Words/Interview by Shannon-Lee Sloane – The Colourful Writer
Joyous Wolf are a band that I stumbled across late one night on a YouTube session. Scrolling through Rock bands when I clicked on the music video for their cover of Mississippi Queen. It was instant love for this band. With frontman Nick Reese sporting a gorgeous embroidered red velvet jacket as he literally throws himself (full somersault) into the song and performance with such gusto, it’s impossible to not want to get up and join him in rocking out, big time. Backed by a band who are clearly incredibly talented also, these guys are deliciously tasty modern day, classic ROCK, with a little Blues and Grunge in there for good measure.
Since my discovery, I’ve followed the band closely and I pray to Grohl, that they will one day play in Brisbane so I can see the intensity and pure joy of their performances, live and loud! The band have recently released their latest single, Odyssey, along with a cleverly animated music video. The new video premiered via American Songwriter on June 19. The song is out now via Roadrunner Records. Listen here.
The band formed in 2014, in Orange County, California. They’ve worked hard to get where they are now, but it didn’t take long before the world took notice, certainly no shy violets, these guys are here to ROCK and they mean business. Joyous Wolf are Nick Reese (vocals), Blake Allard (guitar), Greg Braccio (bass) and Robert Sodaro (drums). I sent off some questions to Nick recently around the new single release and more.
So first up, let’s talk about the new song and awesome new animated music video! You released Odyssey just last month. Such a great song and the video is so well done. Tell me about the song itself, who wrote this one? What is the song about?
We always write our music together as a group. We get together in a room, try it out, and if it feels good we keep going. I wanted to write about Homer’s the Odyssey I was re reading it last year while we were on the road, it just inspired me. The idea of writing about that world was very attractive to me. It was a challenge and I love a challenge.
How has the response been to the new release?
It’s been very positive on both sides of the spectrum. To see the base we’ve built all so excited and happy that we put something new out is great!
You guys first hit my radar (in a big way) a couple of years ago when I stumbled across your cover of Mississippi Queen on YouTube late one night. I fell in love instantly! Your sound, energy and the way you all seem to put 100% into your music and performance really grabbed me. I have been a huge fan ever since. How did the band first get together? Tell me about the early days of Joyous Wolf?
We were just a group of guys from So Cal. We all had similar taste in music and met in different ways, but we came together back in 2014 and it’s stuck ever since.
Your sound has been described as ‘your own hybrid of hard driving rock & roll, soul, blues, and alternative music’ – Where do your influences come from with your music? Who are some of your favourite bands and artists? Who inspires you?
That is an incredibly long list haha. Speaking for myself 50s rock and roll, blues, jazz, and 60s funk & soul music really shaped who I am. James Brown, Elvis Presley, Young The Giant, The Shins, Judas Priest, Soundgarden, U2, Joy Division, The Cure, Doobie Brothers, Zeppelin, Neil Young, Mississippi Fred McDowell, a Brazilian artist named Lenine, The Police, BB King, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, REM….it really goes on forever.
Was music your calling in life? Did you know from a young age that you wanted to make music and be in a band?
I actually think dancing called me first, music just made my body move in a very particular way. Singing came in my early teens. I’m a song and dance man at heart. Being in a band was always the goal from the time I turned 15.
How have you been surviving through these tough times surrounding COVID-19? What have you been doing during lockdown and isolation to keep your creative and musical sides flowing? Can we expect more new music from Joyous Wolf soon?
I think you very much can expect new tunes from us relatively soon. I’ve been doing a podcast called Singers Speaking where I talk with other vocalists about the craft. My last guest was Geoff Tate from Queensrÿche. It’s been a lot of fun and a welcome distraction. I also make dance videos to my favorite songs and post them onto my social media. Writing with the guys too whenever we can.
When it’s safe to tour again, do you have plans to come to Australia? We would absolutely LOVE to have you guys here in Brisbane!
Absolutely we would love to come.
You’ve supported some amazing bands and artists over the years! Buckcherry, Fozzy, Slash and Deep Purple to name a few! Tell me about sharing the stage with them? What are some of your fondest memories from these shows?
Those were all very positive learning experiences. We really cut our teeth and learned how to work the stage out on the road with those bands. I think my fondest memory is on the Deep Purple tour, Ian Gillan a relative recluse on the road came down to catering to wish me a happy 25th birthday. We talked a bit and took a photo. It truly is something I’ll never forget.
You also had some shows lined up with another favourite rock band of the Good Call Live team, Pop Evil. I see a lot of those got postponed due to the current live music restrictions. Are they being rescheduled?
It’s very up in the air but they said they want us out there with them whenever we can resume. They are really nice guys.
One of my all time favourite songs of yours is Mother Rebel from your ‘Place In Time’ EP. Such an absolute banger of a song! Can you tell me a little about that song? Do you have a favourite song from that EP?
I wrote the words to Mother Rebel about Harriet Beecher Stowe. According to legend Abraham Lincoln at a party referred to her as “The Little lady who started this Great War” that was pretty poignant to me, that feeling over how the modern day and back then at least in the sense of division is very much the same. At least in my country. She was in a sense doing what she felt was right and took it on the chin. She was the Mother Rebel, the birther of a great step towards change. I think Mother Rebel and Quiet Heart are my two favorites.
Is there a new EP or album on the way soon?
Yes we are working on an album. Expect something in 2021!
And finally, any other exciting news your fans should know? What’s next for Joyous Wolf?
It’s pretty slow right now but do expect some fun stuff from us to pass the time.
Thanks so much for your time. We love what you guys do and really hope to see you in Australia one day soon!
Thanks for having me!
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With thanks to Atom Splitter PR