What do you get when two artists stumble upon a new idea at Tone House Studios in NY and end up writing, producing, and playing every single instrument? Inbox Jukebox Presents has the answer for you. You get pure soulfulness. And that’s a Violent Joy.
Ryan Hunter and Brian Byrne’s debut EP is an instant heart clicker. Ryan says, “It’s rewarding to hear that people are listening and connecting with this project, but I truly believe we’d be doing it even if no one cared.”
But we do care. As a matter of fact, this might be a love thing. It begins the moment you hear that breathy organ in refrain at the top of “Standing in the Rain (Having easy conversations…)”. It’s a kind of chemistry; you can feel something happening. Maybe that’s because Violent Joy puts so much feeling into this prayer for love to be love and to be understood. Before you know it, you’ll be slow head rocking to their blend of r&b-indie-rock as the guitars lift the vocals up to the rafters.
“There’s this manic energy that swells up when we lock in on something in that room [Tone House].”
“There’s this manic energy that swells up when we lock in on something in that room [Tone House],” Brian says. And that’s undeniable. “Indian Summer” is a rocked out ballad that carries a plea not to be subsumed by that special someone when they walk away. It’s melancholy and passionate and it’s nearly haunting by the end. Then, in true storyteller style, it blends seamlessly into the rollicking cadence of “5th of July”—a clever play on the day after the fireworks end.
Brian continues, “My favorite [moments] are when I’m twisting knobs on a synth or weird pedal and Warren and Ryan’s eyes sort of light up and we move around the control room as quickly as possible to capture it. Those kinds of moments are all over this record and if nothing else, they’re a document of those special glimmers in the studio where we got to a place none of us expected to get to.”
“5th of July” must be one of those moments. It sounds like running on a night-dark beach, under the moon, with Springsteen as your inspiration—and the lights are about to go out, so you run faster. So sad (but so good).
“The whole experience has become a cherished ritual to both of us. There’s a purity to the process that I feel we’ve been searching for our entire lives.”
Getting back to that chemistry we mentioned earlier, even though Ryan (LA) and Brian (NY) are on opposite coasts, there’s no distance between their creative minds. “I’m on a plane often because Tone House Studios in NY is home base for us,” Ryan breaks down the process. “The sessions typically last about 3 or 4 days and go from about 1pm until 5am the following day. It’s just the two of us with our engineer, Warren, who’s an integral part of VJ. The whole experience has become a cherished ritual to both of us. There’s a purity to the process that I feel we’ve been searching for our entire lives.”
“Bored to Tears” (but we could never be) is up next and its dancing-in-the-mirror vibes run high before Violent Joy takes us back to ‘r&b-indie-rock’ church with “1000 Gods”. Yup, it’s definitely bendy—this one will move you. The track starts with choral vocals and you’ll expect a heavenly close to a very good EP but this one rolls into a slinky growl that’s seductive as hell. But the boys aren’t done yet because the upcoming breakdown is so soft it’ll leave you stunned but hopeful. And with that the end comes way too soon, but like we told you before:
That’s a Violent Joy.
Get into it.
FUN FACT ABOUT THE BAND:
Ryan and Brian were so superstitious about maintaining a good vibe in the studio, they ordered the same thing from the same sushi place for every session.