Joelle Corey (left) and Anna Feller (right) compose Los Angeles-based duo Joyeur. (Photo by Jessica Chanen)
Santiago Canyon College

Interview: Joyeur redefines modern pop music and empowers women in the music industry with debut EP ‘LIFEEATER’

Viral hits and overnight sensations with limited longevity that lack true artistry have recently flooded the music industry leaving a desire for sustainable artists with undeniable talent to revive the industry. Enter Los Angeles-based female pop duo Joyeur.

Though Los Angeles native Joelle Corey and Russia-Israeli Anna Feller grew up on opposing sides of the world, their music tastes paralleled and led to a common interest in electronic and pop music. Flash forward and the duo whose friendship and partnership formed in Los Angeles found rising stardom with a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Pride” released to Soundcloud on April 20, 2017.

A mere year and a half later, Joyeur is releasing their self-written, recorded, and produced debut EP “LIFEEATER” on October 5, featuring lead single “Fast As You Can” and four fellow tracks: “Pusher,” “Heartbreak At The Disco,” “Daisies,” and “Dance With Me.” A seemingly overwhelming task for artists on the rise, yet described as a natural process while reinforcing women’s prevalence in the music industry.

Captivating a fun, flirty pop sound seeping with eclectic influences from popular 90s music like N.E.R.D to the iconic guitar sounds of Lou Reed, it sounds as if Florence Welch released a dance record. Resulting in an uncategorial sound that is redefining modern pop music.

What prompted the decision to self-write, record, and produce your debut EP “LIFEEATER”?

Joelle Corey: “When we started working together we were really working off of the piano and vocals. It was just that. Anna [Feller] is a classical pianist, she’s incredible, and we were just kind of playing around the piano and vocals. She’s always been producing, but really I feel like we kind of never really thought about producing our own stuff. And then, it just kind of, we fell into it when Anna started doing it. And we realized we don’t need a drummer, we don’t need this or that, we can just do it all ourselves. Kind of just happened by necessity and default.”

Anna Feller: “I think that me and Jo [Joelle Corey] when we started we did the piano arrangements, and it was fun, and then we had the band. And we felt that we just really, really connected between just Jo and I. So, it [was] going to be so much work to train [a band] when we can just work together, and just create our own thing without explaining ourselves to the guitar player or to the drummer. Just to be free and since then, I think that, we really started to feel that everything falls into place.”

Musically, what direction are you taking the EP?

JC: “I think for us, the direction we are going for the EP, which we’re releasing in October, I feel is sort of electronic, funky pop. It has a lot of horns, and some throwback 90s songs, it has some interesting sort of like guitar parts that remind us of Lou Reed, and have a lot of our musical influences ingrained in it. I think the hardest thing to do is to describe your music, but for us, it’s more about the experience we have making it. So if we feel whenever we start a song or production, whichever route we’re taking or avenue we’re taking to start a song, we just have to feel it and have fun making it. And if it’s not there we drop it. And I think that’s part of who we are. But I feel like it’s so annoying to be like indie electronic pop. I feel like that is really generic, but for us, I think we always try to see it differing for ourselves like ‘indiepiza’ or ‘dance funk pop.’ I think it’s the experience of us making it that really matters, and for us, it just has to be really … we have to find ourselves in that fun flow moment of creation that we first get while working on something. And it’s just happening and that sort of genius that’s given to each and every creator on earth is just flowing and happening. I think that’s where we come from. It’s more of the experience.”

AF: “We do love drums and percussion, and also our songs are made very … the drums and the percussion and the rhythmical patterns, the elements of that are really strong in our songs. And I think what ties everything together is Joelle’s unique vocals. The uniquity, or sound of her vocals, but also the great way she expresses herself and the way she writes really, really ties everything together — the one sonic sound.”

What musical elements and artist influence your sound?

AF: “Me and Jo were very influenced by music since we were kids, so we bring a lot from the past into the studio as well. For me, going back to those rhythmical patterns, Pharrell Williams has a lot of influence on how I do arrangements and how I think when I create a beat, [and] Missy Elliot. So, a lot of also organic instrumentation that comes from a more rock background I would say.”

