Joyce is a Brooklyn-based bedroom-pop artist that has been steadily releasing her first batch of singles over the last few months. She’s about as DIY as it gets: having recorded in a closet, and playing all parts of the songs on her own. Joyce takes the imperfections of her recording process and adopts them as part of her style, creating a product that is rough on the edges, while simultaneously spotlighting an honest interior.
Joyce and I chatted about her recording process, the music scene in Brooklyn, and new music in the works.
She also just released a new song today titled Let It Go. Streaming is available at the bottom of the post!
Photo courtesy of Michelle Amirault
So, Joyce is your middle name, right? Do you go by your middle name normally?
No, I just use it for the project. I always kind of hated my middle name. But then I was like, screw it, I’m gonna own it, so I decided to call the project Joyce.
And the whole project is recorded solely by you?
Yeah, I record it on my floor, basically. Sometimes in a closet – it’s all me. I’m in some other bands too, but I wanted to do something on my own, and it’s given me a chance to learn how to do everything on my own.
What’s the recording process like?
A lot of it is just me having a few drinks, laying down some simple beat, and just going with it. I will usually sit there for 12 hours and just get as much done as I can. I recorded a bunch of my songs over a week during break, so I’ve just been going through them slowly and mixing when I have the time.
How long have you been making music, in general?
Ever since I was in high school, which I feel like was a long time ago. I was a fan of Michelle Branch and got a blue guitar and would secretly write in my room. But I was in a band about five years ago, and then I moved to Brooklyn and now I’m in a new band, so it’s been a while. But this is my first solo-thing. It’s exciting.
Yeah it does sound exciting, you get to call the shots.
Yeah exactly, I don’t have to listen to anyone, or compromise anything. And I get to do it on my own time.
And how long have you been making music as Joyce?
It’s been less than a year, I only just started putting out music so it’s still very new.
Who would you say is your biggest musical inspiration?
I like a lot of music, and variations of music. I like a lot of film and old film. I’d say I’m just very into art, in general. I guess “love” is very influential in my music and why I write. I’m not really influenced by just one thing or one musician but some bands that I like include Alvvays, Jay Som, Molly Burch, the Shout Out Louds, anything oldies, stuff like that.
As a DIY artist, I’m sure there’s a lot of trial and error in your work. What would you say is the most important thing you’ve learned, so far?
I feel like I get trapped in obsessing over the drums or something, and then I end up messing up the whole song and having to rerecord it all because I’m not happy with it. So I think I’ve learned that going with my gut is better than over-analyzing stuff. Just being able to listen to it, and say OK that’s good, it’s done. I love imperfection so I try to embrace that in my music. You can definitely hear mess ups in some songs but I let it slide. If you listen carefully, to a one or two songs, you might be able to find a space bar click that was left behind in the track after recording.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Amirault
The whole point of this project is just to do something easy-going and simple, not to obsess over the recording. I didn’t want to worry about that: I just wanted to write and put out more music. So I have to keep reminding myself not to fret over little things, but to just let it be and move on to the next song.
I feel like that can be applied to most things in life. Like you’re going to have a bad time if you’re always getting hung up on the little things.
Exactly, it will ruin your day. Recently, over thinking the drums has ruined my day, but I’m getting the hang of it.
How do you record the drums, normally?
I use a software called Logic with the built-in drummer, so I’ll use those. And then sometimes I’ll use my synth to play the drums on, too.
So you said that you’re constantly making music, do you have any EPs or albums set for 2018?
Yeah, I’ve been thinking about doing an EP. I was originally going to do an album and just release everything at once, but I knew I wasn’t going to get anything out if I wait because it will take me forever. So I just started doing singles, and maybe in a few months I’ll get a few songs together for an EP. I’ll just see where it goes.
Do you have any ideas about if you’re going to release it on a label or if you have any friends that could help you out?
Yeah, well I kind of started my own licensing thing so I’ll probably just do what Courtney Barnett did and just release it under that. It’s called Shy Ruckus. If someone wanted to sign me, that would be awesome. But for now, I’m just doing my own thing and seeing where it goes.
Do you have any friends that you’re releasing music for under Shy Ruckus?
Not yet, it’s pretty new. I just started posting some clips on the site, but it’s not anything that has gone anywhere yet. I haven’t had time between all of the music stuff I’m doing.
That’s cool. And I see you’re based out of Brooklyn, is there’s a vibrant music scene there?
Yeah, well I moved here because of the scene, and I feel like there’s a lot of places closing so the scene is turning a little bit. A lot of people have started to do house and loft shows; more DIY events . I think rent’s just getting too high here for a lot of places. But there’s so much great music and everyone here is so supportive of each other.
Where does the name Shy Ruckus come from, does that have to do with you being shy?
Yeah, being shy but causing a ruckus at the same time, I don’t know (laughs).
Are there any artists in Brooklyn (or anywhere, really) that you’d like for me and my readers to check out?
I played with this band called the Rich Girls recently and they were really cool.
My friends Saint Marilyn came out with a new album, they have a synth-pop-80s vibe going. Super tight band and fun. Love them.
Nice! I will check them out. You also mentioned that you were in a few other projects earlier, what are they called?
The main project I’m in is called Project Diem, and that’s like a synth-rock-pop kind of thing with a little bit of hip-hop. We’ve been together for a few years as a duo and just now getting together a full band. We’ve been working on our album for like a year now, but it’s going to be a good.
Wow, that’s a while.
Yeah, I think that’s also one of the reasons why I wanted to start Joyce. I needed to put out music and I needed to create. With Project Diem, we’re recording and mixing everything ourselves, which is part of why it’s taking a while. We’ve rewritten songs while recording, so it’s just a longer process.
Where did you live before moving to Brooklyn?
Boston. I lived there for like 8 years and picked up music there. Originally, I grew up in Rochester, New York, so up-state. And then I went to school in Cleveland, right before moving to Boston.
Very cool, what’s been your favorite city so far?
Here in Brooklyn, for sure. Boston was a little bit of a drag, I have family there, so that was great. But felt like I was in a bubble there. There’s just so much happening here in Brooklyn, you feel the energy all around, and it’s hard not to get swept up in it.
Listen to Joyce’s brand new song out today, “Let It Go” ~
Check out a few of Joyce’s other latest releases below:
Stay up to date with Joyce through the following social links:
Support Joyce by purchasing and streaming their music via Soundcloud, Bandcamp, & Spotify.
THIS INTERVIEW WAS EDITED AND CONDENSED FOR CLARITY