‘deeper in every sensation’ | Interview with Theorem of Joy

Refreshingly unconventional. Exceptional songwriting. Wish we could erase the first time we listened to this so that we could be shocked again.

Read our interview with Theorem of Joy below.

Describe your sound in three words please! 

Jazz – Post Rock – Impressionist (as French musical current Ravel, Lili Boulanger).

How did the band members meet and formed Theorem of Joy

We’ve all done the same jazz school near Paris, called ‘Centre des Musiques Didier Lockwood’.  

As you return with a second album release, how would you say your sound has changed since your debut album? 

Well, this album goes in a more clear direction, especially on the form the song. I try to go more clearly in each mood and deeper in every sensation. There was also a great collaboration with François Vaiana, the song writer. I talked with him about the thematic and the stories off the composition and he wrote 4 texts and encouraged to write the last one «de l’autre coté du silence ». 

In this album we go deeper in the sound, deeper in this research off jazz mixed with this post rock song.. 

In Atoll we can spot influences from bands like Radiohead for example but with a clear tendency to a more unconventional  form. Is there a way to communicate this Jazz crossover to a wider audience? Is commercial success something that you aim for? 

Well I’m definitely a big fan off Radiohead, I listened so much when I was younger. Playing the tunes when I was learning guitar, before I was learning up right bass in the conservatory. So if we talk about this song it really comes from an acoustic guitar arpeggio with a mix off jazz chords and chords with open strings. So basically, you can play the tune on the beach!! But after that the song is in 5/8, and this is not so common for a pop song you have a big vocal solo in the middle, you get also some big harmonic colour gap for example in the bridge (FM7 – BM7/F# – Cmaj7/G – Ab6). But the melody leads the direction so it’s not hard or weir to ear.   About the audience I would say that I don’t force my music to go in a specific way «because off à potential audience», but the rock, the post rock is mixed with my knowledge off Jazz, Classical music, and my curiosity to Arabic and Indian music. 

The melody in Atoll is very well-crafted. Can this melody be a result of a collaborative work or does the main idea have to be the product of a single mind? Tell us a few things about your creative process. 

I write all the music, chord melody, Counterpoint off the violin. After we try it with the band, I listen the recording and I make correction. I take the decision but I really listen to  the feedback off my musicians. First because they are great! And even if I’m the leader, it’s important that everybody expresses himself and feel involved in the creation process.  

Creating music or performing live? Which one is your favourite and why? 

It’s the same process for me, taking different forms. On live I’m more focused on the flexibility of the music, the interaction between musicians. Because we are jazz musicians each concert is different. We try to explore the song, we try to keep the music « fresh »! For the studio I’m really focused on the orchestration, the sound, the meaning off each  song… I have a super collaboration with Cyrille Gachet, my sound engineer. He’s like a co leader with me in the studio, we really talk about the music, and we really try to go in the meaning of each song.  

Which artists have been most influential for you, as a band and as individuals? 

For Jazz : Dave Holland, The Bad Plus, Brad Mehldau Trio –  Charles Loyd – Coltrane – Miles – Dexter Gordon  Post Rock : The Silver mount Zion – GSYBE –  

Folk : Nick Drake –  

Rock : Radiohead – The smashing pumpkins – Nirvana ( Go 90’s !!) 

Trip Hop : The Cinematic Orchestra – Bjork – Portishead  Classical : Ravel – Lili Boulanger – Stravinski – Prokofiev –  Olivier Messian  

World : Hariprasad Chaurasia – Fairuz – Anouar Braehem – Steve Reich  

You have some live performances planned for this summer in various countries. What would be your dream performance venue? 

Our release is in Paris at «studio de l’ermitage» on the 17th June, we have à tour in Asia on October 2021. We hope we’ll able to play…  It would be lovely to play outside Europe, and for first getting back on stage. Getting out off this situation with the virus, I think that it’s really important that we come back fast on stage for real life, real public, and real contact. Music is a live art, it’s about meeting people and share something, it can not happen just on the web!

Thanks Theorem of Joy!

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Listen to Theorem of Joy and other artists we feature in our Spotify Playlist “Dark Chocolate

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