• Molly Davies

J.O.Y. pursue pure artistic expression in new single Syntax

J.O.Y. | Bristol

J.O.Y. started the year with a bang.


A sold-out single release show at Rough Trade saw the band draped in their finest finery (namely dressed in glittery dresses and the blackest of eyeliner) launching their explosive single Plastic Waste (At The Bottom Of The Mariana Trench) into the world. It was packed out and raucous and deliciously raw.


Then everything went quiet.


Old goals were thrown out and new resolutions for 2020 were crafted. Changed by the sudden halt of everything that was normal, J.O.Y. scrapped everything they had been working on and, hidden in their studio in Old Market, Bristol, dedicated themselves to the creation of a new re-defining EP. The lead single Syntax is an intoxicating, heady mix of layered shoegaze-y guitars that perfectly surround and support lead singer Toby Ijbema’s emotive and melancholic vocals. The track builds to a chaotic wall of noise where each individual element can still be detected clear as a bell. The silence when the track ends is deafening in contrast.


We wanted something that felt attached to the real world.

On the meaning behind this new aural endeavour, guitarist and producer George Thornton says, “We like to keep things quite deliberately vague and open ended so people can interpret the songs on their own. The title [of the EP] Aesthetic Fallacy plays into that a bit. Aesthetic fallacy is defined by people seeing meaning in things that aren’t really there. An accepted truth that isn't necessarily true. Our ethos of trying to create some sort of just pure, non-defined artistic expression plays into that. Something that's intuitive and expressing pure feeling rather than anything as specific as an individual event or emotion. It's more of a cascade of feeling. That's the impression I get from our vocalist Toby whenever we’ve talked about his process of lyric writing.”


This value is reflected through the physical production techniques employed by the band whilst recording the EP, limiting themselves by pretending that they were recording on tape without any reel-to reel machines being involved. “We wanted to retain something that felt quite live. I think that became especially important as there's a pandemic on and everyone wants to go to gigs. We wanted something that felt attached to the real world.” Live takes are the foundation of each song, avoiding click tracks to avoid the temptation to engage with overly intrusive production techniques, with the end goal being the production of an ambitious sonic landscape centered on “unfeeling that so many feel lost in”.


Listen to Syntax here.