Indie-Rock band Joy Again were before their time.
Back in 2016, they released their single, “Looking Out For You.” The nostalgic banjo earworm had all the ingredients of a bop, but went under the mainstream radar.
Six years later, with the help of TikTok, their single has made a resurgence that has launched the song into virality and the band into the spotlight.
In November 2021, Joy Again introduced old and newly earned fans to their evolved sound with the release of their Arista Records debut, “What Lovers Do.”
We chatted and laughed with Sachi, Arthur, Blaise, Zachary, Will, and Kieran about TikTok, new music, and more!
Excerpt from the podcast:
In those early days of the band, you released the song, “Looking Out For You,” which now, five or six years later, is making a resurgence on Tik Tok. What has that been like to see that come back?
Sachi: It’s been funny. It’s weird because when I wrote the original demo, Arthur did a demo of it, and then we did like the full version in the studio, I kind of always thought it was going to be our big song, but I thought that back then, and then I kind of learned to just f*cking let go of that because nothing happened. And now, years later being on Tik Tok and being used by like the biggest TikTok and their little f*cking videos.
Do you guys remember who figured out it was going viral first, or how you figured it out and where you were?
Sachi: My girlfriend. We were sitting down together at my parents’ house and she was like, ‘oh, “Looking Out For You” has like 600 videos on Tik Tok.’ And then the next day it had 800. And then the day after it had like 1200, and then it just exponentially grew from there. That was almost like two years ago too.
Arthur: It was like right before COVID I remember. I remember I was like, I was at work and just being like, what the f*ck? Like this is nuts. And then it was just kind of like, I guess, a good godsend that I didn’t have to work during the pandemic because of that song.
How has your music evolved since that song?
Arthur: Just way different because that was a song that we worked on when we were like 17 or 18, so your juniors. It was during the Snowball, 16 or 17. It was probably 16 snowball. You were at Snowball and you sent me the banjo and the vocals.
Sachi: Yeah, because I never stayed at school.
Arthur: We went to boarding school.
How was that?
Arthur: Awful. I hated it.
Sachi: I liked it because I went to public school before that and it was miserable. I would just go home and smoke weed with my sister. It was awesome. If you could have your parents sign you out because it was in loco parentis, so it’s like in absence of your parents they were basically your parents. It was kind of a scary place to be, but I lived around the corner, so I just would tell my mom and be like, ‘call me out.’ And then my sister picked me up and we’d smoke weed and cigarettes.
Speaking of music, you released a new single, “What Lovers Do.” What inspired that song?
Sachi: I don’t know what inspired it. I just kind of wrote it. I guess just thinking about relationships and stuff like that. It was originally acoustic and then it went through a bunch of rounds, and Blaze played keyboard on it.
Arthur: It was reggae at one point too.
Sachi: Yeah. There was a little reggae version going around. It went through a lot of phases and then it kind of landed on that crazy, ambient shit. I bought a couple of pieces of gear that really kinda made the record for me. Just pumping Blaze’s keys through different outward gear and stuff like that. Just distorting the shit out of stuff.
In terms of the writing and production process, did the lyrics come first or was it the sound and melody first?
Sachi: I guess it all kind of came at once when I was ready because I wrote it on an acoustic guitar. I had this little riff that I was playing and then the lyrics came to me very quickly, which is kind of unusual for me. It usually takes a really long time, but for both “What Lovers Do” and “Looking Out For You,” those are the two songs that came to me very quickly.
Blaze: Yeah, I guess, whatever I was playing with the keyboard part, I guess like the main versus keyboard part in the song that was, um, for awhile, I was just trying to replicate what the riff that he wrote on guitar and the last thing that I had recorded before I was going to like send him what I played was the part that ended up being like the main verse part, the keyboard part of the song we starts with. That was kind of like an afterthought. It was just kinda like, ‘oh, I’ll just try something like this and throw that in there.’ That ended up being like the one that stuck, which was nice. At that time, the song had drums on it and stuff like the reggae version they were talking about. One day me and our friend Caleb, we were in New York, this was like last, I wanna say October. We were just like, ‘oh, why don’t we just try and make a version of the song where it’s just all keyboards.’ And we just kind of went in and did that for like a couple hours and it kind of ended up like a lot smaller version of what it is.
Listen to the rest of our interview with Joy Again here!