The 90s were awesome, weren’t they? Well, this week’s new band certainly think so. Welcome to your lives Brighton trio Sick Joy, who aim to harness the power of music’s golden decade by blending their mix of hooky, poppy grunge with three chords and the truth, man.
We catch up with the band to find out more about who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re headed to next.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
“We’ve got Danny on bass, Drew plays drums and I’m Mykl (it’s pronounced Michael) and I play guitar and sing. We’re all from Newcastle originally, but Sick Joy was birthed in Brighton.”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
“Newcastle has a pretty small, close-knit music community, so I think everyone is aware of everyone to some extent. Even more so if you’re pretty good at your thing. I’d seen Danny and Drew play in other bands and wanted to play with them for a while. I played with Danny for a while and moved south to be more involved with the Brighton scene which we were fans of. Lots of our favourite bands were spawning there. After living in the van for a while, we found a place to live and asked Drew, who’d recently become free from his old band, if he wanted to make the move and start playing together.”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
“I think mainly the 90s bands to be honest. Sick Joy started with the idea of going back to those bands that made you pick up a guitar, or want to be in a band. Simple stuff that relies on melody and a few chords. Pixies, PJ Harvey, Nirvana – those kinds of bands. But also bands that are active now that have the same narrative, Tigercub, Dinosaur Pile Up, Demob Happy. Basically our mates. It seemed a lot of people were feeling this sort of devolution and disenchantment with current stuff and where it was going. It’s easy to be honest… sometimes.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
“Pop’s ugly sister.”
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
“We’ve never lost a game of Chardee MacDennis.”
What’s the story behind the single Smiling Shame, and how did it come together?
“It was one of the first songs written as Sick Joy. It came together really easily. I guess it was a few months of built up energy and dreck to be expended.”
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the single?
“Alpro chocolate soya milk, Quorn cocktail sausages and Gold Leaf tobacco should have funded the recording or at least endorsed us. It was like a vegetarian fucking orgy. That’s rock’n’roll these days though, isn’t it? Seitan, boycott Nestle and rock’n’roll.”
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What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track you’ve released so far, and why?
“Everybody always says it, but Smiling Shame, the single that you can buy and stream right now. Genuinely though, because it was one of the first written and the one that came together so easily, I think it defines the starting point of Sick Joy. It covers our few bases well.”
Are there any plans for a full-length album?
“We’d love to do an album, if there are any wealthy benefactors or sugar daddies/mommas out there reading this, please send your details to the PO Box below. The only thing holding us back at the moment is money and wanting to make sure when it comes out enough people hear it. There’s no rush. We’re happy to build from the ground up. It’s all fun and pains after all.”
What do you hope people will take away from the single, and your music in general?
“I hope they take away whatever the want from it. If they take anything away that’s our job done. As long as there’s some kind of impact, that’s good enough for me. I think more often than not there’s always disappointment in finding out what the songwriter meant behind their songs. Music is such a personal and solitary thing to me. You develop such a personal and relatable relationship with a song, that if after years it’s explained differently, it can kill the song. It can be anything you want it to be.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
“Probably joining some of our favourite bands on X-ray Touring. Pixies, QOTSA etc. It was pretty cool seeing our name added to the list.”
What can people expect if they come to see you live?
“An 80s magic show and a sacrificial avocado. Come find out.”
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
“Getting the full EP out in March, touring as much possible and recording more stuff. Everything being in a band actually means, outside of all the noise.”