Californian punks Joyce Manor, having just released their third studio album, continue to showcase a strong work ethic. With Never Hungover Again’ marking itself as the band’s Epitaph debut, Joyce Manor have moved from mere industry buzz to a band with a strong following. We chat with vocalist/guitarist Barry Johnson about it all.
Not long now until the new album drops. Epitaph debut. How is everything at the moment?
Good, but surreal. We spent so much time on this record just getting it ready to go out into the world. It really feels like our kid moving out. [It’s] scary and exciting.
We haven’t been fortunate to speak with you since last time you were in Australia, How were the Poison City Weekender shows last year?
All of the shows were great, but the show in Melbourne was our favourite show we have ever played anywhere.
Three albums in now with ‘Never Hungover Again’. Does expectation, internally, get greater with each new release?
Yes. We wrote a lot of songs for this record and a lot of them weren’t as good as older ones or just had too similar of a thing going on. We wanted everything on this new record to sound fresh while still retaining the qualities that make Joyce Manor what it is.
A label like Epitaph seems to understand their bands and the genre itself quite intimately and quite astutely. What was the discussion like when signing? Were they adamant about letting you choose your own musical approach and direction?
Absolutely. There was zero pressure put on us to do anything a certain way. Brett had some good ideas and we used quite a few of them, but he was totally fine with us not using his ideas too.
I know the label is in charge of marketing the album, but when you have press releases stating, “It’s the rare sort of album that redefines a young band,” how do you feel? It’s very complimentary, but like talking about expectation above, does it add pressure?
I feel like everything said about our band adds pressure and I think that’s good. A little pressure builds character.
On the topic of marketing, how important do you think social media is for bands today?
I think it’s kind of a pointless thing to feel one way or the other about it. Social Media is just a fact that bands have to deal with now. Do I wish people still taped flyers to light posts and labels still put out compilation cd’s? Yes, because I think the tactile element of that is romantic and more meaningful. Do I lose any sleep over it? Nah.
Heavier music doesn’t enjoy the mainstream benefits others genres do, but a positive by-product is bands that play this type of music enjoy a far stronger relationship with their fans and vice versa. What are your impressions?
We have a lot of different types of fans. You’ve got teenage girls, dads that like husker du, and everything in between. I feel lucky to have fans period but especially lucky to have such enthusiastic fans.
Some easy ones to finish off with:
Favourite album(s) of 2014 so far?
Cheap Girls – Famous Graves
Croissants – We’re in the Basement
Album(s) you are most looking forward to in the remainder of 2014?
Jeff Rosenstock – We Cool? I’ve heard a few songs and it’s incredible!
The Sidekicks new record and the Spirit of the Beehive record are going to rule too.
Favourite song to blare in the tour van?
Ignite’s version of Sunday Bloody Sunday.
Song you’ll die a happy man if you never hear again?
We Are Family. Don’t know who it’s by but I hate that song so much.
‘Never Hungover Again’ is out now via Epitaph Records. Read our review here.