Hamilton-based 80s post-punk revivalists Joys debut with television-clad heads on their first ever single.
Evan Thomas Alfano, Dermott Reilly Shepherd, and Simon Hatziioannou make up Hamilton-based trio Joys- a burgeoning 80s post-punk revival/new wave band breaking onto the local scene with moody debut single "Gloria". The vocalist/guitarist, synth player, and drummer take influence from classic British brit-pop and original indie-rocker sounds, evoking true 80s nostalgia.
"We are trying to recreate a pivotal time for alternative music, where music was taken to exciting new levels and musicians were free to experiment with new sounds, instruments, songwriting, and production techniques to create music that no one had really heard before," said Shepherd. "Our influences are bands from that period like The Cure, The Chameleons, New Order, The Smiths, Tears for Fears, and a multitude of others."
Joys' debut track grapples with feelings of love, desperation, and fear.
"At its core, "Gloria" is about doing everything in your power to keep the people, places, and things that you love close to you," said Alfano. "It’s about those situations that make you feel a sense of belonging, and those relationships that make you feel at home. It’s about not wanting to mess it all up, so you tread lightly because you’re worried that at any moment, it could all slip away."
The single was a collaborative effort, and originally sparked after the bandmates heard a drum pattern that Hatziioannou put together.
"Evan first showed us the demo for "Gloria", which was presented with the working title “drumloop(idea3)”, at the end of April, 2019," said Shepherd. "The song started from a drum pattern that Simon played for a couple seconds in the beginning of a demo for another song that we were working on at the time."
After listening to that original demo, the band worked on the single and delivered it to Hamilton's Catherine North Studios in August of 2019.
“When I heard that drum pattern, I couldn’t get it out of my head," said Alfano. "I knew I needed to build a song around it.”
The three-piece recorded and produced their tune at the studio with the help of Catherine North's Will Crann and David Worthen.
"We had a couple pre-production meetings where we broke down the song and pushed each part to make them as good as they could be," said Hatziioannou. "The recording process was unlike any that we had done in the past with our previous bands. One of the biggest takeaways from the sessions that was really inspiring was the willingness to explore ideas, and experiment with sounds and instrumentation."
Vocalist Alfano doubles as a cinematographer and director, which simplified the videography process for the band.
“I just had this really vivid, striking visual that kept playing in my head of a fuzzy vintage television in a pitch black room," said Alfano. "As we back away, a spotlight reveals that the TV is actually the head of a person."
Joys admit to borrowing stylistic references from the work of David Lynch.
"The world of story, and many of the visuals are inspired by, or direct references to the work of David Lynch and his approach to filmmaking," said Alfano.
Alfano enlisted two film school buddies to assist in the process.
"Sean Neelin and Evan co-directed the music video, and Josh Ellis was the key camera operator and lighting technician, although all three of them took ahold of the reins at one point or another," said Shepherd. "Other key members of the team were Taylor Rasmussen, who styled the video and provided filming locations, and Kieran Eldridge, who was the makeup artist.
The bulk of the video was shot at the end of November 2020, and was finished at the end of April 2021. Most of that time was spent doing all of the visual effects that were required for replacing the television screen. Evan worked a full time job, while editing and doing VFX for the video in his free time, while corresponding with Sean, Josh, Simon and I for notes along the way. Practically spending every waking moment thinking about the video for five months straight."
Joys aim to transport listeners to another time by bottling 80s nostalgia through their upbeat, synth-heavy sounds and introspective lyricism.
"We want people to feel like they’re the main character in a John Hughes film," said Shepherd. "The single, from the start, was about capturing a sound and a feeling that we felt wasn’t prominent in modern music. We want people today to feel the same excitement that people in the early 80s felt when they first heard a band like The Cure, or The Smiths, or the excitement that we all felt when we first heard our parents listening to those bands when we were children. We hope that "Gloria" is refreshing, yet nostalgic."
You can help support Joys by streaming their music, following their socials, and by donating to their Bandcamp linked below.
(Postponed due to COVID-19.)