No Joy tell us about the Top 10 influences for their new album ‘Motherhood’
Montreal's No Joy are back today with Motherhood, their first full-length album in five years. (There have been a few EPs, including one made with Sonic Boom, since 2015's More Faithful.) It's a record unlike any other they've made, liquifying a number of late-'90s styles (shoegaze, rave, nu-metal, new age) into a molten dayglo ooze. It's a fascinating, fun listen that kisses you one minute then punches you in the neck the next. Stream the whole thing below.
With such a unique sound, we wanted to know more about Motherhood and main member Jasamine White-Gluz gave us a list of the album's Top 10 Influences, which includes albums (Massive Attack, Nine Inch Nails, more), magazines, a time period, and more. She writes a little about all 10, including some of the musical decisions made on the record (hello, slap bass). It's a fun, interesting read -- check that out, perhaps while listening to the album, below.
In other news, No Joy celebrate the release of Motherhood tonight with two livestream events: at 6 PM Eastern, Jasamine will talk about the album with Irving Plaza on the venue's Instagram; then at 8 PM Eastern, No Joy will play a set on on Baby TV at 8 PM Eastern (tickets). The flyer for the show is below.
NO JOY - TOP 10 INFLUENCES FOR MOTHERHOOD
I was in high school, and music seemed to have no boundaries. When you look up which albums came out between 1997-1999 it's quite insane. Labels still had money to put towards albums, and artists were taking risks both on their albums and their visuals. Music TV stations still played videos and a lot of these albums had incredible visual stories to accompany them. There was a hybrid of electronica and rock. Everything kind of fell into an experimental melting pot, right before the millennium, filled with anxiety but also calmness. Nostalgia has its limits but I wanted to try and remember what it was like to hear something like Air on mainstream radio/tv and feeling my teenage brain explode.
2. Mezzanine - Massive Attack
This is one that has stuck with me since my high school days. This album is so heavy. It feels like a metal album, even if the arrangements aren't always typical "rock" band instrumentation. Perfect balance of darkness and etherealness, obviously thanks in no small part to the unparalleled atmosphere Elizabeth Fraser can create with her voice. This record is simply untouchable for me in terms of production and helped me think about new ways to create contrast in songwriting. I was equally obsessed with the album art shot by Nick Knight. The beetle looks so complex and menacing, but in reality it is so small. It's that kind of juxtaposition that draws me back to this album every time.
3. To have fun and try everything
There was a certain freedom I felt when I got a bit older. I was able to take more creative risks without really worrying about the consequences. We were definitely not afraid to try every idea while writing and recording. Whenever we were making a choice that I felt could potentially backfire -- that's when I made sure to push it even further. The slap bass for example, it could feel like Seinfeld or it can feel like Faith No More. Slap bass is very metal to me, it can be so percussive and cutting. We tried to find a middle ground where the slap bass was a heavy instrument, but also lending itself to helping the groove and making sure you bop your head to the song. No idea was a bad idea in the studio, we tried everything and many those on the fly decisions became some of my favorite moments on the album.
4. The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
Trent is a master at combining softness and chaos, while sneaking in catchy pop hooks. Downward Spiral is heavy and abrasive but those choruses are 10/10 earworms! "Reptile" specifically was a major inspiration for us when building percussion textures and guitar sounds.
5. Becoming X - Sneaker Pimps
I was obsessed with this album when it came out. It's the only album Kelly appears on so it feels even more like an artifact frozen in time because they never evolved past this point. I was playing music in high school (albeit badly!) and when I first heard her voice, it gave me more confidence to sing in bands because she kind of sounded like me.
6. The Face magazine
I bought this magazine throughout 1997-1999, I felt it really captured this era when fashion and music melded together in a groundbreaking way. I was inspired by the fashion that came out of melding in psychedelic '60s mod-revival with '90s dance. There would be rave listings in the back pages, covers featured everyone from Alexander McQueen to Prodigy. It felt like all these elements belonged together.
7. Screamadelica - Primal Scream
The greatest "shoegaze dance" album of all time? I feel like this one needs no explanation. This is the record that bridges noisy shoegaze with rave culture. It's hard to define the genre of this album and that's what is so inspiring about it for me.
8. Taking my time!
I wanted to make sure I really loved every minute of these songs, so I didn't rush the process. Some of these demos date back to 2016. They evolved slowly and carefully, I didn't want to pressure myself to push anything out. That's why the three EP's (Drool Sucker, Creep and No Joy/Sonic Boom) all came out - I was trying to find my creative footing before making any kind of statement with a full length album.
9. Hannah's Field
We watched the "Puff Puff Give" video in the studio while taking a break from recording and then we were inspired to add Bongos (specifically in "Birthmark"). We added some acoustic guitars that sounded like Jane's Addiction or Blind Melon or something...we really spiraled after watching that video but if you listen closely to "Birthmark" you can hear a few sonic Easter Eggs. Sometimes you find inspiration in the least likely places.
The role of mothers, aging bodies, families, fertility...these were all some of the concepts that inspired me lyrically. I was exploring these concepts both in the personal and abstract, a mother can be and mean many things. This record has been in my ~creative~ womb for many years and it feels special to finally be able to release it.
No Joy's Motherhood is out now on Joyful Noise.