After huge success with their debut album The Big Roar, North Wales band The Joy Formidable are back, bigger and noisier than ever with their second album, Wolf's Law.
A powerful, uncompromising collection of future stadium anthems and guitar hits, Wolf's Law sees the band take another step towards their festival headliner destiny, and frontwoman Ritzy towards becoming one of music's most iconic frontwomen.
Ahead of the album's release, we caught up with Ritzy to dispell the 'difficult second album' myth, discuss gender in rock and roll, and find out why The Joy Formidable will never follow the crowd for a little mainstream attention...
How true was the 'difficult second album' myth for Joy Formidable?
It wasn't at all. We'd been touring The Big Roar for 12 - 18 months in Europe and in the States. We write on the road, all the time. We're constantly writing, it's never an effort to write. We're always writing, always thinking about music and the next project. We'd written a lot on the road, it was just a case of trying to find a few weeks to record. It was very quick, it was actually difficult trying to record it all, we were so hungry to get back in the studio.
We love touring, but we were definitely ready to get back in the studio. It was really inspiring, creative period. The album was written, tracked and finished very quickly.
So it's not true at all then.
Difficult second album? It's all bollocks. I imagine if you over think it, and are worrying what to change and how to evolve it would be tricky. Evolution is something that should come naturally with what you're doing, whether its writing or listening, it's about always having a creative head on in some level. It obviously comes with a lot of touring as well, your band changes over time as well. It's not difficult at all.
What can fans expect from the new record?
It's intricate, its bold. It still has all the joy and passion of The Joy Formidable. I would say that there's a lot of breadth on the album, breadth of feeling and of instrumentation. I'd say that the tracks have maybe been conceived a little differently this time around, the way we approached the song writing. There were also some tracks that we decided to keep simple and direct and laid back, yet many of the tracks have grown into fully orchestrated, really bombastic songs.
Watch The Joy Formidable's 'This Ladder Is Ours Video' below
A lot of guitar bands have softened their sound for the mainstream. Are you firm believers in keeping your sound big, loud and 'bombastic'?
We can only write what we can write, what drives us. I want to have a career where I look back and not have any regrets and it all feels like it means something to us individually and as a band. None of this is just us going through the motions, it's not a job. It's all about sticking to our guns. We've always been at the helm of our career and we're making music that we find exciting. It's not about following the pack or trying to fit in. It's difficult to even dissect!
We never over-analyse when we record. We just do what feels right in that moment for us, creatively as a band. If it connects, it connects - and f*ck it, we just want to make good music.
After the release of 'Cholla' at the end of 2012, it was claimed you were set to become 'the next big British guitar band'. Do comments like this spur you on or cause concern over where you go next?
The compliments are great, and it's a good feeling when we connect with people. The real validation always comes from us personally, with being happy with what we put out there and feeling good that we're enjoying what we're doing and that we're proud of the album we've written. That's ultimately the main thing, and the connection with the fans is great. You can't control that though. You have to have hope that you're doing something truthful and meaningful, and you're not just going through the motions, searching for fame or success for the wrong reasons - whatever f*cking success is.
You have to hope people see that and connect with the music on an emotional level, which is ultimately what it's about. Certainly a lot of music I got into is very emotional. It wasn't just an exercise in the latest trend. We've always had our blinkers on to that sort of stuff, it doesn't affect us either way.
Watch The Joy Formidable's 'Cholla' video below
Do you think rock music is in need of a new female icon - or female icons plural?
I always find it tricky, the gender question. It's almost like the minute you start talking about female-fronted bands, it almost becomes an angle. What I'd like to see, is more great female-fronted bands, girls playing guitar - is that it doesn't need to be discussed any more. People shouldn't be surprised that a girl can play guitar or front a rock band. I think there's a trend of great female fronted bands and its heartening if more girls get involved in music, in any genre of music.
It's not an angle. It's not a selling tool and they are not a puppet because of their gender. More women singing that are emotive to or inspire other women, that can only be a great thing.
Do you think your growing success is proof that huge acclaim is within reach of regional bands, or bands developing outside of London?
Absolutely. That door is wide open. You've got to tour, you need to visit everywhere. I think the main thing is sticking to your guns and having that long career. It never just happens in one place, just for one reason. There's always that sense in the music industry that 'this is the gig' or 'this is the festival' or 'this is the town'. None of that's true. It's about carving your own path over the course of time.
Young bands can now become empowered by sharing their music online and reach their fanbase. It definitely makes the world a much smaller place, but at the same time there still has to be that same sense that you get out there and you f*cking play. There's no online experience that will ever truly replace getting out and going to a live show.
Thank you very much, Ritzy from The Joy Formidable.
Wolf's Law is released 21 January 2013