Grassroots approach working for Joy 0
Expect to hear a lot of Vance Joy as the Melbourne native has signed a five-album deal with the famed Atlantic Records label. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
Vance Joy released his debut album, God Loves You When You’re Dancing, in his native Australia earlier this year and the hit single Riptide earned platinum status. Joe Leary spent 24 Seconds with the talented singer/songwriter.
24: You’re Vance Joy, yet there’s another artist named Foy Vance. Does that cause any confusion?
VJ: I got my name out of a novel called Bliss by an Australian author Peter Carey; one of the characters in it is called Vance Joy. I really liked the name and had no idea that Foy Vance even existed. It is quite a coincidence, but I’m just glad he didn’t call himself Vance Foy.
24: You were born James Keogh, why the alias?
VJ: I don’t know … I just felt when you’re making music it didn’t feel comfortable having it under my own name. I just preferred to have it under an alias. Maybe it’s because you have this idea of who you are and some names have a certain ring to them, a sparkle to it, and I didn’t feel that my own name had that. It didn’t inspire much from your imagination where I feel that Vance Joy does. That’s why it was written into a book as well, there’s a certain mystery to it. Also it’s cool to have an umbrella if I want a myriad of different forms.
24: You’re one a number of Australians travelling through Vancouver. What’s with the Australian migration?
VJ: We love skiing and we love travelling. And with travelling it seems to be that Aussies always follow each other, especially here. Word gets around that it’s an amazing place and creates this kind of exodus.
24: What was your first impression of Canada?
VJ: It’s amazing and I feel there’s a certain affinity between Australians and Canadians, maybe our sense of humour or something. The reception here has been really welcoming and warm. People have known not only my single Riptide but some of my other songs as well.
24: You’ve had a lot of success with Riptide in Australia and now you’re breaking into new markets. Do you enjoy having to start over, if you will country by country?
VJ: I like the anonymity and I enjoy the smaller rooms because you get people’s attention. It doesn’t really matter if they know my music or even know me or not, the recognition is a good thing. But if you play to people who don’t know you, if at least they’re open-minded, that’s the best people to play for. If people know you for one song, hopefully they can hear that you have more to offer and see what you are behind a certain three minutes.
24: Can you walk into a room you’ve never played and get an idea of whether it’s a good venue or not?
VJ: I think so. I’m playing solo and it’s always different if you’re playing with a band. I play a lot of small rooms; rooms that allow you have a captive audience.
24: Do you prefer to play solo?
VJ: I like the vibe of musicians backing me, ones that really bring something musically to the table. By yourself is a different thing but you tailor a performance by the dynamic in the room. I like both of them. You can have a great gig solo and a great gig with a band. They both give you a certain level of high.
24: What inspired you musically as a youth?
VJ: I think basically just chords. I had a piano teacher who played Canon by Pachabel and also played me Scarborough Fair and I was moved by them. I would hear something that moved me and she would teach me the song. I just watched her fingers and learned them off by heart. Certain things just clicked with me musically.