“Wait To Pleasure” instructs the teasing mantra etched onto No Joy’s new album, the Canadian duo’s first full-length release since Ghost Blonde in 2010. One track in and the comforting feeling of No Joy washes over us once more; a menacing riff taking you by the neck and shaking you with its reverb as Jasamine’s syrupy vowels whirl inside your skull.
Only this time there’s a kaleidoscopic twist. The shreds we heard in last year’s Negaverse EP begin to dissipate, making way for meandering and dreamlike melodies which, syncopated over electronic percussion, situate Wait To Pleasure firmly in the here and now. In advance of the record’s release, No Joy compiled a mix tape for Dazed Digital, elegiacally titled “RIP Chi” after the recent passing of Deftones’ bassist Chi Cheng. We sat down with Jasamine to talk process, inspiration, and anthropomorphism.
Dazed Digital: Are No Joy as miserable as their mantel?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Sometimes, yes. When we’re good we’re really good and when we’re bad we’re really not feeling so great. I think we were pretty miserable, but we’re definitely a lot happier than we used to be now.
DD: I feel like we can hear that on the single Lunar Phobia, it’s more melodic and uplifting than your older stuff… Is that conscious?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Well we’d never recorded in a studio before this album, so when we got the opportunity to go in and do a track with bongos, or do something using this crazy chorus pedal we kind of just explored all tones. Like we would record with a piccolo snare and a six string slap bass, it was ridiculous, as though we were making a nu metal record.
I guess Laura and I were kind of into funkier tones this time, not dance music and not rock music but somewhere in between. There’s some of the heaviest stuff we’ve ever done and then there’s sweet stuff. There’s definitely an extreme, both ends of the spectrum.
DD: Most tracks are very layered…
Jasamine White-Gluz: Yeah. On one of the feedback tracks our producer left the room for a little while so we stole a microphone and just started pointing it at stuff and making really annoying noises, like throwing pita bread at the wall and recording it. We really went a little overboard with the layering of tracks so it was a question of deleting stuff in the end.
DD: Did you leave the sound of the pita bread hitting the wall?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Yeah the pita’s there for sure! I can hear it; no one else will know where it is, but it’s definitely there.
DD: I’ll listen out for it next time! So, because you were in a proper studio there’s (inevitably) a much cleaner, more polished sound. Do you worry about that? You used to do things so DIY…
Jasamine White-Gluz: Yeah, we used to record in our rehearsal space where the walls weren’t even sound proof so you could hear the bands next door. But this studio was at our label Mexican Summer, so it kind of felt like it was home anyway, everybody was really chill and nobody put any pressure on us. It was more we just that we suddenly had access to a mixing board and nice microphone and a piano, which we didn’t have before. It didn’t feel like we were not doing it ourselves, we just had more options.
DD: So does that mean you can each play multiple instruments etc.?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Yeah yeah. There were some nights where I was trashed, like, ”Look at me! I’m Liberace at the piano”. And then I’d listen to the recording the next day and be like, “woah, when did that happen?”
DD: I know you don’t usually like talking about your song names and lyrics but Lunar Phobia and Hare Tarot Lies seem to be to do with superstition? Is that a theme?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Not lyrically, but to do with imagery and themes for artwork and album titles, yes. A lot of the time the lyrics have no correlation with the song titles, but we’re big fans of Art Bell on Coast to Coast AM, which is a big paranormal radio show in syndication, where they talk about demons and ghosts and aliens. We’re obsessed.
DD: And your lyrics, I once heard you say, “Oh I don’t even know what they are.” Do you just kind of ad lib?
Jasamine White-Gluz: On the previous records lyrics were ad-libbed while we were recording because they were more of a melody and then I’d just make it up. With Lunar Phobia, Laura had a guitar loop and I was listening to Screamadelica by Primal Scream a lot, so we knew in our head what we thought we wanted it to sound like, but we really only wrote it as we went. For the rest of Wait To Pleasure I had to put a bit more thought into it because we were in a studio where a lot of people would hear the lyrics and someone was editing my vocals so I would actually have to have something.
DD: No Joy do seem keen to keep the lyrics vague and the band mysterious. Do you try to retain anonymity and do you think that anonymity changes the way we listen to bands?
Jasamine White-Gluz: I think so for sure. I feel like, “just listen to the music”, you know? I write lyrics but I don’t necessarily want people to interpret them in terms of my intention for the song, I just want people to interpret them how they want to interpret them. I feel the same way about the band. We’re in the process of filming a music video right now and we’re trying our hardest not to be in it. We don’t want to show what we look like or have a lot of marketing, that’s distracting for me and it’s not always done very well so I’d rather not do it at all.
DD: So what are you into outside of music? What influences your work?
Jasamine White-Gluz: We’re really into animals [laughs]. I don’t know, are we into anything? Really bad TV? Like terrible reality shows?
DD: Oh no, quick change the subject- if you were a dog or a cat which would you be?
Jasamine White-Gluz: A cat so that I was independent. I do love dogs but I’d be a cat because I need my personal space.
DD: Cats are aloof, as are No Joy. What about Laura?
Jasamine White-Gluz: Laura would definitely be a dog. She’d be a Labrador or retriever 100%. Yin and Yang.
DD: You often seem to get annoyed with journalists asking the same old shit (which is why I had carefully planned to ask you about being a cat or a dog) as well as labelling you genre-wise as shoegaze, or comparing your sound to big bands like Sonic Youth or My Bloody Valentine…
Jasamine White-Gluz: It doesn’t piss us off. It just seems an easy way out. Sure we sound like a shoegaze band but we sound like a bunch of other stuff too; there’s some plain old rock in there, psychedelic music definitely comes through, there’s elements of garage rock too.
Analogue Rock - Stereolab
Music For Evenings - Young Marble Giants
Papa Was A Rodeo - Magnetic Fields
Equal Ways - Clan Of Xymox
I Want You Now And Always - Ice Choir
Knife Prty - Deftones
Sunshine Smile - Adorable
Winona - Drop Nineteens
Hey Man - Spacemen 3