8 mins read

Nashville, TN’s garage rock / garage pop band THE JOY OF PAINTING took some time with us to answer a couple of questions earlier today, October 5th, 2012. Their newest EP titled “Lighten Up” received a lot of great reviews all around the world and is definitely a must listen. Surf melodies and sixties vibe make the band very interesting to follow. Scroll down to check out their interesting thoughts on music, touring, Nashville music scene, vinyl, THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM and more :)


Welcome, guys. First off, can you describe yourself for all our readers not familiar with the band?

We like to think we sound like Elvis Costello and THE CLASH watching Saturday morning cartoons together. Fun, snarly, aggressive. But it seems like that is changing with every new song we write.

What are the musical influences that can be found in THE JOY OF PAINTING?

The interesting thing about the band is that we don’t really agree on many artists. We all really like WILCO and WEEZER. but We also find inspiration in the precision of artists like Steely Dan, Beyonce, Tears for Fears, Elvis Costello, Harry Nilsson, Grizzly Bear. A few of us really love punk type stuff. I personally grew up in the Chicago punk scene. So bands like Dr. MANHATTAN, SASS DRAGONS, THE LAWRENCE ARMS and a bunch of other bands no one but Chicago kids like me care about.

Cool. So why this name? Can you tell us more about its meaning, the back story?

Well it’s named after Bob Ross‘ TV show. We’re pop culture nuts. We love making jokes that reference to obscure happenings in our culture. This is probably a product of the TV show I Love the 80s and 90s playing in our homes around the clock. But the name also came from long list making. We had trouble naming the band. We wanted it to be right. After long debates we just sort of stumbled upon the idea. I watched a few hours of the show, realized I was having fun and concluded that it was the right name. Miraculously, all the guys liked it too.

You’ve recently signed to South Division Records. Tell us how did you team up with the label.

We had recorded a few songs with a local studio. We really liked them and I thought finding a label would help bring our name to a new level of awareness. So i reached out to a few friends with a few connections, started emailing people blind and stumbled up South Division. Brian immediately seem to dig it. The guys over there are pretty smart dudes, we all trust that they’ll help us.

What are your future cooperation plans? How many outings are you obliged to release for them?

Well, we only signed on to one release as a trial run. We’re keeping our options open for the future. We’re not ruling anything out.

You’ve just released your “Lighten Up” EP. In what formats do you distribute the outing?

Vinyl and digital. CDs are kind of worthless now. The only time I buy them is when I’m at the record shop and someone recommends some band and I pick up a used copy or something. CDs are no longer a thing to cherish, which is sad because it’s still physical music. It’s TOO portable, therefore, easily disposable.

How’s vinyl important for you? Cassettes are the new vinyl. Weren’t you tempted to release those three songs on tape? [smiles]

Well, you should see my record collection! It’s really one of the few things I love. If my house burned down, I would not care about anything except my records. If something happened to them, I’d be crushed. So to answer your question, vinyl is very important to me. Probably in an unhealthy way. As far as cassettes, until ADELE or RADIOHEAD start putting those out, there just a cheeky fad by smelly hipsters.

[laughs] Awesome. I’ll tell all the hardcore bands that are into it right now [laughs]. A bunch of hipsters [laughs].

What is your favorite lyric from the new album?

“I woke up today in a good mood. I can’t say that it will last.” Something about that line grows on me every time I sing it. It’s simple but true to my life. You can wake up in the best mood, but anything can sour it. We wake up everyday with the hopes that your smile keeps for the whole day and loneliness doesn’t engulf you. For me, that can happened fast.

What are your plans for the next release? Any chances to see a full-length sometime soon?

It’s funny, we’ve been going backwards in how we record. The first EP, Asterisk, was recorded in this upscale Nashville studio, live to 2 inch tape. Then Lighten Up as recorded in like this weed dungeon. Now we’re recording our newest songs at home. Mark, our bassist, is an excellent engineer. We get to have complete control over how everything sounds, we don’t have to pester some other engineer. it’s fun to just do that. We have our work days with the band where we hangout all day, work on new songs, record them when we’re done with them, tweak things as we hear them in the recording, since it’s hard to know exactly what things sounds like when you playing in a living room. It’s a militant creative process, but it works for us.

You have some shows scheduled for the rest of the month. What bands, venues and cities are you looking forward to the most?

Chicago and Pontiac for sure. Chicago because it’s my home town and i’ve never been able to play with THE JOY OF PAINTING in front of the home crowd. I’ve been away for a long time. I want to show everyone that I’m not wasting my time in Nashville, that what we’re doing is worth the risk. Pontiac is exciting because we’ll get to high five all the South Division bros for the first time.

