Ritzy Bryan of The Joy Formidable interview

Hailing from North Wales, The Joy Formidable has won the hearts of rock music lovers with their album, The Big Roar. Thankfully, they will be playing at New York City’s Terminal 5 on March 28th.  I spoke with lead vocalist/guitarist, Ritzy Bryan.

I love the band’s name. How did you choose it?

It appeared in the first few weeks of writing back in North Wales; it could have been a lyric or a song title, but it felt like it captured more of the spirit in general.

You have some remarkable characteristics in your music (thick and textured melodies, riffs, pop hooks etc) that make you guys truly unique. Did you have any particular influences that helped inspire your sound?

We’ve always written in a bubble, we’ve never analyzed or referenced it to anything else. We’re passionate about music and we’re very open to all styles and genres, there’s only good or bad music ultimately. We’re inspired by artists that are themselves, that are dynamic, that have something to say, and that show a bit of heart.

I know you guys put a lot of emphasis on being a really good live band , over the past couple years, how do you think playing live has changed with the evolution of technology? Is it ever frustrating when people are fidgeting with their iPhones taking pictures?

Technology has to be embraced, it’s exciting and it has the ability to enhance the live shows if you strike a decent balance. We welcome what technology brings to our stage, but it can’t take the place of the soul and the sweat and the spontaneity.

How has coming from Wales made an impact?  Do the music trends differ in Wales compared to the U.S.?

We’re from North Wales. We had rural upbringings and music was a retreat. It’s a quiet area… There’s a lot of talent, but not a huge legacy of bands who have broken through to wider audiences. We didn’t have a lot of references, nothing to compare ourselves to and I think that brings a greater sense of creative freedom and a tenacity to shake things up. We don’t really pay attention to music trends on either side of the pond.

You have several sold out shows throughout the U.S. and plenty of major music festivals under your belt, all within a couple of years.. Did you initially anticipate any of these exciting things when you first started the band?

We didn’t give it any thought to be honest.  From the start, we were driven by the chemistry of the songwriting and the connection we had as a band. None of us were having an easy time.  This band was and still is our sanctuary and our distraction.

What are you listening to these days?

Not very much, we’ve been finishing our second album and that usually silences our listening habits.

What are your future plans?

We’ll be releasing our second record this year, that bodes to keep us busy.

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