Joyous Wolf took a break from band practice and talked with Creative Control about the band’s upcoming album, the scene in Orange County, California, and how far the group has progressed since forming less than two years ago.
Joyous Wolf: Ok, ready to go when you are.
Creative Control: All right. So, how’s band practice tonight?
JW: Tonight? Killer, man! It’s going good, just tightening up some (new tunes) and getting in the groove of things.
CC: Cool. So, I got a chance to talk to Nick a little bit the other day about where you guys are from and how long you’ve been together. In the short amount of time that you’ve been together, you guys have accomplished a lot of success. Just in a year and a half, I believe it was, since you’ve been together and you guys basically already have national, well, international attention. So, you must really have a devoted fan base and I was just wondering what is the music scene like in Orange County? Are there a lot of old-style rock bands like yourselves there or is that kind of a rarity in that area?
JW: Honestly, it’s a huge rarity, man [the whole band laughs]. To be honest with you, we’ve been lucky enough to befriend two other bands, Them Evils and Of Limbo. They’re kind of, you know, doing the same thing that we are, just trying to be themselves ‘cause it seems that everybody else in the area doesn’t [try to be themselves]. Orange County sucks.
CC: So, What’s the most popular genre in Orange County these days?
JW: Pop Punk or Hardcore.
CC: So, It sounds like you’re not a very big fan of what’s going down there.
JW: No, like I told you the other day, we like to be called a Los Angeles band [more than] anything.
CC: Ok, so, in that situation (of) being sort of a rarity, I know a lot of people ask you about what your inspirations are as musicians. But, do you each have a specific motivation as musicians? Do you have a goal or is it that you’re just inspired by the types of bands that you grew up listening to and are really into now?
JW: I’d say it’s a little bit of half-and-half. Like, we’re so inspired by all the genres of music that we all grew up [listening to] and found ourselves. But, on the other hand, we’re also in that point in our generation where we see everything around us and nothing else is really happening. So, we’re kind of looking at each other like, “Are we supposed to do this ourselves or is like something going to come along?” It seems like it’s that time that you’ll get when you have to make it happen yourself. I still am surprised that I was able to join with these three that are with me right now. Because, liking rock music is not uncommon, there are lots of people who like rock bands. Usually when you say, “Oh, you like rock music?” You know, they’ll give like, the favorites and the most well known ones and whatever. But, when you meet people that have the appreciation for that music without an appreciation for everything else around it. I mean, we don’t just like the music we play, we like all different styles and different forms and different things. We have an appreciation for all those different genres and apply them to what we do and that’s what gives us gravity as a group for sound and for ourselves ‘cause we’re not trying to completely [sound like] one band.
CC: Yeah, I can see a lot of different influences even if it’s not necessarily rock, right?
JW: Yeah, absolutely. [We’re] not going to be close-minded to only one genre. We’re always trying to try new things, keep it different. Especially, if you heard our first release, we didn’t keep it on one little corner of the spectrum. We kind of tried to do as many different things as possible and put them on one disc. Just so that we could show that we have some variety, not only that but, that EP is like a very small representation of what we do at least now…But, at the time as a band, it definitely showcased our end of the spectrum and where we were at the time. We just wanted to make sure that we didn’t like pigeonhole ourselves into one sound and that’s what we’re going to do forever. That was never the goal, from the first couple days of like, “What kind of music are we going to make?” It’s like, let’s just make whatever and if it sounds good, then it works.
CC: All right, cool. I agree. I listened to (the first EP) and I was expecting to hear one thing and a couple songs in, I heard some stuff I wasn’t expecting there. So, there’s a lot…It kind of opened my eyes a little bit to, you know, that you guys are a little bit more than what people might think. A little bit more than what meets the eye. So, you’re working on a new album out this Fall, correct?
CC: So, what’s the status on that? Are you still recording? Is that in the mixing process? What stage is that into right now?
JW: We’re in the final stages of recording and we’re like almost halfway through mixing the stuff we do have recorded.
CC: All right, cool. I saw where Nick had a Gofundme account set up to fund the financial side of the record. Is that turning out well?
JW: I raised a good amount. So far I think we’re [up to] $400 something. You know, again, anything helps. Honestly, it was surprising. We had a goal in mind but we didn’t actually know. We never actually knew that people were going to take their own hard-earned money and pledge it to you. The only thing we could really offer them was a copy of it when it’s done and some people went to 100 bucks. You know, it’s nice to know that there are some people out there that, even for a small band like us, are willing to support in that way. It has helped a lot.
CC: That’s awesome.
CC: I saw interview with you guys that was posted on YouTube and I believe it was your drummer, Rob, if I’m not mistaken, Robert?
