Interview: The Joy Formidable

Welsh alt-rockers The Joy Formidable are currently causing quite a stir with their new music video. Lifted from their forthcoming third studio album ‘Hitch’, ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’ is all about objectification – an amalgamation of sexualised footage. But it’s not what you think. The Joy Formidable has replaced the female form with near-naked men as the subjects of objectification. As seen through a female gaze, ‘Last Thing On My Mind’ is a power shift that highlights this double standard and corrects a sexist imbalance that is present in the media.

We chewed the fat with Ritzy Bryan from The Joy Formidable about feminism, sexuality and why naked men’s bodies are beautiful.

The objectification of women in modern music videos is considered socially acceptable, yet when the tables are turned there is an outcry. Was this the rationale behind your music video, to highlight these double standards? 

It was part of the rationale; I guess we knew that the video would stir a conversation on gender quality, for better or worse! There’s been some outcry and it has exposed double standards in both sexes, which is interesting. It shows how people get conditioned to thinking in a particular way. We’ve had some great comments too, it’s got people fired up whether they love it or hate it.

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Would you consider yourselves feminists?

Yes, absolutely. All three of us. A lack of equality affects both men and women – it’s not just a female issue.

 

Have you encountered sexism in the industry?

Yes I have. In the early days I had some guys in the industry who didn’t know how to take me; they thought if I was a woman fronting a guitar band I should dress and carry myself in a particular way, and they’d reference other female artists. Now, that can happen whether you’re male or female in this industry, some arsehole saying “Do that, wear this”, but there’s not been as many female-fronted rock bands, so you come up against an even more narrow perspective. Either way, I’ve always fought it or ignored it; I’m comfy in my own skin and I like to challenge what’s expected. Has it been harder establishing ourselves because of it? Maybe. The industry is also full of great, forward-thinking people, so you just have to work it out, ditch the idiots and work with the ones who get it.

 

Your music video represents a heterosexual women’s perspective of male nudity – do you think women are often condemned for expressing their sexuality?

There’s quite a lot of narrow-mindedness and stereotyping when it comes to what women find sexy, and not just from men either. One recurring denial regarding the video was that no woman could possibly find the penis attractive! Men and women flatly stating that on our video. Surely we all have the freedom to be turned on by different things, as long as we’re not hurting each other – what happened to ‘to each his own’? I think the male form is beautiful – cock included.

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Is male nudity beautiful?

Yes, absolutely, turkey giblets and all. I’m joking, it’s fucking lovely.

 

Is ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’ sexist?

No, it’s not condoning objectification at all, just offering a different perspective.

 

You are due to go on tour later this month, what’s should we expect?

Got some great new material for you lot and we’re fired up and ready to start touring again after 12 months in the studio.

 

What’s next for 2016? 

The album’s out in March, there’ll be live dates worldwide and we get to go to South America for the first time. After that we’re going to make a live record (been promising that for ages), and we’ve started writing a book.

 

Describe The Joy Formidable in 3 words.

Bunch of shitbags.

  • There you have it! Check out the video for ‘The Last Thing On My Mind’ below.