The Joy Formidable: Stress, Bones, and Wolf’s Law

Welsh alt-rockers The Joy Formidable took a somewhat scientific approach to naming their new album, recalling Julius Wolff’s theory that bones may become stronger to adapt to stress. Guitarist Rhydian Dafydd talked with us about Wolf’s Law before the band plays the Neptune on Wednesday.

SW: How did talk of Wolff’s theory come about?

Dafydd: It’s something that Ritzy stumbled upon, and it really struck a chord because some of the content in the songs deals with reconnecting with yourself and having some resolve in situations, and some of that stems from personal experience. Ritzy’s parents had a very drawn-out divorce and she was estranged from her father. They’re able to talk now and that’s sorted into the feeling on this album. It makes you question what’s important and not wasting time. It seemed to be a fitting motif to the subject matter.

Tell me about the decision to record Wolf’s Law in a cabin.

More than anything, we just wanted some solitude and to realize the ideas for the album. It’s important as a writer to be in a variety of situations, not to just be content. We’re always writing on the road and it’s very chaotic. We needed some peace and quiet to focus these ideas and it’s the perfect contrast.

Do you feel this location worked better for the band?

I’m not a massive fan of the tradition where you finish a tour and then go to one location to write; it’s nice to document your ideas when you feel them. We’re always writing and recording at so many locations that might give you an idea and seep into recording, so we enjoyed it for sure.

I read that for Wolf’s Law, you all worked on the lyrics and melody first and then built the song from there. Was this the first time you did that?

It was quite different from the first album in terms of restricting vocals to one accompaniment. You really get down to the bare bones of the song and definitely it’s a better way than the way we worked on the first album. It’s made it a very lyrical and vocally-driven album and it’s given a real stage to the vocals. We’ve always been a very lyrically-driven band but maybe it exposes that a little more on this album.

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