1. Growing up, was there a song that changed your life or that stirred
something deep inside of you?
"My parents had boxes and boxes of 7" singles that they'd
collected from their teens, so as a child, I rummaged through these
daily - in order - listening to each one (the joys of being an only
child I guess). There was hundreds, but I remember having a very definitive
moment listening to The Supremes and You Can't Hurry Love. Lots of dancing
round the front room to that one. It's a superb track."
2. For music fans who may not yet know much about you, could you
give us some background information on your musical pasts / how you
"Rhydian and I have known each other since our school days in North
Wales, but became bandmates several years later after separate adventures
in Manchester and the USA. We started writing together in the Spring
of 2007 and met Justin through a mutual friend a few months later."
3. How would you say your personalities and musical ideas blend together,
and what's the story behind your name The Joy Formidable?
"I think it's a unique combination, especially with Rhydian and
I being a couple, and all of us having quite eclectic musical tastes
and ideas. It's not always the easiest of blends, but its certainly
exciting if sometimes a bit fraught. I guess there's the story behind
4. Do you each have a secret talent?
"Nothing too secretive! I like racing cars, Justin can see dead
people and Rhyds can do the 100m on his hands."
5. Damon Albarn recently said that he thinks "School children should
be forced to learn to read music." Do you agree with this, or do
you think creativity should be more about heart over head / passion
"I think the more you learn early on, the better, so I would definitely
encourage reading music in school. It's just about balancing the technical
side of things with what makes a truly great musician, which is ultimately
good ears and soul."
6. To give us an idea of some of your musical influences and tastes,
which songs / artists would you play, if you were to DJ at a special
Joy Formidable Club Night?
"We've just started our own Club Nights - Joie de Vivre - in Kilburn,
London, so we've had a taste of this. This month featured Maps (So Low,
So High), Kings Of Leon (Charmer) and Cocknbullkid (I'm Not Sorry)."
7. Ideally, what would you most like your contribution to music to
"A kind of timelessness would be ideal."
8. If you had to choose between having a #1 Album or Single, headlining
The Main Stage at a major Festival, or winning an important Award, which
one would you go for?
"I don't think anything could beat headlining a Festival, getting
up close to the people that have supported you."
9. Has there ever been an artist / band that you've religiously collected
everything on, from records to memorabilia to press-cuttings to TV clips
"Radiohead is the closest I've come to being a superfan. I do have
almost every early single, all their early footage and a signed drumskin.
I had a big crush on Thom Yorke."
10. And has there ever been an artist / band that for years you didn't
'get' - but then all of a sudden, their music just clicked with you?
"Yeah. Patti Smith."
11. If you could ask a musical hero anything, who would it be and what
would you ask them?
"I have so many things I'd like to ask Elvis Costello."
12. Every generation seems to pit bands head-to-head, or compares and
contrasts musical contemporaries. But from some of the most famous 'battles',
who would be your personal winners for each of these - The Beatles vs.
The Rolling Stones, The Clash vs. Sex Pistols and Blur vs. Oasis?
"The Beatles, The Clash and probably Oasis - at their peak."
13. Is there a particular musical movement that you hold dear to your
"Britpop. We had one Indie Club in a 20 mile radius in North Wales
- it was my retreat."
14. Universal Music has just launched a website called Lost Tunes
(www.losttunes.com), which features hundreds of rarities and hard-to-find
tracks. But which relatively unknown song by an artist / band that you
like, do you think more people should hear?
"Back to Britpop; I have very fond memories of Ether, who had a
song called If You Really Want To Know."
15. Do you think it's a shame how the traditional single is dying
out / how The Charts have changed so much?
"I'm all for embracing change."
16. On a similar note, in the hope of reviving CD album sales, Universal
Music are now releasing Deluxe Edition CDs at the same time as regular
CDs. Do you think this is likely to help, and what is your preferred
format - Vinyl, CD or MP3?
"I still prefer a tangible product, so Vinyl or CD for me. Listeners
are more song-focused these days, so albums might struggle; it's all
about keeping it interesting."
17. Siding with tangible records, I know that The Joy Formidable
have designed the sleeve for Austere - is art something that you've
always been interested in and can you tell us more about the concept
behind the cover?
"That's right, Rhydian is our official band artist. The pictures
are beautiful, very dreamy and innocent - they capture that sense of
escape and otherworldliness."
18. Is it correct that the unofficial video for Austere was banned,
and is there a controversial moment in the history of music that stands
out in your mind, e.g. Sex Pistols swearing on Bill Grundy's 'Today'
"Yeah, Austere was banned on YouTube for being too pornographic:
puritans. A controversial moment that stands out in my mind, is Jarvis
Cocker protesting against Michael Jackson's performance at The Brit
Awards. One of the funniest television moments - just sheer genius."
19. I read that you "put a lot of emphasis on lyrics and that
the melody comes second." But when writing your lyrics, what is
the ratio between inside / outside influences on your words, i.e. personal
20. Are you true to your Star Sign?
"Neat: No - Perfectionist: Yes - Bossy: Yes - Plans Ahead: Yes
- 3 out of 4."
21. Do you have any hobbies outside of the band?
22. When playing live, what type of experience do you hope that you
give to your audience?
"Some adrenaline, some thought and some hope."
23. What have been some of your favourite gigs that you've attended
as a fan over the years, and do you have a favourite venue?
"Björk at Manchester Apollo, she was breathtaking. I cried
the entire show! I love Liverpool Royal Court, the balcony's so strangely
vertical - it's very trippy. Brilliant place."
24. By using The Smiths' How Soon Is Now as an example, Johnny Marr
once talked of "the power" a recorded song has, in that the
individual components can never be recreated in exactly the same way
ever again - by anybody! Is it an exciting prospect for you all, knowing
that with each song you record, you could well be committing something
magical to tape?
"It's particularly exciting because we record everything ourselves.
We know every tiny detail, so it's very personal."
25. Lastly, chips or cream buns?
"Chips - but only with vinegar. Otherwise, cream buns."
A very special thanks to Ritzy + The Joy Formidable,
for all of their time and help.
"The greatest light is the greatest shade"