First off, I'd like to thank The Huffington Post for giving us a platform to talk about our record. A lot of interviewers have asked questions like "if you could be an animal, what animal would you be?" or "well, how DO you feel now?". Questions that are frustrating and prevent us from discussing anything three-dimensional. It's felt like a few people have met our arrival with a degree of skepticism. Our record isn't lo-fi enough for indie, and it's not slick enough for Top 40. Is it a band? Is it not a band? It doesn't fit neatly into a pre-existing box, so there must be something wrong, right? We are not a group that someone assembled in New York City or LA. We are not some kids who stumbled into a great situation. Our record is a product of wandering around the creative wilderness of Rochester, New York for more than a decade.
How Do You Feel Now? is the "official" debut full-length album from Joywave. For a lot of you reading this it's probably your entry point into the band, but familiarity with our 77777 mixtape, 88888, and our 2012 EP Koda Vista is certainly a plus. These previous releases were largely self-produced affairs with the help of just a MacBook Pro. I had been writing constantly for a few years and DJing one or two nights a week at local clubs to pay my bills, but I started to find that a lot of the songs I was creating required a studio and live instrumentation to be fully realized. They didn't sound right with just a laptop. I wasn't sure some of these tracks would ever see the light of day. Then in mid-2013, a few people at Hollywood Records got ahold of 88888 from our publisher (Hi David) and flew me to Los Angeles for a meeting. A lot of questions were asked, but the exchange that stuck out most to me went as follows:
Them: "Who do you want to produce your record?"
Me: "Us. I want to spend the budget on a studio and make it ourselves."
And that was it. No one told us to write a hit, no one even told us what songs to record. We found an empty building in Rochester and signed a lease. A few weeks later boxes full of compressors, pres, mics, and EQs showed up on my front porch and we started building our studio.
How Do You Feel Now? is a record about expectations versus reality. My post-college "adult" life was nothing like I'd imagined growing up. I was in my late 20's and still living at home. I had worked an $8/hr retail job for several years before deciding that $8 was pretty close to $0, so I might as well choose the latter. Contrary to what I was told for 13 years in school, a degree did not guarantee me a job, success, or happiness. I tried to explore that in a personal way on this record, and I hope that some of you are able to find your own experiences mirrored in mine.
Our sonic choices were very deliberate on the album. I've always admired classical music's ability to tell a story or paint a picture without words, and frequently on How Do You Feel Now? the musical bed is providing the scene or context for a particular song. Instead of sticking to one tried and true format or approach for the whole record, we treated each song individually, using the musical bed to add further depth and meaning to the lyrics. Multiply this by 11 and you've got a full view made up of many smaller parts.
We hope that you enjoy our track by track presentation of How Do You Feel Now?. The 9 months we spent recording it were endlessly fun, challenging, and educational. And for any future journalists looking to answer the hard-hitting questions in paragraph one: Bird and Fine.
How Do You Feel Now?
- Somebody New
- Carry Me
- Tongues (feat. KOPPS)
- In Clover
- Fees Like a Lie
- Traveling at the Speed of Light
- Nice House
- Bad Dreams