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Joyce Manor | Interview | August 2014

We caught up with Joyce Manor discuss new album ‘Never Hungover Again’, touring and more.

Credit: Promo

Credit: Promo

Joyce Manor have always had a lot of potential, from their concise and addictive self titled debut in 2011 to their creative and left-field follow up Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired in 2012. In the two years since then, they’ve signed to Epitaph Records and released their third album Never Hungover Again, which we recently rated a full five stars. We caught up with singer/guitarist Barry Johnson to discuss the album, touring and more:

HTF: Congratulations on the new album, it’s really great. What was it like having two weeks to record this time around?

BJ: We spent a lot more time getting drum sounds and getting good drum takes. I also had a lot more time to obsess over vocal takes which was nice.

It seems like you’ve hit a good balance in sound between your first two records. Is that conscious, or do you just let the songwriting happen?
BJ: We just write and try to trust our gut. If we have a part in a song that not everyone is completely stoked on playing, it gets cut.

HTF: There are some great lyrics all over the record, ‘Schley’ in particular caught my attention, can you elaborate a little on that track? What does ‘Schley’ actually mean?
BJ: It’s a song about getting high and then getting paranoid and thinking about everything too much. Schley is a street name in an industrial part of Wilmington California. Real bleak stuff.

HTF: ‘Heart’ Tattoo’ is really funny, but it also sounds quite knowing – do any of you have a regrettable heart tattoo?
BJ: All tattoos are regrettable but that what’s fun about them. No heart tattoos in the band though.

HTF: What are touring plans like for this record? Any international plans? Anything for the UK?
BJ: We hope to do as much international touring as possible. Coming to the UK in November with Cheap Girls and Great Cynics.

HTF: I’ve read in past interviews that you’re not big fans of touring – is that still the case?
BJ: Yeah we aren’t really cut out for life on the road. It can be really fun, but for the most part you’d have to be insane to fully love it. There is just so much down time you start to lose the plot a little.

HTF: Not a lot of the tracks from ‘Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired’ made their way to your live set. How do you feel about that album now?
BJ: I still like that one, I just kinda felt like we didn’t give it time to reach its full potential. The reason we don’t play them live is because they aren’t really as fun to play as the earlier ones.

HTF: How difficult is it to pick a set list these days? Does an older track like Five Beer Plan have any hope of making it to a show these days?
BJ: Those are still my favorite to play somehow. Now that we’ve had some time away from those songs they feel fresh again and are really fun to play.

HTF: What gear do you guys use – is there anything you’d consider integral to the Joyce Manor sound?
BJ: Matt plays a Fender jazz bass through an Acoustic 360 head. It’s really scrappy and percussive and definitely shapes our sound.

HTF: It wouldn’t be hard to guess that you like Weezer, and I’ve seen you mention Pinkerton in interviews before. What do you think of their later albums?
BJ: They don’t sound as inspired as the earlier ones but the songwriting is still very good.

HTF: How did the move to Epitaph come about?
BJ: Mike Park suggested we get in touch with them and so we did. They were very excited about working with us and its been great so far.

HTF: Just how cool is Mike Park, and was it a shame to leave Asian Man?
BJ: Mike Park is very cool and it wasn’t a shame because we are still on Asian Man. Mike still has our second record and we talk all the time.

HTF: Joyce Manor has helped change the way that I think about music, short songs that are straight to the point, but still feel fully formed. What inspired you to start writing minute long songs like that in the first place?
BJ: I’ve never written songs any other way. I don’t know how to write a five minute song.

HTF: You’ve released a lot of cool stuff over the past few years, like the cassette of the first two records and the vinyl with the etching on one side – do you hope to do more for ‘Never Hungover Again’?
BJ: Usually the packaging is other people’s ideas. I’m not a record collector so I don’t really understand the appeal of limited releases and that type of thing. I’m more interested in the songs rather than how they are packaged or how many of them exist.

HTF: Are there any other plans that you’ve got at the moment?
BJ: Just keep doing what we do! I want all this touring to be over so we can start writing new songs again!

HTF: Thanks for talking to us.

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