Joia - Interview
Posted by Hunter on Wed, 27 Jun 2012.
Joia are a female fronted, five piece alternative pop rock band with members hailing from Essex, Hampshire and Surrey via Athens. The band formed in early 2011when Athina and Martin met on the London scene, through mutual friends and at gigs, instantly bonding over favourite bands and a love of music. From there, writing began in each others' garages and bedrooms, at which point Martin's brother Bill and friend Tommy got involved. Callum was later introduced to complete the line-up. Taking their different influences and experience, combining it with an obsession to write and perform their own material, the band started coming together properly. And so Joia was born…
As far as press releases go, it's a nice story, but honestly, I tend not to judge a band until I scour the internet to hear what their studio recordings are like, and then check out recordings of their live performances too. I was impressed by Joia it has to be said. Not my usual first choice of music, but certainly interesting. I speak to Athina about Joia, their terrific video, and chocolate...
After meeting through mutual friends, and at gigs etc, what was your first full band practice like and where did it take place?
Considering I only briefly knew Martin and hadn't met the rest of the guys, it went surprisingly well. We met at one of the boys' shed-turned-practice rooms and they showed me some ideas and we pretty much instantly clicked both musically and as friends.
How did you decide upon the name Joia?
Martin was working in a shop and he came across a light fitting that was named 'Joia'. We all really liked the sound of it so we researched the meaning (jewel, in Portuguese) and since it wasn't a swear word, we were in luck! (We also liked the meaning and ending in '-a' kind of suggests there is a female singer).
Can you tell us a little bit more about the songs on your debut EP, what are the songs about, and who wrote them?
Martin comes up with the basic idea of the song on guitar and then we all add our separate parts to it from there. The EP isn't a concept EP – two songs are about the end of a relationship, one song is about the breakdown of a friendship and then the mood is slightly lifted with a song about the potential beginning of a relationship. I find that happy songs are a lot harder to write, everyone has a lot more to say when they're going through something tough.
How long did you spend in the studio doing the tracks for the EP, and was it something of a new experience or have you recorded with other bands separately before?
The boys were in a touring band so they've had quite a lot of experience, whereas I was in more of a 'hobby' band when I was younger. But my old band actually recorded at Stakeout Studios, which is where we went back to for this EP so it wasn't that daunting for me to launch myself back into it, since I knew the producer. We didn't really set out to write an EP, we just wrote two songs and recorded them over three days and then went back a few months later and recorded another two. I think the progression between the two sets is apparent – you can hear us finding our sound in the latest two.
What for you have been the toughest challenges in getting to the point of releasing Joia's EP?
I think the distance is our biggest obstacle – the boys are based in Essex which is where our equipment is stored, so I travel there from Surrey twice a week for practice and now Callum has joined, he travels from Camden. I think things would definitely have moved a lot faster if we lived closer.
Launch Party is on 16th July, are you nervous at all?
I think we're all nervous, especially since we'll be playing some new songs, but we're equally as excited. We have a ridiculously supportive group of friends and family so that definitely makes us feel better.
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Where was the video for "Match Light" shot, and can you tell us a bit more about what it was like working with Ollie Rillands and how the collaboration with him came about?
It was shot in one of my favourite London bars, Foundation. It fit perfectly with the treatment Ollie put together and it happened to be available on the date we wanted so we were really lucky. Ollie and I have a couple of mutual friends from the music scene, but we had never officially met. He contacted me when we first put a song online saying he was starting to put a portfolio together and would love to work with us. So that's how our video for 'Brothers' came about and as far as DIY videos go, I think it's pretty decent! We put a lot more thought, effort and pocket money into Match Light and since we were comfortable with Ollie by this point, it was an awesome experience. He is a great guy and he really listens to us. It's nice to be starting out together too – helping each other to hopefully achieve something bigger and better.
Tom Barnes, terrific photographer, how did you choose Tom to do your promo shots, and what was he like to work with? Did it feel a bit surreal to be one of his clients?
Our manager came across his work and suggested we work with him. I was more than happy to hear this because Tom actually shot my old band's first promo photos years ago so he's been a friend of mine for a while now. He's such a laugh to work with and he puts up with my occasional hair tantrums, so that's a massive pro!
We've noticed that Athina has a penchant for chocolate and Gordon Ramsey, but what musical guilty pleasures do you have (any closet Justin Bieber fans there)?
Firstly, can I just clarify; I have a penchant for food/chefs in general – not specifically Gordon Ramsay! That tweet you're referring to was my sick mind dreaming things beyond my control! I guess I am the embarrassment of the band – I love Justin Bieber and pretty much anything that makes people cringe. Saying that, Bill likes some awful Drum & Bass, which I think is even worse!
You can find out more about Joia here: http://www.facebook.com/joiaofficial