Interview: JOIE

Your song, “Blue Forest”, is enchanting. What is the story behind the song and how did you create/write it?
Jodie: It started with the lyrics, in French. They came to me after a walk in the mountains, at a point in my life when I was in between stages. I think you could call it a depression. I could sense that I was at a point where I needed something to change, to tip in a different direction, to change my outlook on things. Nature helped a lot. I realised how vital it is to connect with it. How helpful it can be in shedding mental weights. “Blue Forest” is about transcendence. 

Tom: My training is in contemporary composition. JOIE was born of a love story, mine and Jodie’s. These songs are far off from my usual musical territories, it was my first time striking out for something this different to me. At first I floundered for a bit, but there was a real thrill in exploring new approaches to music. Where I would usually start off by exploring timbre and rhythm, I found myself at the piano, reading the lyrics I’d translated over and over and trying out harmonies and riffs for the right colour and feel. When I found something tasty, Jodie would join me at the piano and we’d work together on melody. The arrangement came after. We had agreed on a list of instruments, and I really reconnected with the pure joy of orchestration.

The accompanying music video was beautiful. What was the video-making/filming process like? Did you have ideas or a storyboard beforehand, or was it more in the spur of the moment? What message(s), if any, does the video have
Jodie: We wrote the screenplay together and I directed it and designed the costumes. The setting wasn’t difficult to find, it was shot just above Tom’s parents, at the exact same place where I lived the moment that inspired the lyrics.

There were just four of us on set: the cameraman, the drone pilot and assistant cameraman, Tom who was serving as a general handyman, and myself. We shot the whole thing over five days in November. It rained almost the whole time, it was freezing cold (it even snowed once or twice). I’ve never been as cold in my life as when we had to shoot the scene in the nest. We had technical difficulties too, the camera we were planning on using was too heavy for the steadycam we’d rented, we lost a whole afternoon of shooting due to mysterious circumstances… We were on the go from 6 or 7 am to about midnight on most days. In the end it was an amazing experience though, and we finished just in time to get back to Paris for the second lockdown!

Tom: The video looks to transmit a similar message to that of the lyrics : transcendence, the bettering of oneself is in stripping down to the bare minimum, reaching that sweet spot of joyful sobriety, a return to Nature.

If you had to describe your sound, how would you do so? Furthermore, what artists (or other sources) do you cite as influences?
Tom: That is a difficult question. Each artist, each attempt to express oneself through art is a melting pot of so many different influences, each occurring at a certain point of our lives, leading to where we are. This makes description really difficult to me ! We’re songwriters, we’ve got French “nouvelle scène” aspects to our music, but harmonies you could sometimes classify as jazz, acoustic electronics veering away from pop… Our music is a slice of Tom, a slice of Jodie, and mostly JOIE!

Jodie: I generally cite Aurora, the norwegian singer, she really triggered my desire to sing, and Camille, the french singer. People cite Björk a lot when they hear our songs ! We also cite GoGo Penguin and Portico Quartet for the jazz influences and chill riffs. And Tom likes to cite Debussy too, for the harmonies. Nature and it’s auditory ecosystem is of course a strong influence.

What have been band highlights so far? And what is on your bucket list that you’d want to achieve?
Jodie: Our band truly came to life when we released the single on 21, January 2021. So our hatching was very recent ! I think we could say that our first highlight was the success of the crowdfunding campaign : thanks to all those people, we were able to record our songs and shoot the music video. To already have an audience backing us felt wonderful !

Tom: The next step is to find a way to finance the full album. We’ve already got four more songs in the works and even more lyrics ready. But there’s no end to the bucket list ! We both practice other art forms and genres, Jodie is an actress and author, I compose other music forms, sculpt, write poetry… There’s no end to the things we dream of. But JOIE is our lovechild and as caring parents we want it to grow up strong and to thrive !

If you could be the main support for any living artist, who would that be for and why? Alternatively, what would be your dream live booking?
Jodie: It’ll probably sound cheesy, but if I could support a living artist it would be Tom. He really has a personal vision of art, he’s a pioneer in many artforms. I’m convinced he can be one of the artists that brings people together around new artforms. Otherwise, doing the opening part of an Aurora concert wouldn’t be bad !

Tom: Argh, impossible question… Haha ! There are so many amazing artists, painters, sculptors, ceramists, choreographers, actors (and of course one particular actress !), writers and poets, filmmakers, musicians, composers… I would be glad to help any artist who really pours their soul into what they do, who never take the easy path but constantly question their means of expression.

What artists have you been listening to? Additionally, who should others be listening to?
Tom: I listen to a lot of different music. Jazz, electronica, classical, contemporary, pop, rock, djent, rap… But there is a sweet spot for me somewhere where jazz meets all the other genres ; some kind of no man’s land where everything is possible and nothing is pinned down. If asked the traditional “desert island only one album” scenario though, I think I would have to say Molecular Gastronomy by Food.

Jodie: As I said previously, most of the songs by Aurora and Camille. They just hit a chord inside me, something I’ve not found elsewhere in commercial pop or French songs. People really should listen to them ! I’ve also been listening to more and more jazz and funk: trad jazz, Jamiroquai who just make me want to dance, Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Girls in Airports, Jacob Collier… That’s really my groove these days and it’s pushing me more and more towards finding that sweet spot between pop and jazz.
JOIE: Facebook | Instagram

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