterman or Fallon, or heard them on NPR – and now you can catch them live at our party.

We caught up with Rhydian (above left) this week in anticipation of band's appearance at SXSW:

The Joy Formidable is such a great band name – happy, dark, fun, edgy. Where's it from? When we were writing our first batch of songs in North Wales the name just struck a chord with us. I think you have to go off gut instinct with band names. For us the name somehow encapsulates the fight for resolution we are always looking for. The tug between hope and hopelessness. But it's not overthought. More than anything we love language and those words feel 'right' to us, even if it is surreal. 

How would you describe your sound in 140 characters or less? Intricate. Bold. Honest. Real. Passionate. Aggressive. 

You're playing at SXSW this year. What do you love about playing in Austin and at SXSW? We love Austin as a city. It's full of life and spirit and you really sense that there are genuine music fans there with wide ranging tastes. Our gigs there have always been great. SXSW is a beast unto itself! Full of commotion and we love it. Embrace the chaos. It somehow goes well with our attitude. Go with it and fucking feel things more than anything. Don't sit and ponder.

You've got a new album (congrats). Any fun behind-the-scenes details you can share about it? Me and Ritzy wrote parts for 2 or 3 drumkits at times on this album, so it was funny watching Matt replicating these in the studio. It was like watching an octopus drum! He smelt like one too! We should put the videos up on YouTube under the tag 'how to give your drummer a heart attack'! 

What songs are you most excited about and why? That's a difficult question. Each song means something so it's like asking who is your favourite child. For today I'll say I'm looking forward to sharing 'The Leopard and the Lung' live. I can tell it's really going to soar and that's always exciting.

What are your most popular live songs? It really does vary with people, and we encourage that. We want true fans that listen to everything. I can't stand this culture of going to gigs for one song. You have to invest in music, and part of that is not making everything easy for the listener. Some people want to hear the singles, some people want to hear the album tracks ... some want to hear everything! Yay to EVERYTHING!

What new bands are you loving right now? Baroness, We Are Animal, Ty Segall Band, Foals, The Invisible amongst many others.

What's something your fans would be surprised to learn about you? Matt is an inventor, I was a champion gymnast and Ritzy is a filthy cheat on all games ... she's very competitive!

What else should we expect from The Joy Formidable in 2013? We'll be sharing songs in lots of interesting ways. We plan to record a Welsh language EP and would love to score a film. Some dance projects in the pipeline too. It's going to be a busy year, but first and foremost we want to tour as many places as we can with our new record, Wolf's Law.

The Joy Formidable Wolf's Law
Get more including sample tracks and video on the band's site and follow them on Twitter @joyformidable. And don't forget to see them live at the Say Media party at SXSW.

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