New Music Tuesday 31 - Hey, Joni

Posted by Alex Bohea on June 03, 2014

A weekly feature here at The Great Divide Blog is our New Music Tuesday; introducing you to an artist or band you may not have heard of. We can’t guarantee that you won’t have heard of them, but if that’s the case, it might give you a little reminder to revisit them sometime soon.

The boys in Kent based emo/punk band Hey, Joni have been kind enough to let us interview them for New Music Tuesday this week. We spoke to them in depth about why you should give them a listen, their Sonic Youth namesake, the new seven-inch and much more. The guys did a pretty good job at introducing themselves so we’ll let them take it away.

TGD: Hey guys, how’s it going?
Not bad thanks!

TGD: Could you introduce yourself and Hey, Joni?
: Sure, you’ve only got 50% of HEY, JONI at the moment as Jack, our lead guitarist is in Bristol and Liam, our mate who’s playing drums on the upcoming tour, is probably at a KFC somewhere *laughs*. But I’m with Matt. I play guitar and sing/shout and Matt plays bass and occasionally shouts. I guess we’re an emo/punk band from Kent.

TGD: So I presume the name comes from the Sonic Youth song? Of all the Sonic Youth songs, why did you pick that one?
Indeed it did! Quite honestly, although Daydream Nation is an incredible album, I personally lean more towards Dirty, so I guess we should have been called Drunken Butterfly or something *laughs*. But Hey Joni is a banger and it felt kinda right when we said it out loud.
Isaac: The comma came into play when we realised we’re pretentious bastards *laughs*.

TGD: If you could describe your sound to someone who hasn’t listened to you before, how would you do it? Why should they give you a listen?
Our main concern during the writing process and playing shows focuses on us having lots of fun and I like to think that’s translated into the stuff we play and the sound we generate. We dig gritty tones and like to keep the guitars pretty melodic. The bass and drums just keep Jack and me in check and keep it upbeat. I’d like to think people would be able to have a quick listen and pick up what we’re about; hearty teenage angst and some catchy riffs.
Not to mention we have the ability to utilise Jack as the shredder he is, for example his ability to play “Through the Fire and Flames” on Guitar Hero provides some perspective *laughs*. As long as we’re playing stuff that makes us want to jump around on stage we can only hope it’ll make you wanna do the same if you came out to a show.

TGD: After a brief period of quiet, you’re back! Can we get an update on what’s going on in the future with Hey, Joni?
Isaac: Currently, we’re not really looking past this summer, but as it’s stacking up, just playing as many shows as we can, revisiting some great countries and exploring some new ones. It feels like a lifetime since we toured properly so we’re all ultra excited! We’re going to be spending two days in Paris recording a new EP, which has got us fully stoked, we’d like to think it’s the best stuff we’ve written so hopefully everyone else will dig it! Paul Pechenart from Guerrilla Poubelle has been great and helped sort out our recording in Paris. He’s also doing us a favour and playing drums on the new EP - exciting!

TGD: You’re going on a UK and European tour with another awesome band, Healing Powers. Can you give us a little info on the tour and what you’re personally expecting from it?
Well, we were really lucky last year as we toured Europe with The Caulfield Cult from Singapore so we’ve been blessed with meeting some great people who have sorted out some shows for us, as well as the fact, as Isaac mentioned above, we’re heading to some new places like Italy and Hungary. The UK is always fun, and with Healing Powers alongside us we’re sure we can make the best of a bad situation if it came to it (just our parents coming to a show).

TGD: If you could book a dream tour with you and three other bands, who would you pick?  
Isaac: Corrrrrrr…threw a curve ball there! We have a bunch of influences and artists that we would give anything to play with. Can we give you a two-pronged answer? Realistically, His & Hers from Brighton. No doubt they’ll mentally de-rail the most stable minded fella with their pure ability to deliver some incredible tunes. Our mates Better Weather are fabulously sassy musicians who have some trumpet-fuelled anthems. Lastly, Bien À Toi, a French Post-Rock powerhouse (also Paul Penchenart’s other band), would be fantastic to tour with.
Matt: Considering our childhood dreams we have a more star-studded list - Biffy Clyro (Infinity Land era), Sonic Youth and Algernon Cadwallader bearing in mind they were one of our largest influences when we started HEY, JONI.

TGD: And the new 7” is being recorded in Paris, right? Why did you choose France?
Yeah! We’re heading out whilst on the Euro Tour, Healing Powers will have to play with lego for a couple days or something *laughs*. Isaac put Paul’s band Bien À Toi on and he confessed how much he liked our stuff. He put it out there and we were instantly game. Luckily it ended up being in Paris, a beautiful city. There were no initial intentions to record in Paris but sometimes shit just lines up!

TGD: As a self-described Kent emo band, how’s the scene in Kent? Any bands you could recommend we listen to?
Isaac: Yeah, the general music scene isn’t bad here. My friend Jamie Finn runs a pretty cool art collective called ‘No-Wave’ who is always putting on diverse indie shows and club nights around Kent. Regarding the more ‘DIY punk scene’ we’re involved with there isn’t loads going on. I’ve been trying to develop a bit more of a scene here recently - putting on house shows and bringing bands from in and around the UK down to Kent. It’s fun! We have a family of Kent-based bands who always come down and play for us, so it seems right to give them a shout! Check out: Tilt Shift, Better Weather (sadly deceased), Holy Pinto! and Charlotte Light & Dark, all great guys and shredders in their own right.

TGD: Thanks so much for your time guys. Any final words?
Thank you for showing us some interest. Just standard stuff we guess. Cheers to everyone who takes the time to give us a listen or come to a show. We’ve met some great people so far, and we hope the good times keep rollin’.

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