Words by Daria Healy-Koljanin
WOMADelaide 2017 is just a few days away and Adelaide is welcoming the dreamy wonderland with open arms. Home-grown artist Joy & Sparks, who now resides in Melbourne, will be gracing us with her powerful presence for a show that will leave you feeling goose bumps for days. I caught up with Joy and as we watched the Torrens roll by we spoke about the power of music, emotion and collaboration.
You’ve just played OzAsia and Rainbow Serpent, now you’re about to play WOMADelaide! They’re some pretty massive gigs, how did you step it up all of a sudden?
I don’t know hey. Sometimes I think serendipity is at play, I’ve got some people who have seen me play before who are angels. Whenever they hear of an opportunity they put me forward for it.
As someone who has been in the audience for your gigs many times, I see and feel the way that you connect with the crowd and it’s so genuine. You played one of your newest songs about healing at the last Wildstyle (club night) and it hit the crowd pretty hard, how did it come about?
We live in a society with a lot of hidden mental health issues we’re not allowed to talk about. I ran away after my brother died two years ago and when I got to Melbourne last year it was the first time I had stopped so everything hit me and I faced a lot of personal shit. Nothing was helping me to heal so I researched all of the weirdos who get deep into sounds and I found that there’s a frequency (432 Hz) at which our DNA and bones heal so when you’re asleep at night this is the frequency your body starts to mend.
I wrote the song originally to be very quiet and calm because I was like fuck you all I don’t want to make music for anyone but myself. I felt like I was making dance music for other people but actually I really like solemn, calm, spacious sounds. Then I figured I liked doing both and now that I’m in a relatively better head space I love playing the dance stuff again. So I later wrote this drum loop for the track that only lasts for 8 bars.
You left everyone wanting more. Everyone was checking their arms for goose bumps. Your new direction is so strong, honest and hard hitting. So you’re making music for yourself?
I mean, of course I care about the audience, but I’m not making the music for them anymore. I’ve had to come to that point because I’ve played shows where people come into my shows, shake their heads and walk out. That’s me having to deal with my own ego and ultimately I’m not going to matter to everybody or make sense to everybody and that’s okay. Maybe at another point in time I will, but even if I never do, it will never matter. The whole reason I am doing this is for catharsis and connections. I want to do this to create real and genuine connections with wonderful people.
Let’s finish up on some WOMADelaide vibes! So is this your first time playing this festival?
No, I’ve actually played WOMAD once before back in 2013 with Question Question, a live electronica analogue band that I was in.
Four years on and you’re going back solo!
Which is really crazy! Playing as a solo performer, as a female producer is really exciting. I do every single bit alone and it can be torture. I thought fuck it I don’t want to do all of it alone. The best artists recognise that collaboration is the key. This time I have a dancer coming. An amazing, incredible mover from Melbourne, her name is Kirby. Then I have Daemon Satanik AKA Techno Hobo who will be doing some drums. So there are a couple of beautiful, talented people along with me.
Showcasing people who might not otherwise get the opportunity to be seen in that sort of light is really important to do. That’s really cool Joy. So what kind of vibe can we expect to get from you at WOMAD?
I am taking people on a journey.
Oh yeah? When are you not?
*Both laugh and fly off into the sunset holding hands*
Catch Joy & Sparks on Sunday the 12th at 10:15pm at WOMAD in the Electrolounge.
Follow her on Soundcloud or Facebook.