What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I think the first time I really noticed music on a deeper level than what was playing on the radio/MTV all the time was as a kid in the late 90s when I started hearing bands like Danzig and Radio Birdman in skateboard videos. Once I started digging into my dad’s collection of 80s metal tapes I was obsessed and I knew I had to figure out how to make music myself. I started learning guitar around age 11 or 12, then got into drums quickly after that, and bass has been my main instrument for the last 7 years or so. Joy Cleaner came to be after several years of Joey and I playing in a bunch of bands together and then deciding to finally start one that we would take seriously, and focus on trying to write songs that actually had some decent hooks as opposed to just being obnoxiously noisy and/or goofy which is what we had been doing previously.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Our new album is called “You’re So Jaded” and it’s a collection of 10 songs that were written between summer 2017 and spring 2019. Joey and I started to write a few of the songs almost immediately after releasing our first album, but didn’t get around to finishing most of them until Justin joined the band late in the spring of 2018. Like almost all of our previous output, this album was produced by Josh Evensen of Where Is My Spaceship.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I think our main musical influences are right on our sleeve: bands like The Posies, first album-era Fountains Of Wayne, etc, are the big ones. I think once in a while my love of death metal spills out into our nice little pop songs in a subtle way. The solo at the end of “Phlox” is played over a chord progression that sounds to me like it could be a wimpy version of a riff from a song by Entombed or Dismember or some Swedish early 90s band.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I think we’re a bit heavier than most power pop/indie pop bands since we tune our guitars down a full step and use a lot of big distorted guitars, especially on the new album. I don’t know a lot of bands, at least in our scene (except for Trü, they’re amazing. Check them out if you dig our band) that are really heavy but also have a lot of nice vocal harmonies. It’s usually one or the other.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
Carcass – “Heartwork”
Sandy Denny – “Rendezvous”
Electric Light Orchestra – “A New World Record”
Terminator 2: Judgement Day
I’m honestly not much of an avid reader, but I do love biographies of hard-partying self-destructive celebrities so:
Chris Farley Show by Tom Farley Jr. and Tanner Colby
Professional Idiot by Stephen “Steve-O” Glover
The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Nikki Sixx, Vince Neil, Mick Mars, Tommy Lee and Neil Strauss
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I’ll take performing live. The studio is good and fun and it’s so rewarding to put all that work into making a record once it all comes together but I’m a bit burned out after making this last album, to tell the truth. I chose to stay sober during all the recording sessions just to see if it made the album come out better (it did) but now I’m ready to party on tour.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
The other day Joey and I were telling someone about how we were on tour last summer and the cargo shell on top of the car opened up while we were driving to a show and some our stuff got sucked out of it. So Justin and I hung out with the car on the side of the road while Joey and our friend (Brooklyn-based artist Kevin Durkin) were running around on the Pennsylvania turnpike trying to grab their clothes and sleeping gear that flew out on to the highway.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I’ll go ahead and nominate “See Through” for most unique track. So far it’s the only Joy Cleaner song that was written by Joey, Justin and myself all together.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
What’s next for little old Joy Cleaner… we’ll probably take a break from recording albums and star in a series of major motion pictures over the course of the 2020s.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
Q: What is Justin’s most frequently uttered Macho Man Randy Savage quote?
A: No more questions!
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
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