[ joy electric interview @ purple door 02 ]
cMW: Can you tell us a little bit about the CD you just put out?
RONNIE MARTIN: It's just a double CD thing. One disk is sort of a best of, and we did another disk which was a bunch of unreleased songs throughout the years. It's got 10 new tracks, remixes, kind of a whole thing. It was the labels ideas. It has been about eight years now, and that was the label's idea for something like that. We just thought it was an appropriate time. They were so enthused about doing it and we just said, "Alright." I am not really a fan of greatest hits records typically. Whenever you get the label really excited about something you just feel like you want to go with that.
cMW: As one of the only Christian synthesizer bands, do you ever feel alone in your vision?
Ronnie: Eternally. One of the only? Can you name one more?
cMW: Congratulations for being on the HM stage today. I heard you were excited about that.
Ronnie: That's cool. That's progress to us. HM - they give us love these days. We are happy about that. We really don't care what stage we are on to be honest. We are just glad to be playing. We'll play any stage. Last year was the Main stage and that was fine, and this year was the HM stage. We could come back next year and play under that tree and it would be fine.
cMW: You have a Documentary coming out in November. What is your hearts desire for the release of that?
JEFF CLOUD: It's kind of Eddie, the maker of the Documentary. It's more of his vision. It's more of him making a Documentary about us as opposed to us making a documentary about us. What's going to happen? I don't know. I think when he shows it for the first time, we'll see it for the first time.
Ronnie: We are excited about the DVD. It's a good opportunity. We just like stuff coming out. We just like keeping busy and printing as much stuff as we can while we have the opportunity. That's kind of our thing.
cMW: How often do you get to perform your music in front of people?
Ronnie: We have been pretty busy this summer, 5 or 6 festivals, a doing shows in between. You know it's always been a little awkward because you have to find promoters that think they way we do. Our thing from the beginning was playing with anybody. We did not want to seclude ourselves in any sort of electronic scene because we felt like that would be a trap, or like a dance scene. We don't really do dance music per se. It's just pop music with synthesizers. So our goal has always been, we play with indie bands, we play with punk bands or hard core bands. So there has always been a slight awkwardness there, I think, with playing live. But it has not stopped us from playing live. I guess what I am trying to say is that it is a weird thing for a band like us to really be out there and really have such a live presence, but it's always been the thing we tried to set out to do on purpose so people can put a face to all of the blips and bleeps.
cMW: Which comes first when you are writing, the music or the lyrics?
Ronnie: The song title comes first, then we write the song, then the last thing we do is build it up with the all synthe's and all the sounds. That's always the last part. I mean, I don't even start doing anything until the song is set in stone, because I would really have no where to go. The sounds are there to sort give it's own style to basically support the song. Sometimes, the sounds don't support the song, they kind of deviate your attention away from the song. And that's always kind of been a problem with the Joy Electric sound. People tend to focus on all the actual sounds of a record, instead of maybe the songs at times.
cMW: You have been writing a lot recently in your songs about the Christian music industry. What are your honest, complete thoughts on the industry?
Jeff: We'd all be here until tomorrow!
Ronnie: How long is this conference? It's kind of trendy to bash the Christian music scene, isn't it? I think our problems with the scene are probably different than other people's problem with the scene. We just want bands to be honest about their faith. And we think the two faiths should co-exist. We made a big thing a few years ago about how we are Christians, but we are not a Christian band, which we thought was pathetic and stupid, the whole basis of that. We just think that if you are a Christian, you cannot separate your Christianity from your "art." If Christ is in your life, He has to be a part of every aspect of your life. He did not say, be a Christian, but not a Christian lawyer. If you are a Christian, you are a Christian. It's supposed to impact everything you do. So we just don't care about any of the name-tagging and all that. We'll tell anybody we are Christians, we'll talk about our faith. And at the same time we don't like the way that creativity suffers in the name of Christ. I don't want to be standing in front of the Lord someday and Him saying, "You know, those records could have been a little weirder. I think you can be held accountable for holding back," and I don't want to hold back. The commerciality aspect of it is what drives a lot of artists. It's a concern, I mean you have to pay all of the bills just like anybody else. I think we are just committed to doing exactly what we feel Christ has told us to do which is taking this thing and being as extreme as we can about it. We don't want to sound like Audio Adrenaline. God bless them, but I think it would be a sinful thing for us to do what they are doing, because it would be holding back and trying to do something in the name of record sales and trying to have everybody agree with what we are doing. (looking toward Jeff) What are your thoughts on the Christian scene?
Jeff: I just find that with everything, there are aspects of it that I really like, and I guess no one ever focuses on the positive aspects. You can come to a festival and we are doing this thing, like we just leave our table and no one is going to steal a CD. It's just kind of more like a family friendly kind of feel about Christian music. The other bands are busy complaining about it, they are not really thinking of the positive aspects of it. I think just everybody always ignores the positive aspects. Everything has something that is down about it, and there is always something to complain about if you are looking for it. Just try not to or at least if we do, we do it privately between ourselves.
Ronnie: It's a matter of being appreciative, I think. I mean, we are happy to be here. Some bands like to complain, "Well, it's a Christian festival, it's a Christian show." You know man, a kid is a kid. Somebody listening to your music, whether they are saved or they are not saved. We just want everybody to hear the music and we are thankful if anybody can hear it. We are just thankful that we can do what we do. We have had a label that supported us through all this and they have let us do what we wanted to do and we feel like the Lord has actually really blessed it a lot. So we actually feel pretty encouraged a lot with what we have chosen to do in this field.
- Kim Flanders
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