- Posted on Mar 8th 2011 1:30PM by Linda Laban
Courtesy of the Joy Formidable
Now, the busy Welsh trio is scheduled to hop continents and make its way to the US for a tour that would include its first SXSW appearances. Despite the excitement surrounding the new record and upcoming American tour, the foremost thing on Bryan's mind was sightseeing. The Joy Formidable had arrived in Amsterdam at night, when the city is dark and bustling, and its permissive entertainment laws give everything a seedy air. "This is amazing," Bryan told Spinner. "I've never seen it like this. The sky is so blue, and the canals are sparkling. It's just so colorful. Either that or someone slipped something into my coffee."
Download The Joy Formidable's 'Whirring' (MP3) off 'A Balloon Called Moaning' Free
How do you feel about your first shows at SXSW?
We have six shows in two days. It's a great opportunity to have been offered so many great shows. That's the great thing about having the album released so close, too: There is that attention. We staggered the release dates in different markets, and that's allowed us to really focus on different countries.
You toured America last year, too.
We toured a little bit last year, hit both coasts and Canada, but the only place in the middle we played was Chicago. It's been so nice to connect with our audiences and be on this voyage of discovery. It's hard to please everybody. We've had a lot of people in the south crying out for us to go and play there. Hopefully with this record, we will get there and the Midwest. We'll play as many places as we can.
You have an unusual first name, Ritzy. Is that a nickname?
It's been my name since I was a tiny, tiny infant, and I've never been called anything else. I don't really answer to anything else anymore. Except s---head.
Never answer to that! Ignore them!
Exactly. It's definitely been my name for such a long time; it just stuck when I was tiny, and even when I went to school. It was just a pet name.
What were your musical influences growing up?
I grew up in a very, very musical household. There was music all the time. There was never a moment of silence. There was always something on the record player. My parents had a huge record collection between them. They were big, big record collectors. They had two rooms put aside just for their records. They were very, very obsessive.
Did you grow up to share that obsession?
I could have rebelled and been into sports, but that wasn't an option, given my athletic ability [laughs]. No, I just shared their passion, really. Going through things artist-by-artist became a real passion of mine as well.
Who in particular?
Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, the Smiths, yes. I could go on and on. Ultimately, these are timeless artists.
Did you have particular favorite?
Elvis Costello, early on. His was the first concert they took me to. I was really young then, maybe eight or nine. He was one of those performers who made me think that maybe music was in my blood.
Well, what about female rock figures?
The Pretenders, definitely Chrissie Hynde, Patti Smith. Later I came across Bjork and Shirley Manson of Garbage, and, because of the Welsh connection, Cerys Matthews of Catatonia. But really, Chrissie Hynde is the one.
Catch The Joy Formidable's SXSW Set on Friday, March 18 at Billboard Bungalow @ Buffalo Billiards (201 E 6th St.) 11:10PM.
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