The world of pop music is laced with hidden gems. Around every corner, hiding behind the big radio hits and sometimes mediocre chart toppers, are new arrivals to the scene, sporting unknown names and fresh appeal. When digging into one of these findings, a rush of excitement washes over the listener. In the best of these moments, hearing these songs for the first time can feel like listening to the future.
Joyeur are a relatively new arrival on the scene, and their freshest single “Fast As You Can” is a bright gemstone of pop music. The brainchild of producer Anna Feller and songwriter Joelle Corey, Joyeur’s “FAYC” is a booming pop cut, lush with unique productions and tribal rhythms, and an anthemic chorus to tie it all together, worming itself into your ear. It’s an exciting thing to hear, as it’s polished pop surface seems to be begging for a spot on radio charts in the near future.
“FAYC” isn’t Joyeur’s only venture thus far, though. And it’s certainly not a fluke. The duo are in high-gear, ready to premiere new music within the coming days, and are scheduled to make their official debut with an EP, titled LIFEAFTER, this October. Like this first single, the full EP packs in plenty more ear-catching moments, exceptional pop flavors, and endlessly repeatable plays.
With so much on the horizon for the duo, #WomenCrush Music caught up with Anna and Joelle to discuss their origins, inspirations, and the creation of “Fast As You Can…”
Prior to forming Joyeur together, what projects were you individually involved with?
Joelle Corey: I was rather a closeted creator before we met. Anna spent a lot of time at the piano and although she was producing other artists and I was getting into the studio as well, we were both still coming into ourselves as artists. Our collaboration was the one that instilled artistic confidence in each of us and really brought each of us to life.
Anna, you have experience as a classical pianist. How has that aided or affected your skill in production?
Anna Feller: This is a great question! I started learning as a child, so reading and playing music became second nature to me. Understanding the language of music, the complicity of rhythmical patterns, different arrangements, understanding how instruments work and their limitations has helped me to be able to express myself musically. I am a strong believer in the phrase "learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist".
What were some of your inspirations in production on "Fast As You Can?”
Anna: I was very inspired by Afro-House music at the time I produced FAYC. The rhythmical patterns and how they shifted from one section to the other really made me feel something. I wanted to make something raw and intense, yet playful. I knew Jo would love the trumpet because she is a fan of horns and live instrumentation. In my mind, I was like “I have to make Jo like it” and that inspired me to add the trumpet.
Along with the production, what inspired the songwriting and topics explored on the track?
Joelle: From its inception, this primal, almost trap-like beat had one topic ingrained in its DNA: movement. I felt it from the moment I heard it. The lyrics poured out. I was going through a rough relationship in which I felt I was always chasing my man. Unknowingly, I think I channeled that and found power in normalizing unrequited love and obsession. At the end of the song, you hear enthusiastic layered vocals which very quickly return to a whisper. I think that’s me trying to keep my cool with so much brewing inside.
You mentioned that this song really brought you out of your shell as a duo and helped you embrace your sound. What was the process of creating this track like and what did you learn in that process?
Joelle: Anna and I learned a lot about each other with FAYC. It was surprising to her that I would be so in love with this track. It really showed that respectively we were both ready to move toward a slightly left-of-center voice, but it was cool that we both arrived at the same point on our own. We allowed each other ample freedom on both the songwriting and production side while giving input and ideas, but we really just learned how well we work together. There’s a lot of trust.
You created a lot of buzz with your cover of Kendrick's "PRIDE." What was it that drew you to that song to record your own version?
Anna: I’ve always wanted to put out a cover with Joyeur and when Kendrick’s last album came out, we were both blown away. It was only natural. We’re big fans of Anna Wise who writes and sings with Kendrick. She was on this track so we were particularly attracted to it. In a town like LA, “Pride” just seemed so fitting.
You’ve made it a priority to rally for expanding female roles in the industry. What experiences have you had in your own journey through the field that have really made an impact on you?
Joelle: Before we exposed our band dynamic, we had a small group of people hear our pre-released music. It’s shocking how most listeners within the music industry and otherwise thought that our music was produced by some mysterious man behind the curtain. In this modern age, it is still common for people to presume the credit belongs to a man. It’s not that we’re against male talent—far from it. It’s the fact that a solid track coming from a female producer is still somehow a surprise to most.
It’s really not limited to producers and engineers. One comment I’ve repeatedly heard in some form or another about female artists in the music industry from outsiders—and friends even—is “she probably doesn’t write her own songs.” I just wonder if that presumption is made about male artists…
What are some of the biggest things you want to see changed for women in the industry?
Anna: I want to see women producers simply be called producers, not female producers, just producers. Or just musicians or engineers. The title “female” or “women” by itself legitimizes that this is an exception and something unusual, but we are not there yet. I do understand the importance nowadays to state that this producer or engineer is a woman so it can inspire girls, but I really hope that in the future we won't have to state that.
Joelle: Things have really changed over the past 10-20 years in the cultural setting, but still so much value is placed on female sexuality within the arts and society in general. I think men have the privilege to enjoy creative endeavors without that concern. We’re getting there too, but Anna and I have actually taken meetings together to avoid being put in uncomfortable positions with powerful men and unfortunately that reality we still live in.
Who are some other women that are really inspiring you in music right now?
Joelle: We are really digging Tash Sultana, Y La Bamba, Grimes, Santigold, and Florence & The Machine’s new album. Paying attention to song-writer Emily Warren as well—she’s on a few of the latest Dua Lipa songs. Just highly evolved, involved creators—we’re all for it. We just keep our eyes and ears on hard-working women (and men) in pop and every genre because it’s those who inspire us.
You’re releasing your debut EP in October. What can we expect to hear on your debut release?
Anna: We had a lot of fun making this EP and you can hear that. We’ve got some funky, 90’s throwback style songs that mix analog and electronic elements.
Since it's our first EP, we really gave ourselves the freedom to express different sides of our musical personalities. One big thing in common is that you can hear all the fun we were having making this record. When I listen to it it makes me want to get up and move, and just have fun and be silly.
Be on the lookout for more from Joyeur, including their EP LIFEAFTER on October 5th. For now, watch the brand new music video for "Fast As You Can" and listen to Joyeur, plus other The Crush featured artists, in our Blog playlist below.
Article by: Brendan Swogger
Brendan Swogger is a music writer and college student in Portland, OR. He is the Creative Director for The Crush blog. You can follow him on IG and Twitter @indiealtpdx