Joy Wants Eternity @ John in the Morning at Night 9/22
photo by Dan Muller
Interview by Rachel LeBlanc:
For our KEXP John in the Morning at Night show, we were proud to have Joy Wants Eternity as the opener for the on-air show. I caught up with guitarist Michael Sterling for a moment to get the scoop on their recent tour, Beep Repaired and for his spot on local scene-focused “glocal” documentary. If you want a soundtrack to listen to while reading the interview, check out this track:
Me: So I believe you’re the one who placed the ad in The Stranger for the call of musicians, which initially brought in 17 responders. Do you place ads quite often? [imagine a smirky tone]
[Laughs] Ha ha, no no, I’ve had all my fantasies fulfilled from just that one.
I noticed every other interview or media article seems intent on the fact your sound is “post-rock.” But, personally what type of music do you guys listen to?
Everything, definitely. It’s funny because we’ll do an interview for a post-rock focused media outlet, and they’ll start tossing out the names of this or that post-rock band. We’ll tell them we have no idea who they’re talking about, and they’ll act shocked! As if we know all about the genre because we have that sound.
You went on West Coast tour earlier this year — what is a really interesting story that happened?
It was crazy to have people come out from the internet. A 17-year old kid from nearby Oakland, CA, emailed us to ask if there was anyway we could try to sneak him into the 21+ show we were playing in the city. We suggested that maybe they could pretend to be roadies for us or something. When we arrived to the show, there were these two very shy kids standing out front. They admitted they had driven over an hour just to try to sneak into this show and see us. But the doorman at the club was very strict — he even asked us for our I.Ds. The kids weren’t able to get in, but we still hung out talked to them for about 45 minutes, maybe an hour. We could tell they were nervous just to talk to us! It was a very humbling experience.
There are now videos added to your shows as a backdrop. Do you ever become distracted by them yourself while playing a set?
Yeah, [laughs] I do sometimes. I’m the one who puts them together, and I usually try to time them with the set. I get distracted sometimes watching them to make sure we’re on time.
Do you ever look around and notice the other guys watching?
[laughs] Yeah, sometimes I’ll look around and they’ll be looking up at the screen.
You are part of the label Beep Repaired, as well as their Family Orchestra. What is the story behind the “orchestra”?
The birth of the Family Orchestra came about from the band Dark Meat, who play with 20 people on stage. Beast, Please Be Still was going on tour with them, and they thought it would be cool to form a similar large orchestra as well. As we are friends and on the same label, they asked if we would want to be part of it. The Family Orchestra is made up of about three bands and various individual musicians. It was really easy for us because we share a practice space with Beast, Please Be Still. We’ve only had two shows, the second we all dressed up in costumes. I was a pirate, there was a penguin, and a band conductor.
Also, the documentary Glocal incorporated you. How were you involved and what are the details?
A group of film makers traveled all across the world, documenting the local music scenes where they went.
Wow, it’s about time someone did that!
Yes, definitely. They contacted Beep Repaired and asked if we’d like to be featured. They came out and taped a show, then interviewed us about the local music scene. It’s still in the works to be released though.
Now that you’ve done all of this, what is currently going on with the band?
We’re just taking a break, working on new material. If an interesting show was offered to us, we’d definitely be willing to come out.