What a trip it’s been for JOYRYDE so far.
Emerging from parts unknown in 2015 with a steady of flow of fresh four-to-the-floor bass constructions. This year has seen bass music’s favourite petrol head level up with a much more noxious, toxic brew of influences, sounds and general musical chaos.
That’s levelling up every possible direction: each new track he uploads on Soundcloud hits six figures within days, he’s created one of bass music’s most distinctive live shows since Skrilly built a spaceship (and gone to similarly detailed lengths to create it) and his tracks are through the roof.
Taking the bass house concept for the cauldron it’s meant to be, this year he’s thrown in everything he loves as elements of opera and disco (Fuel Tank), hammer horror trap (Windows), fractured paranoid speed garage (the OWSLA-snapped Hot Drum), 23rd century hip-hop (Damn) and a whole load more dry hump his signature UK ravey elements and dirty, sewer-swimming bass.
Building on everything he’s learnt in his previous projects – which we know to be the high octane electro/bass frenzy of Let’s Be Friends and, before that, the world-stomping psy trance dominance of Eskimo – this is the UK-born,-LA-based artist’s most ambitious mission yet. What’s more – in case you didn’t know – every video, graphic, and art surrounding each track is made by him. And everything he’s put out so far (and for the foreseeable) is completely free.
What’s really intriguing about JOYRYDE’s rise is his approach to his mission. While world domination looks almost certain – for him, the whole project is about those hazy hotbox days when one of your crew had a motor and all your favourite listening experiences happened on wheels.
“I keep everything small,” he explains. “The idea of a bunch of mates in a car all buzzing to play each other their favourite music is one of my key drivers. One friend really hoping and pushing his mates to like it. That buzz. He’ll do everything he can to show them how good the tune is. That’s the most passionate music experience you can have. And that’s what I’ve kept in my mind all the way through this project so far – not about crowds, or markets or radio play. If you overthink it, you’ve ruined it. If you can entertain your mates in a car, you can entertain anyone.”
He’s certainly entertained us. Even his appreciation of cars is satisfyingly deep and artistic.
“I didn’t originally have an interest in cars but that’s made them all the more compelling now,” says Mr Ryde, also known as Jonney. “Vehicles have a beauty to admire but can instil a bit of fear in you. They’re quite intimidating. They’re fast, they’re heavy machinery, they can kill you. Also, the closer you look at cars the more beautiful they become. Super close up those aerodynamics and the architecture are incredibly artistic – the curves look out of this world, you have no idea of what you’re actually looking at. And that’s before the whole social aspect.”
As thousands flock to his Calling All Rydrz (CARS) live shows, the social aspect is getting bigger and bigger. We thought we’d catch a moment of his time earlier this month to catch his story of the year, how he got here and where we’re all heading…
2016 According To Joyryde
“This is my favourite year to be alive. Nothing will ever replace the pure happiness I feel watching fans who are already following me getting involved with the next record. That’s the most precious priority in my life – making sure anyone who’s listening to me and following me enjoys a strong and bullshit free experience.
I have to say I don’t see followers as numbers. It’s much more of a responsibility than that. These people have told everyone they like you. They’re repping you. People don’t like JOYRYDE because the radio or the TV told them. They’ve found me somehow and they’re supporting me. So in return I’m repping them. When people know there really is someone behind the music and the pages and accounts related to the artist, they engage with it entirely. They know if they comment someone will read it and respond. That’s been the ultimate highlight of my year.
Then there’s my show. The show has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done. From an idea of standing inside a car with no roof it’s grown and morphed and developed into this incredible show that I still can’t believe we’ve done.
I invested everything I could into it. Especially time; I spent four months going out to deserted lands trying to find junk yards, looking on google maps for junk yards in these areas because they don’t advertise these places! We were trying to find the right car, the right inspiration – what do the wing mirrors look like? How big are the wheels? What hubcaps? What else is on the stage? What else is in the car? What types of seats? There’s a tonne of details. And they all have be refabricated to go on stage. Everything we bought we had to take apart and rebuild lighter and stronger.
We ended up with a matte black 1969 Dodge Charger. You can’t buy one of these in decent condition for under $20k and I didn’t want to chop a perfectly working car up… So we built a fully raceable version in fibreglass. The only thing missing is the engine. It’s too heavy.
The car is also kitted out with strobes and headlights. We’ve got a smoke machine which fills up the car with smoke and then we light the smoke and bellow it out of the windows. It’s got cryo blasts out of the hood exhaust. Then around the car we built garages which are full of things we got from the junkyards – exhausts, hubcaps, wheels.
It’s built now. We had to build it now. Otherwise we’d never build it in this way – other opportunities would get in the way or overshadow things. We’ll have a pursuit of the biggest opportunity rather than making something we’re so happy with. You can’t erase this. It’s done. It can only be added to and developed on now.
Musically I’ve been really happy with how my year has developed, too. There are times – and this fluctuates throughout the year – when it’s good to be part of a solid clique. And there are times when it’s good to say ‘hey everyone, what’s this?’
I love nothing more than being in, and working, the company of people who just love dubstep or just love drum & bass. You’re contributing to one thing, it’s very focused. But then you need to remind people of what you’re actually bringing into that clique. A tune like Damn is me going away from the clique and relishing in completely different ideas. It’s what we all do – we go away and we come back kicking down the doors with new ideas. So when we make bass house we do it because we love it. It’s almost boutique. If the other stuff we make is bigger than bass house then great – it makes bass house seem even more honest and genuine.
With Damn, just like Windows, I thought ‘this won’t get many plays, this is a statement. It’s just to demonstrate my taste in music at the moment and how we can reflect our tastes.’ It sums up where I’m at musically and physically…
You’ll never find a bigger advocate of UK electronic music than me but a few years ago I got to the point where a lot of UK and European music was feeling contrived and written for purpose, not because it was there to be written. So I found much more inspiration from the US where hip hop was really being accepted by electronic music. It was happening in house, in trap, in bass, in electro. Some of it was moody as fuck! It was shadowy, in the tunnels and underground and away from society. I felt ‘fuck these guys are going into this!’
So I got into it and made a track called Flo which blew up here in California. They were very welcoming to me. They told me to come over and that’s where things got really interesting and how I’ve arrived at my current mindset: I only try and catch inspiration for JOYRYDE from outside the US. I want it to sound like I’m an American fan of UK noises and elements. It’s got the hip-hop, the swag, the flow mentality of the US but UK ingredients – moody, underground, rough. It’s inspired by the tools of England but put together in a way it can work in the US.
As the future, who knows where we’re heading? I have this feeling we’ll all be on the same flip again soon. Right now you have these divides but soon we’ll regroup. I don’t know whether it will be house, hip-hop, techno whatever but it makes too much sense for us not to have a unifying sound.
Look at how dubstep came from so many directions – you had the garage guys founding it in the UK and rock guys developing it in America and Australia. So many exciting ideas and twists – it was a phenomenon that included the rise of internet culture and platforms. It was a lifestyle as much as club sound. And it’s going to happen. It could be some crossbreed, it could be something totally new… Who knows? One thing I do predict is that it will be urban though. It will be tied around fashion and dancing and posing and moves. Things that can go with it. Themes. It will have a community. It won’t be a scene – it will be all day, lifestyle. Not just in a club. Like all the best music should be…”