North Wales recently has been in the news due to the Royal Wedding, as Prince William and Princess Catherine will now call that home until William is king. Yet, while the rest of the world worries about what Catherine will wear grocery shopping, all I ponder is -- have they heard of Joy Formidable? The Joy Formidable are the magnificent three piece rock outfit from North Wales that has been gaining so much attention in 2011, it is poised to become one of the biggest rock bands on the plant. With a push from various publications such as NME and the Guardian to having us tap them as one of the "15 Artists to Watch in 2011," Joy Formidable are not disappointing, in fact, Dave Grohl has just gone out to praise the band's debut, The Big Roar. I have been proudly tracking the band's success, and in an exclusive interview we caught up with singer Ritzy Bryan on the band's recent trip to the US where we discussed the band's formation, being from Wales, success and playing with Sir Paul McCartney. Take a look at our interview with the wonderful Ritzy below.
Starting off, you and Rhydian played together in Tricky Nixon and Sidecar Kisses; was it odd having Matt who never played with you both before join the band and jam? How did you link up with Matt?
RB: It wasn't odd at all, our previous guises are so unrelated to The Joy Formidable and the chemistry with Matt was apparent from the very first rehearsal. We were looking for a drummer; the main criteria was that they looked like Freddie Mercury mixed with Matt Bellamy and Russell Brand. It was difficult, but we got there in the end.
You and Rhydian seem to be involved with bands that have clever names. Where did Joy Formidable come from?
RB: We'd just started writing together, Rhydian and I, and those words together, the joy formidable, could have been a lyric or a title, but somehow they united everything that we were becoming.
Many bands these days seem to form and once they get noticed the record is out. You formed in 2007; you finally released your debut in 2010; what took so long?
RB: We haven't felt tied to a traditional structure of releasing music, we've tended to be more spontaneous with our output. Since we formed we've done a mini-album and a live album, we've released singles and one-off tracks as and when they've been written. Running parallel, we've been making the album and touring extensively. There are no time limits, the most important thing is quality and being able to evolve naturally as artists.
Being from Wales, was it harder to get noticed in the UK than other acts?
RB: The Welsh scene is very vibrant, but for a long time it's been focused in South/Mid Wales. We're from North Wales and the biggest obstacle was having enough places to play, but it's getting better. Ultimately, with the power of the World Wide Web you can reach audiences aplenty, but it'll never replace the actual experience of going to a show.
The acts that break from Wales -- Stereophonics, Marina and the Diamonds -- seem to break really big internationally. Are the Joy Formidable the next big Welsh band, or does that not even matter to you?
RB: We're ambitious, we'd like to put North Wales on the musical map, but we don't give a f*ck about being called "the next big this" or "the next big that." Time is the biggest critic.
As a band getting the opportunity to open for Paul McCartney, how much of a dream was that? Did you get to meet Sir Paul?
RB: We did meet him, he was very friendly and welcoming and his set was just fantastic. The Manics were brilliant as well, it was an inspiring day.
Your reception at Glastonbury last year was very well received; how does that make you feel being one of the praised acts from the world's greatest festival?
RB: I've been going to Glastonbury for many years, so we were excited by the invite. We opened the Other Stage on the same weekend as the Paul McCartney show, so a very happy, surreal couple of days. It's a great festival.
Overall what has the experience of being in this band been for you?
RB: It's very intimate, very heartening, all-consuming and mostly chaotic.
A version of this appears on Officially A Yuppie.