Thanks to Twihards and Dave Grohl alike, 2011 has been a breakout year for the Joy Formidable. The rapturous pop-rock trio from London has opened stadiums for the Foo Fighters, landed a coveted spot on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack and built buzz at major festivals – all while they prepare to record their second album.
As lead singer/guitarist Ritzy Bryan tells Rolling Stone, the band has loved their time on the road. “We released our album just before South by Southwest and that was our first [time at the festival]. It was chaotic to the extreme, but we very much enjoyed it. We did nine shows,” she says. “We opened the main stage at quite a lot of festivals: Lollapalooza, Reading and Leeds. I think particularly Reading and Leeds were real nostalgic moments because they supported us when we were kind of a baby band three years ago. We started on their introducing stages.”
At the moment, the band (which includes bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matt Thomas) is enjoying similarly vast crowds in their stint as the opening act for the Foo Fighters. Recruited by Dave Grohl after he heard a song from their debut album, The Big Roar, on a British radio station, the Joy Formidable were invited to open a handful of dates. Says Bryan of the Foos, “They’re such a good live band – we’re very, very honored to be opening up the night for them. They’re very respectful to the bands they take on tour and the importance of camaraderie is a big thing on their tours. That’s definitely an ethos that we abide by when we go out on the road with different bands as well.” There are additional perks to traveling with the Wasting Light rockers, as well: “We all like a good story and I think Mr. Grohl is one of the very best storytellers around. We have a lot of fun backstage, lots of giggles,” she adds.
To cap off their triumphant year, the band’s track “Endtapes” recently snared a spot on the upcoming Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack. While Bryan admits that she’s not familiar with the films or books, something she says always “horrifies and disgusts everybody,” she is aware of the musical acts that have come before them in the series. “They’ve always had great artists before and their soundtracks are always very, very strong. And they support new bands as well,” she says. “In our flatmate’s office, there are some people who are ridiculously excited. A lot of them are middle-aged women, apparently. We’ll wait and see if the guys [in the band] get a huge female admiring.”
Now that the Joy Formidable counts rock stars and Twihards in its fan base, the band is eager to record their follow-up to The Big Roar. “We’ve written a lot. There are a lot of songs, a lot of threads of songs and we’re just enjoying the process of writing at the moment without trying to make too much sense of it,” she says of the record, slated for release next year. “We’re very excited next year to have another album out there. We’ve had a lot of different releases and they’ve come out at different times in different countries…so creatively, we’re looking forward to coming out with everything together. Kind of a clean slate, if you like.”