Writing songs over email may not be the conventional foundation for a band, but that was how No Joy’s members initially collaborated: sending tracks back and forth, discovering their songwriting chemistry. Montreal natives and founding members Jasmine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd were nearly 4,000 kilometres apart while writing the songs for their first album.
“We only started the project once I left,” said guitarist and singer White-Gluz. “I was bored [in Los Angeles] and she was bored in Montreal and that’s when we came up with the idea, when we were apart. Then I came back and we started working with a full lineup.”
Pulling influence from My Bloody Valentine, the duo-turned-quartet released the fuzz-injected LP Ghost Blonde late last year. Its songs found their origins in the duo’s long distance musical relationship.
“We had recorded stuff over the Internet when I was in California and [Laura] was in Montreal,” said White-Gluz. “We were both looking for something a little shoegazey, a little doomey, and we just started writing songs that way.”
“They were crappy, bad sound card, Garage Band overdubbed recordings,” said White-Gluz about those first demos. “Everything got fleshed out when I came back because it was much easier to arrange things that way.”
While the casual observer may not assume these two blond Canadian girls want nothing more than to sway onstage armed with heavy distortion, Ghost Blonde’s focused, heavy sound will refute any sceptic of their authenticity.
“Laura and I had gotten into using effects, so naturally when you delve into that it’s kind of a no brainer that shoegaze music is going to pop up,” said White-Gluz.
“There’s no technique,” she laughed. “I’m not that good at guitar, at all. That’s the beauty of playing this kind of music. It’s experimental so there’s no real rules about scales. It’s more about things that fit the songs than showing off mad guitar skills.”
Even so, the droning-guitar soundscapes are the driving force behind No Joy’s sound. Staying true to the genre’s norms, No Joy’s vocals are a secondary element 8212; adding texture more than melody.
“We’re the bane of sound guys everywhere because our vocals are intentionally buried,” said White-Gluz. “That can be kind of confusing for people who don’t really understand the genre … There’s a process to writing [our lyrics] but they’re not really meant to be shared.”
“Our songs aren’t stories to sing along to,” she continued. “They’re intentionally buried, intentionally inaudible so you can make what you want out of them.”
No Joy is playing around North America before heading to the U.K. with Surfer Blood to promote the European release of Ghost Blonde in May.
“It’s been great,” said White-Gluz about the touring experience so far. “We just met up with Best Coast and Wavves a couple shows ago and it’s been crazy. Really good, but really crazy.”
The band has no definite plans after the U.K. stint, and that’s the way they want it. Taking it day by day suits them best making sure they enjoy the ride along the way.
“It’s just more weird than anything else that people want to see us,” said White-Gluz. “We’re just dealing with that right now.”
No Joy plays Feb. 5 with Best Coast and Wavves. $18 advance, $20 door. Cabaret Mile End, 5240 du Parc Ave.