JC: “I think, actually it’s funny while you were saying that, because I feel like … Anna and I grew up on different sides of the world, and we still somehow were listening to the same music. A lot of different music as well, but I was always entranced by N.E.R.D and their sound and how it just was all disturbing sound guitars and these drums, and a lot of the new songs on the EP have those elements and is things that I grew up on. In addition to these sort of soulful Stevie Wonder songs, that sort of, I feel like my interest in that type of music comes into play a little more in the writing. But it’s really interesting how Anna and I both love electronic music, we are really attracted to electronic music … I think we really love the combination of like raw, soulful music with electronic music. And so, to put those two things together, we always try to find, ‘How is this, sort of like a primal feeling, mixed with something refined?’ I think trying to find the balance between those two traits in music, we both came to on our own, but then together has that same taste. Although I came from more a pop background in terms of what we were listening to, we both started looking to a lot the same music and being influenced by even Top 40s music and it’s all related on the long[run], but I do feel like N.E.R.D and some of these bands that use such different elements to make up one thing, we really appreciate those fine sounds and subtleties that they bring in, that I think we both really appreciate that.”

Looking back at your musical breakout in 2017 with a cover of Kendrick Lamar’s “Pride,” why did you select this song?

JC: “Anna has always been very enthusiastic about doing a cover, and me too, but I know she was always like, ‘We should do a cover. We should do a cover.” And it just happened naturally. When it [“DAMN.” by Kendrick Lamar] came out, we were so … we really loved the album. And I was sort of obsessing over a writer, this female writer Anna Wise who also has a solo project that you should definitely check out, she’s amazing, and I realized that she had been performing with him and she was writing with him. And then, that [“Pride”] was one of the main songs she wrote on and we just really liked the songs. But I think we really appreciated her part in that as well, but it just seemed really natural because we were already listening to that song over and over again. And we just realized though, ‘I kind of want to remake this.’ Anna, I felt like that was the track that you were attracted to as well, and musically.”

AF: “The way Joelle was [able to] execute that whole melody for a rap segment, and when we just started playing around with it I was like, ‘This is it. This is so good.’ And we just fell in love with the song, and how it kind of flowed, and how the melody just came out of Joelle on top of that rap segment.”

Why did you select music as your medium to open the dialogue about prevalent topics, such as social media stalking in “Fast As You Can”?

JC: “Anna had given me this beat on loop that was just brilliant, and in fact, when she gave it to me she said, ‘Oh, you know, it’s probably not for Joyeur, but you can hear it and listen to it.’ It was this interesting approach, and handing it over I almost said, ‘Do you want me to work on this?’ And she just really didn’t think I was going to like it, and when I heard it I was in love. I was in the car, I remember when I heard it, and I vaguely wrote the song driving over to her place. When we got there we just kept working on it, and developing some of the sounds we wanted in to hear. And then, writing that topic was just sort of … it was interesting because I was in a place, I was in a relationship where I felt like I was constantly chasing this person to give me very basic things. And I think that’s not his way to the cost of, you know, just constantly chasing after this person, and then it just evolved from that personal experience to this overarching, very relative situation that people find themselves in that’s just … wanting to get to know someone and wanting to obtain *laughs* this person or like object of your obsession. And I felt like it’s easy to kind of … sort of wanted to normalize the idea that we’re all watching each other and we’re all looking at each other’s photos. We have this crazy access to each other’s lives, and you know, just take away the shame of watching someone, wanting them from afar, and wanting to get to know them in real life. And sort of like keeping up with them, or slipping into someone’s DMs. It’s this weird experience of identity where you get to know someone not even being in the same room as someone, and it’s really weird. And you can feel weird about it, but I just wanted to put some thought into that and I guess that’s kind of where it went. Also, I’m just a big creep. A creep at heart obviously.”

AF: “I think for me, music is … I know three languages and music is my fourth language I want to say. I started playing since I was really young, so for me, expressing myself with music is sometimes even easier than any other self-expression tool. So for me, music can  actually physically hit you right in your body. Like you feel bass, you feel it in your body. Or if you feel the drums, you feel them in your body resonate. So I feel like, with music [the] message goes through so much stronger than any other medium. I would say for me at least, because that’s what I know how to do best. And I feel like for us as musicians, songwriters, and producers we can paint the picture much more clearly using those tools, and hopefully we send the message to a variety of women and girls and we can actually have influence in that matter.”

JC: “I agree. I also feel like music can inquire interpretation and that allows for multiple messages to be sent with even one song or one moment. I feel like everyone can be having their own experience and that really makes it something unique and universal.”

Pending the release of “LIFEEATER,” follow Joyeur on Instagram and Twitter @itsjoyeur, visit their official website http://www.itsjoyeur.com, and view the official music video for “Fast As You Can” directed by Hallie Cooper-Novack.

 

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