What about your attitude towards touring? Has it changed at all now that you’re playing bigger shows (I guess you are, aren’t you? [smiles])?

Touring is the most exciting thing is the world. It’s kind nerve racking for me because I want every show to be a success (which isn’t always the case) and I don’t want to get sick (which is NEVER the case). But to travel with my best friends is fun and exciting and well worth it. The crowds are getting bigger and obviously that means touring is that much more exciting.

What are your future touring plans? Any chances to see you guys live in Europe?

Europe is quite a ways away. Maybe it isn’t. If we blow up like *NSYNC then we’ll see ya soon.

So… as another band hailing from Nashville, I’m dying to find out what does your local scene look like from your perspective [smiles]. Share some thoughts about its current state, how does it look like in comparison to other local music scenes you like, etc. What do you love and hate about it?

How much time do you have? Ha. Nashville is a place where the okay bands are actually pretty great and the great bands are fucking amazing. You see all these bands that are top notch and have been going at it forever, but aren’t as far a long as you’d think. So I get a little nervous when bands that are exponentially better than JOP are still struggling. Like…what does that mean for us? You can go to Nashville and you WILL find a rad show to go to any night of the week. Most times it’s bands you’ve never heard of, and most of those bands are worth checking out. As a concert-goer, it’s nice that more national acts are coming to town. In 2008, when I moved here, basically no one was coming through Nashville. I think THE FAINT and Ryan Adams & the Cardinals were like the only shows of note I remember in the first year and a half. That meant the people that lived there had to pick up the slack and create a great city for live music. Now, in 2012, a ton of awesome national bands play in town every week. This could be bad because people will have to pick…local band…or BON IVER? Local band….or DINOSAUR JR? The other night we had a show in town and in the same night THE WALKMEN were playing in the same fucking building, ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS and BOYS LIKE GIRLS were having some sort of high school reunion across town and ALABAMA SHAKES we’re playing a free show at the state capitol! How do you compete with that? Anyways, all said and done, Nashville is an inspiring place to live. The only thing I’d change are the people and how they act at shows. If anyone in Nashville is reading this: STOP ACTING LIKE UR 2 KEWL 4 SKOOL. Your life and our lives could be exponentially more exciting if you let your self go and have fun.

Nashville’s always thought of as the country rock center of the universe [smiles]. Would you say there’s been a shift in the music climate of your neighborhood?

Country is still alive and well in Nashville. Most of my peers ignore it though. However, it’s hard to not jam that new T Swift single. With people like Jack White and THE BLACK KEYS and KINGS OF LEON adopting Nashville as their home. It put us as a city on the map. Now huge publications are talking about dudes we play shows with. It’s pretty wild but totally deserving. The biggest shift in town is that there are less shitty bands. When some new band surfaces, they’re better than the last band that surfaced. Everyone is feeding off each other. It’s rad.

Do you go to hardcore punk shows? [smiles] How hermetic are you when it comes to your genre?

Well, I grew up going to punk shows (ALKALINE TRIO, NOFX, THE VANDALS ect), but I’ve definitely spread my wingspan a bit. I’m not too into hardcore. I definitely respect it. I always respect people who do things I can’t do. I definitely would not say I’m hermetic at all. Some of the stuff I’ve bought recently are Dr. DOG‘s new EP, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM‘s first record, Wings at the Speed of Sound, ANIMAL COLLECTIVE‘s new LP, a few 80s era BILLY JOEL LPs. I’ve been getting into STEELY DAN more and more, MAPS AND ATLASES dropped an insane record this year. So really, I don’t really listen to that much of what’s contained in our genre. If I were to listen to stuff that’s in our genre, I’d jam Joel Plaskett or Butch Walker or THE STROKES. I try really hard to listen to as much different stuff as possible. I need to check out the new Muse record and the new COHEED AND CAMBRIA record. Coheed was my business back in the day.

Would you play a split live set with THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM if they asked you? [smiles]

Oh fuck yes. They’re huge now. You’d be a fool to turn that down. They’re pals with ALKALINE TRIO and Chuck Ragan and AGAINST ME! Bands/artists I adore. I’d be so honored to share a stage with them. As long as they go after us.

Great! +10 points for you [smiles] 

Would you split up or change the band’s name if one of you leaves the band?

That’s a tough question. The noise we make is pretty unique to the five guys that make it. If one of us left, I’d have a hard time calling it THE JOY OF PAINTING.

Many thanks, guys. Do you have something to add?

If you’re reading this, just give our record a go. It’s 9 minutes long. What do you have to lose? You spend more time beating off, and you actually lose something after that.

the joy of painting

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