JW: Yeah, that’s him, that’s the guy
CC: He had said that the way the songs were chosen on the first EP were that, you guys just had a long list of songs that you had went through and just kind of hand picked which of those songs were the best. Was that the same process for this new record or was it just kind of spontaneous?
JW: I mean, I feel like we chose the songs that showcased our creativity the most while still keeping that rock genre in the center [another member of the group interrupts with: “No, about the current record.”] Oh, about the current record? Yeah, totally, It’s absolutely is the same thing. We filtered through a lot. Obviously, it’s on a bigger scale this time because obviously it’s a full-length record, there’s more stuff to put on there but we’d go through all of our catalogue and see, “All right, what’s going to make it and what’s not?”
CC: So, basically the same process, right?
JW: Yeah, honestly, I’m going to say it’s a little different [the rest of the band agrees]. Then again, we had no idea who the hell we are. Now, we’re kind of like more defined. I mean, Greg didn’t join really until right before we actually recorded the EP. So, Greg came and saved the day. He had to learn all the songs that he didn’t know and then he just went and tracked them and made his own parts and everything. And so, it wasn’t really Greg’s end of it. It was mostly like what we had done before with our previous [bass] player and he just kind of had to adapt to it. But now, since Greg has been with us for like almost a year and a half now, the music has changed rapidly. Right away, right when he joined up is when things really started to change and we became better as a unit and it really reflects in the sound and we just suddenly kind of knew. We knew when something was good, like one of the songs on the record called “Turning Blue,” we had sat on this opening riff for like three months. No, it was way longer; it was like September until like about a month and a half ago. Like, six months…. and one day we just did it and it finally worked. But now it’s honestly like, we’ve played it live a couple times and the general consensus of people that heard it really liked it. It’s just like a proud moment when you have that shift and it finally flushes itself out and becomes something actually listenable.
CC: Cool. So, when is the album expected to be released?
JW: I’d say, at the latest, September. I’m going to throw that out there just because it’s still up in the air. It will probably be done in August; it will probably be like in the final process in August, saying like the final mixing process in August. So, I’m going to guess late Fall. I’m going to say late Fall.
CC: Is this something self-produced from a home studio or are you guys recording elsewhere with like a different producer and different engineers who mix the album?
JW: We’ve been recording with a close friend of ours that has really shown that he can really record a rock record well and we’ve just been really close to him and producing it ourselves with him and doing the recordings one at a time. So, we really make sure that it’s a sound that we want. His name is Keith Sorrells.
CC: What’s the name? I didn’t get that there.
JW: Keith Sorrells, he’s a close friend of Rob’s from a long time ago and Rob actually played in a group with him. [Rob explains with a laugh.] Yeah, I met him in orchestra a long time ago.
JW: Yeah, Keith Sorrells at Project K studios.
CC: For the people that listened to your first album, let’s say that if they were to listen to this [new] album, would they be really surprised with the sound? What I’m trying to say is, is there anything on this album that you guys would consider a drastic change or anything experimental?
JW: I would say that people who listened to our first EP, going into listening on this are going to be so extremely happy. Because on the first EP, we showed that we can kind of do a little bit of everything with still having like a good original song structure and just originality to our band. And now, with this full-length record, it really feels like we’ve found our own. Like we’re comfortable in our own skin and in our own songs and it really shows because the songs are really fun and they’re really good songs and I just know people will dig them because after experiencing us for the first time they’re going to really connect to this one. And we obviously wanted to instill the same branch of sounds that we did before. We’ve expanded on, I think, a lot more, we’re going to have songs that are going to either hit you in the head with a sledgehammer or like put you to sleep…. But yeah, stylistically, I think people are going to like it a lot because of the way that we still have embodied ourselves but sort of blossomed in that sound more.
CC: What’s the plan after the record is released? A tour? What’s exactly the plan?
JW: We’re going to quit, man. We’re done. We’re going to all become counter salesmen [laughs]. We’re going to work at Ralph’s. No, honestly, we have a lot of stuff. We just acquired a manager and he’s going to be doing some things for us in the upcoming months. So, as far as what happens after the record at this point, we really don’t have any idea, but a tour would be probably our goal I think, right? Yeah, a lot of things are up in the air. But the good thing about releasing this album and because we’re so proud of it, it kind of opens the door for a lot of possibilities that we do want to do. I think the two main goals that we really want to hit is just getting an album in front of everyone’s face and making them hear it and touring. Those go hand-in-hand, anywhere we can play our music, we want to go.
Note: This edition has been revised with corrections from Joyous Wolf.