The Joy Formidable
The Joy Formidable is a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 2007 in North Wales and currently located in London, England. The band consists of Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan (lead vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals), and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion).
Ritzy Bryan performing at Glastonbury Festival in 2010
Childhood friends Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd originally played together as part of Manchester band Tricky Nixon, which later reformed into Sidecar Kisses. After Sidecar Kisses split up in 2007 they regrouped, returning to their Welsh home town of Mold, and formed The Joy Formidable with Justin Stahley on drums. In July 2008 they released their first official single, "Austere", followed by a Christmas single, "My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees", as a 2008 digital download, and the "Cradle" double 7" in 2009. In January 2009 their self-released debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning, was issued in the UK.
In 2009 they replaced Justin Stahley with Matt Thomas. That April they teamed with a new label started by Passion Pit's Ayad Al Adhamy, Black Bell Records, to release A Balloon Called Moaning in the U.S, earning favourable reviews from NME, The Guardian, The Times, Spin and Pitchfork.
The Big Roar 2010-2011
In 2010, the band signed to Canvasback Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic, and they began to work on their debut album The Big Roar which was recorded in London. Bassist Rhydian Dafydd said that "(it) covers a lot of emotional range. It's captured the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive". The album was produced by The Joy Formidable with help from engineer Neak Menter. The band traveled to Los Angeles to mix it with producer Rich Costey, who had worked with bands such as Mew, Muse, Foo Fighters and Glasvegas.
The Big Roar was released on 24 January 2011 and included early singles "Austere", "Cradle" and "Whirring" as well as two further singles, "I Don't Want to See You Like This" and "A Heavy Abacus". In November 2011 their song "Endtapes" was featured on the The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn film soundtrack.
Wolf's Law 2012-2013
Most of the writing for Wolf's Law was done on the road during the 12-month tour in support of their previous record, The Big Roar. Commenting on the writing process for the album, Bryan explained that the songs for the album were approached with vocals and one accompaniment (either guitar or piano) before being built upon, stating "It's all about the lyrics, the voice and the melody". The vocals and guitars were recorded in January 2012 in Maine, while drums and additional orchestral and choir pieces for the record were scored and recorded by the band in February 2012 in London. Mixing duties for the record were handled by Andy Wallace while the records production was completed by the band. The album title is a reference to Wolff's law, a scientific theory by Julius Wolff which posits that bones may become stronger in response to stress as a form of adaptation. According to Bryan, this relates to one of the major themes of the album which is "relationships on the mend and feeling reinvigorated", continuing that the album feels like the band reconnecting with themselves emotionally and spiritually.
On 23 August 2012 the band released a new song, "Wolf's Law", for free download. Two other singles, "Cholla" and "This Ladder Is Ours", were released in order to promote their second album. Wolf's Law was released on 21 January 2013 in the UK and on the following day in the US.