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20 Watts Interviews The Joy Formidable by tjwell01

British indie artist Ritzy (center) and the boys just broke into the U.S.

PREVEW: The Joy Formidable’s MySpace

WATCH: The Joy Formidable perform at Pianos in New York City on 20 Watts Video


The Joy Formidable are straight out of North Wales and just played their first shows in the U.S. a couple weeks ago at Pianos and Terminal 5 in New York City. On the eve of releasing their debut LP, the British indie trio aren’t signed and fund all of their own operations even though they have the sound of a pop-rock powerhouse. Ritzy, the lead singer and adorable blonde, says its about staying loyal to the fan base. Things might just be only heating up for Ritzy and the boys as they ponder the future.

20W: So where are you now?

Ritzy: We’re in London finishing our debut record.

20W: You’ve got quite a bit of touring ahead too, right?

Ritzy: We do. We’re going to York with The Temper Trap, and we’re got our own U.K. tour in March as well. So, yeah, we’re pumped.

20W: I know you’re from North Wales. What’s it like being an aspiring musician out there?

Ritzy: It’s very isolated. It’s very rural. It’s good place to go and write, be creative and lose your self. On the gigging front, it’s a little bit difficult, but it’s getting better.

20W: You seem so sweet in person when you’re talking to the crowd, but as soon as you start playing music you’re so fierce and out of control. It’s great. Where do you get that energy?

Ritzy: It’s certainly not contrived. I certainly don’t think of myself having two personalities. I think we just really like what we’re doing, and the music has a lot of meaning. Every show is a little bit different. There’s certainly an emotional attachment to the music we’re playing. It can be a little bit up and down sometimes.

20W: I’m sure you tour mostly in the Europe and different parts of the world, but how often do you come to the U.S.?

Ritzy: [Those last shows at Pianos and Terminal 5 in New York City], that was our first time over.

20W: That was your first time?

Ritzy: That was our first time in the U.S.

20W: Wow. So what was your impression?

Ritzy: I’ve always felt in tune with the U.S. I lived there to go to school for a couple years, but I haven’t been back since then.  It was certainly a really nice way to go back. We absolutely loved the show [at Pianos], and we’re genuinely overwhelmed by the reaction. We certainly also looked forward to play the show with Passion Pit [at Terminal 5] and seeing those guys again. We sold out both shows and we got to meet our fan base. I think we were pretty touched by the reaction, honestly.

20W: So is this a sign of things to come? Are you considering a serious tour throughout the U.S.?

Ritzy: We’d absolutely love to. We’re definitely coming back in May. We booked some shows in New York, and we’re waiting for confirmation for another date. We’re very eager to come back. We’ve got an album coming out for the first time in the U.K. We’re not sure what our release plans are for the U.S., but we’re very keen to get the music out.

20W: How did you end up hooking up with Passion Pit?

Ritzy: It just kind of happened. The timing of it was really bizarre because they dropped us a line on MySpace and said they were enjoying our music. We’re listening to their EP, Chunk of Change for the last month, so it was very genuine. Haha. So they came out to the U.K., and they invited us to play on their U.K. tour. There was a mutual musical admiration in place. Halfway through the U.K. tour, they asked us if we wanted to play with them at Terminal 5, and we really wanted to do it even if it was first logistically difficult at first. We were unsure if we were going to be able to afford or if we’re going to get the Visas in time, but everything came together.

20W: What do you think the biggest challenge is crossing over to different markets as a U.K. band?

Ritzy: The biggest one is the touring element, especially for a band like us. Obviously you can connect with people and that’s what we’ve been doing in the U.K. They can access our tracks and download it, but I suppose another big problem is being able to finance it. It’s boring talking about money, but it’s difficult and we’re certainly going to try [to get over to the U.S.].

20W: It’s interesting your sound is so young and alive and yet it’s weird I expect all new hot bands to be electronic in some way. Do you feel any pressure to conform to that at all?

Ritzy: No. We know what we know. The music we’ve written is the music we like playing. We make music for the people and ourselves as well. We’ve certainly proven we’re not into conforming.

20W: Last question. How come you guys aren’t on iTunes yet? Is that going to happen anytime soon?

Ritzy: We sell ourselves in way we want people to come to our music, and we wanted to have that connection with the fan base. That’s been central and what we wanted from the start, really. We haven’t really gotten any third-parties involved, because it’s about people coming directly to us. We’re certainly not going to discount, but it hasn’t felt right. We wanted to have control over the distribution.

–Jett Wells, Co-Multimedia Editor

1 Comment

[…] Moon Resort. The lineup is decent too, which includes a few unknowns and some high-risers including The Joy Formidable whom we interviewed and shot while they’re performed in New York. The festival will take place from April 30 to […]

Pingback by News of Note: Early lineup announced for Truck America Festival in Big Indian, NY « 20 Watts

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