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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Interview with Joyce Manor


Joyce Manor in Pirate Satellite Festival 2015 in Hamburg Markthalle

Mass Media sat down with Barry Johnson of Joyce Manor for the following interview.

Mass Media: Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Johnson: I do not. Some bands like to get in a huddle together.

MM: Wait, so you don’t get nervous at shows? You don’t feel like you need to shake it off?

Johnson: Well, I got nervous at every show until about 2013.  This last tour with Modern Baseball I got really nervous. Yeah, I don’t know why. Some nights I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m nervous my voice might give out. Some nights it doesn’t do what I want it to do.

MM: Do you ever push yourself too hard at a show?

Johnson: Yeah, maybe it’s because I don’t know how to sing? Yeah it’s really unpredictable. Maybe it’s nervousness.

MM: What motivates your latest album? Like is it a person, an event, or an idea that won’t let you go?

Johnson: No big catalyst. I don’t keep a journal. I don’t have experience in writing any certain kind of song. I don’t say “this is gonna make an excellent song.” I mean it requires some effort but I try to use as little effort as possible. All the best songs I’ve written feel like they were already there. It’s like, I feel it out of focus and then it just comes into focus.

MM: Is it just you writing?

Johnson: Yes, I’m the primary songwriter.

MM: Do you guys ever get tired of being on the road?

Johnson: Yes and no. I’m always excited to get out and tour. And then there are just some days I just wanna go home. It feels like a slumber party that doesn’t end. It’s really, really fun but there are days you wish for an at-home ritual.

MM: Why are you guys playing The Sinclair twice?

Johnson: The Sinclair is great to play. It’s fun. We played there with Glocca Morra a few years back. It was good. Instead of trying to do a room that is like too huge, The Sinclair isn’t tiny, it’s like a decent size.

MM: What are you guys up to when you’re not on tour?

Johnson: It depends on the day. I worked at a place called “Rainbow Juice.” Cold press juice.
No one’s going to school. We have jobs serving coffee and stuff. We enjoy our time off, just hanging out.

MM: What does punk mean to you?

Johnson: I’m not really a super punk guy. For a lot of people it’s about authenticity and transparency. It’s one of those words that have a lot of meanings. It could be like “oh that guitar sounds really punk.” Or like an ethos. But yeah, I don’t really think about it that much.

MM: Do you consider your band punk? Did you guys draw a lot from it?

Johnson: Well, I like melodic music a lot. I was into hardcore music a bit too. Not like Negative Approach. Other weird, old punk bands. Would I consider Joyce Manor punk? There’s some influence in there, and we kind of try to straddle that.

MM: What about pop-punk?

Johnson: There wasn’t really a pop punk scene when we started. It was really dead. Fall Out Boy got really huge, and then bands like that really just dissolved. We started in 2008, and we played with a lot of bad screamo bands. We played with mid-westerny music guys, dudes in their 30s.

MM: You didn’t aim for a certain audience.

Johnson: No, yeah I mostly write the music for myself, not really for a target market or anything like that.

MM: What did you guys listen to growing up?

Johnson: Matt likes more emo stuff. I never got too into it. I got a little more into pop-punk. Like Blink-182, Descendents, early Donnas, Scared of Chaka, Dillinger, Toys That Kill.

MM: Do you feel like you draw from the ’80s? An article that reviews your latest music video for “Fake ID” claims that its very John Hughes-esque.

Johnson: Oh really? I guess a little. I like the Smiths, Replacements, New Order. I love John Hughes.

MM: Are there any bands you came up with that are still playing?
Johnson: Summer Vacation. Who are really good and a pretty big influence. It made us push ourselves to be better and helped shape our sensibilities.
To keep up with Joyce Manor’s upcoming shows and music, visit joyce-manor.com.