The Joy Formidable get ready for Lollapalooza Festival

By Brian Figurski

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The summer concert season is following suit of the weather and heating up, namely in the form of festivals playing host to some of the most promising new bands.

The Joy Formidable, based out of London, England, are one of those young groups who are likely to make an impending mark on music-goers this season.

The three-piece alternative rock group, rounded out by vocalist/guitarist Ritzy Bryan, back-up vocalist/bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas, released their self-produced debut album ‘The Big Roar’ early this year and have not ceased a relentless touring cycle to promote the album.

One of the biggest draws of The Joy Formidable lies in their cryptic lyrics, giving even their biggest fans a hard time trying to decipher the meanings to their madness.

“We like having that sense of ambiguity, as long as it’s because there is meaning to it,” Bryan said. “The Joy Formidable is creating a state of confusion everywhere they go.”

The veiled messages in their music may not be an intentional outcome, however.

“(I’m) not a big fan of dissecting anything that we do. We always say we were more concerned with writing and experimenting, seeing how the direction of the band would develop,” Bryan said. “It’s not like we’re trying to make things too complicated for the sake of it.”

The bands motive may not be to create lyrical confusion, but sonic chaos is a charm the band has down to a science. ‘The Big Roar’ is the cumulative effort since The Joy Formidable formed, combining the upbeat poppy vocals provided by Bryan, which contrasts beautifully to the heavy, dense sound of effect-laden guitar work. The addition of explosive rhythms and double-bass work from behind the kit unleashes their noisy inner-beast.

“I think if you looked through each of our record collections, you’d probably think we all come from quite different listening habits,” Bryan said. “We hit a common ground and that’s kind of magic when you all come from different tastes and come together and make something your own.

The Joy Formidable reception at gigs on American soil have been magnificent, suggesting a devout following stateside.

“I think we’re fortunate, (but) you sort of make your own fortune in having a fan base,” Bryan said. “There seems to be a genuine passion about music and the live experience. I think our audience leans toward having that wherever we are, in the UK and most definitely in the States.”

The band will be in the midst of a festival cycle when they head to Lollapalooza in Grant Park in Chicago in the beginning of August, where the band will have some downtime to become fans as well as performers.

“It’s a rarity to actually stick around (a festival]) and get a proper feel, but I think they’ve given us the weekend off, which is exciting.”

The band will be performing on the third day of Lollapalooza, starting the day on one of the main stages.

“We approach every gig the same, you got to play it like it’s your last one, whether it’s a tiny basement gig or a massive festival,” Bryan said. “We’ve definitely done both ends of that spectrum.”

The Joy Formidable doesn’t need to speak much about their future endeavors — the music will tell you their goals are as big as their sound.