Published at Vancouver Observer.
My interview with Vancouver thrash-punks Joyce Collingwood didn’t start out the way you would expect. We didn’t start talking about the new material they’re recording — or about the departure of their singer — but about Molly Ringwald.
“I love Pretty in Pink,” said Gillian Callander, Joyce’s bubbly bassist. “I just love John Hughes movies, all of them.” Sitting cross-legged on their studio floor with a beer in hand, vocalist and guitarist Twitch Carreras nodded along, her cork-screw hair almost dwarfing the rest of her.
If Hughes had ever made a movie about a hardcore outfit, a band like Joyce Collingwood could have been the stars.
Despite their fast and furious sound, the musical equivalent of a slammed shot of Bacardi 151, the band members themselves aren’t quite as intimidating. They’re the types of girls who’d say, “Radical!” without a hint of irony, and probably high-five you at the same time.
“As individuals, we laugh a lot,” said Callander. “Everyone’s always like, ‘You play that music? But you’re so nice!’ It’s all fun. Nobody goes to a show and says, ‘I’m so angry now!’”
The band clearly doesn’t take themselves too seriously, but the same shouldn’t be said for their music career.
“If there’s anything people should know, it’s that Joyce Collingwood works really hard,” Carreras was quick to add. “We are doing Joyce Collingwood every day, every single one of us. And we love it.”
Along with Carreras and Callander, Joyce is fleshed out with Claudia Fernandez on guitar and Joy Mullen on the skins.
The band used to have a fifth head, a full-time singer, Private Minnou, whose affronted howls can be heard on 2011’s self-titled LP. But creative differences led to an honourable discharge.
“The more we were like, ‘How can we push ourselves? How can we make this faster, harder?’ the more she was uncomfortable with it,” Carreras said. “And we really take being a musician as something you could do full-time and hopefully not starve to death. For her, that wasn’t her dream.”
“But we owe a lot to her. She was the one who said, ‘Where’s all the chick rockers? Let’s make a punk-rock band.’ Private Minnou got the troops ready and sent them off to battle — that was her job.”
However, Minnou’s leave meant that their debut album was immediately dated. As a band “gearing towards a jump,” as Callander put it, it’s imperative to have fresh material that represents who the band is right now, in hand.