On July 22 Joyce Manor will officially release its third full-length record Never Hungover Again so we phoned up vocalist/guitarist Barry Johnson to learn a little more about how the record came together.
I understand you guys started recording Never Hungover Again near the end of 2013. How exactly did you approach recording this time around?
I think with this record there was just this kind of decision about whether we wanted it really raw or we wanted to produce it more. In the end we ended up working in a nice studio with nice stuff but we really wanted to capture recording it live. There arenít a lot of overdubs, we wanted to make it sound like us playing in a room and I think in the end we captured that and did a good job.
What made you decide to record with Joe Reinhart from Algernon Cadwallader?
We toured with Algernon and one night after a few drinks it was like ĎMan, you should record our recordí and we kind of stuck with that idea. It was one of those things that sounded like a good idea after a few drinks and was still a good idea the morning after. Itís cool to work with a friend and we were all kind of pulling together for the same outcome in the end.
Was there anything he brought to the process that might not have been there otherwise?
I think he kind of did the opposite, he tried to stay out of it as much as possible. There was very few times where he asked us to play things differently or tighten things up. For the most part he let us sound as we sound and he wanted to capture Joyce Manor as we actually sound.
What made you choose Never Hungover Again as the title?
The original title was actually In the Army Now. I was hanging out with my friend Chris at his house and he said it in a weird way, he almost staggered it slowly and I was just like ĎDamn, thatís the title.í I think it suits the cover really well too, but mostly it was something said offhandedly and now itís the title of our record.
This record is still very short, but itís also a bit longer than Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired. Was that a conscious decision or did that just sort of happen?
It was definitely conscious. All the songs when I first write them theyíre even shorter than they are on the record now. I think I was just pushing myself to tie things back around and make the songs more satisfying by starting in one place and ending up back there by the end of the song, which is something that I didnít always do. I try to not think too much when I write, I write now and edit later. It can be tough to tie a song together without it sounding forced or like youíre just doing the same part again for the sake of doing it. I'd rather it try to sound naturally and having it have some real fluidity to it.
It seems like loneliness is still a really big theme lyrically. Would you agree?
Yeah I guess so. A lot of it is about relationships that canít last and deteriorate for whatever reason, I think thatís more of a theme on all of our records. I spend quite a bit of time alone so that probably plays into it. Most of the songs touch on that in some way.
How did you get involved with Epitaph?
We were on Asian Man before this and it was actually Mikeís [Park, founder] idea. He asked us who we were doing our next record with and we said we didnít know and then he suggested Epitaph. At first we thought no but he talked us into meeting them since he had some mutual friends and we actually met up with them right away. They were really eager and really enthusiastic people who we really hit it off with. Everyone there is really nice and supportive of our band.
Youíre going to be opening for Brand New soon and those shows are probably going to be fairly big. Are you a fan of those guys?
Thatís a tough question, Iím not. Theyíre a good band and itís very flattering they want us to open for them, but Iíve never been a big fan. Iím not not a fan either actually. Just impartial.
Whatís next for Joyce Manor?
Thereís just a lot of touring coming up. We hope to make it everywhere we can.
I really enjoy his view of song writing. I write songs leasurely and I too find that most of my songs are relatively short (<1:30). I just cant bear to force myself to repeat a melody or a chorus if I feel like it is forced/doesn't fit how I want the song to sound.
Personally, I think I would appreciate a Joyce Manor album with 20 short songs over one with 10 slightly longer songs.
Also, about the Brand New comment: Yes. I feel like his response is more common than people tend to think. I personally don't care for anything Brand New has put out other than YFW.
how can you be impartial to brand new, I don't get it. never hungover again is really good though.
Speaking as I die-hard Brand New fan, there's a lot of reasons for someone to be impartial towards them. An (almost literally) rabid fanbase isn't exactly a turn on for most people, as well as the fact that Jesse is looked up to as a god figure when in reality, he's just a dude that has a knack for writing really good music and actively avoids the spotlight. There's a lot about brand new that can lead someone looking from the outside to get turned off. There's no reason for you to have to "get it." You love the band, he doesn't. That's what opinions are all about.