If you like catchy, rock pop fronted by a powerful funny woman, then I might have something for you. Joia are a five piece from Essex, formed in 2011 and trying to make it big on the London scene. They were brought to my attention last year when I randomly began following Athina Andrelos on Tumblr, intrigued by her witticism and perfect decorum against the somewhat jealous fangirls who envied her whilst she was dating Aled from Kids In Glass Houses. Not content to be known simply as 'a girlfriend', it was obvious she had talent of her own, and I found myself hooked on their YouTube cover of Rihanna's Whats My Name as well as their song Brothers. which they gave away for free back in September.
Continuing the trend, Joia have just released another free EP, entitled Match Light, which you can download here. A blend of paramore-esque emotive power-punk and more sensitive ballads, it certainly shows promise. Whilst no band I feature here on Introducing is the finished article, I do think they have a certain something, and are definitely deserving of the exposure they are currently gathering from the likes of Kerrang and Q Radio.
But enough from me. As always with new bands, it's best to get the words straight from the horses mouth. So over to Martin Dukelow, Joia's guitarist, who answered a few questions for Safety In Sound to get you up to speed...
A quick chat with Martin JoiaHow did the band form?
Well most of the members have played in bands together for years in Essex. Then on a night out I met Athina and Callum and we decided to get together and write a few tunes and it went from there.
What is the story behind the name Joia?
I was working in a shop and saw it on a lighting feature and it stuck out to me. At the time we were rolling through a few ideas but once we checked out the meaning of Joia and how it sounded it stuck.
Do you still have to work day jobs? What do you each do? Is it difficult balancing this with the band?
Yes, we all have day jobs and it is crucial to fund everything we do as a band. The jobs vary from working in a bank, to being a plasterer and working in radio! To be fair, we make sure we have three nights a week free to get together and practice/write, so the jobs don't really get in the way too much.
You played your very first live show just five months ago. How did it go? Do you get nervous before gigs?
We were all really happy with our first show. The audience was mainly friends and family, which is what we wanted for our first show! But now we have fans who come to our shows and whilst we still get a bit nervous, it’s a great feeling.
Being a female fronted rock act, you have inevitably attracted comparison to the likes of Paramore and We Are In The In Crowd. Is this frustrating at all?
We haven't had too much of that yet and to be fair we don't really find it frustrating. In most music, comparisons are inevitable so we just stick to our own thing.
You covered Rihanna last year in a YouTube video, are you fans of pop music?
Yes we had some spare time in the studio and fancied a little mess about. To be honest, most of us listen to pop music but Athina is the biggest fan! She's into a lot of Beyonce and Justin Bieber, perhaps not in total agreement with the rest of us!!
Having such seperate and eclectic influences, does this ever cause any creative problems?
At first getting to know each others’ likes and dislikes was tough but I think that’s the same for most bands. The fact everyone has got their own favourite bands and genres keeps the writing fresh.
What inspires you to write songs? Is it a collective process or do you each work on seperate parts before bringing your ideas together?
It’s different for all the members, be it’s what's going on at the time or what music you’re listening to in particular. Me or Callum usually bring in an idea and then the whole band writes around that.
Are there any up and coming artists you think Safety In Sound readers should check out?
The main one I can think of is Eliza and the Bear. Good friends of ours and a great band.
Your launch party for Match Light took place in London on the 16th. Did it all go to plan?
We rehearsed for it for some time and I think we can safely say we were all really excited. We set up some merch and got some new songs ready for the set and we think it went really well.
You gave away Brothers for free at the end of last year, do you think free music is an important way to get fans on board when you’re starting out as a band?
I suppose that comes down to personal preference. From our point of view we saw it as an easy and effective way of giving the fans something and gaining some new listeners at the same time.
What is next for Joia? Are there any releases or tours on the horizon?
I can’t say too much yet but we have a few more shows planned, so keep your eyes peeled to our facebook for the updates.
Lastly, what is it about your music that you think makes you stand out? Why should people be interested?
I think the fact that we don't try to stand out. We just want to do our own thing and if people dig it then all the better!
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/joiaofficial or follow the band at www.twitter.com/joiaofficial