A/S/L features online chat interviews with musicians. Get it? The internet.
Laura Lloyd is the guitarist and co-founder of shoegaze-leaning noise pop group No Joy. The Montreal-based band recently released their sophomore full-length Wait to Pleasure — another collection of hazy, slow-burning and complex rock songs. But we barely talked about that.
Instead, we spent most of our time on Gchat discussing embarrassing teen bands, sexism in the independent music circuit, and how we’re both pretty fed up with Marc Maron. Okay, we touched on the new album as well.
Josiah Hughes: Hey Laura, I’m here now if you are!
Laura Lloyd: Yo! Let’s do it. Please excuse the typos I’m on my iPhone
Sweet, and no problem, I will clean it up! In case I wasn’t clear enough, the idea is to just chat and then we run a transcript of the chat… keep it casual! Where are you right now?
Very cool. We’re on our way to Grinnell, Iowa. College show tonight should be interesting.
You’re currently on tour with METZ, is that right?
Laura: Yep! We’re really excited to be touring with them, we’ve been talking about touring together since we started.
It seems like your band is very adaptable in terms of who you can tour with… do you approach the shows differently depending on if it’s with an aggressive band like METZ or a more melodic band like Best Coast?
No. Our set is always about the same, we only have one approach to playing live and it’s kind of hard to change that dynamic. I think people take different things out of our music which makes us adaptable. On recording, there’s a lot of softer tones and live we’re very loud and aggressive soooo something for everyone?
Definitely! That makes sense. But it is interesting to me that such different types of bands can tour together. It must be nice to not play with bands that sound the same every night and get that variety.
Yeah for sure. I think what it comes down to is that we just like to tour with bands we like, regardless of genre. Nobody listens to only one genre of music so it usually works out.
Did you have much touring experience before No Joy or is it a newer lifestyle for you? What’s the toughest part?
I’ve been touring in various bands since I was 16 so it’s nothing new to me. I basically know every gas station across America and almost don’t need a GPS. I guess the toughest part would be the drives. America is huge and the distance between cities makes for a lot of driving. We rarely get the chance to see a town. I’ve been to Salt Lake City like seven times and I still can’t tell you what downtown looks like.
I think the more touring we do the easier it gets though.
Really? Man, I feel like I would get more and more sick of it, but I guess you get accustomed to it.
Well it’s both, right? First few tours are exciting, and now it’s a little more mundane but you start to figure things out — just like places to stay, eat…. it’s routine and there’s comfort in that I suppose.
Definitely. Plus you must have friends all over the place!
Yeah we definitely have made friends all over the place. Our bass player right now is someone we met on tour. So yeah, that aspect is really cool.
I’m sorry I didn’t know about your pre No Joy bands! What were they like? Do you like them still?
Don’t worry about the other bands they we just little dinky teen projects haha.
I had some pretty embarrassing teen bands too.
I don’t respect anyone who didn’t have a teen band.
Right? It teaches you a lot I think.
Yeah, of course.
So what kind of “scene” did you grow up in…. like are we talking coffee shop dinky teen bands, punk hall show dinky teen bands, high school battle of the bands dinky teen bands?
Hahaha funny story. I’ve been going to shows since I was 11/12. The first show I saw was Chris Slorach (of METZ)’s old band. I kept the poster and his picture is on it. It’s so funny cause 12 years later and we’re on tour together. But yeah I think I grew up really involved in the music scene. At first going to shows whenever I could, then playing shows whenever I could.
That’s really interesting! I think there’s a point to be made in there somewhere… that time at local shows is very formative for a lot of people.
I moved to Montreal when I was 14 at the beginning of summer so I didn’t have any friends all summer. I just hung out at record stores with 27-year-olds who’d get me into shows.
Maybe the music gets better but a lot of the stuff you learn then sticks with you?
Yeah totally — just immersing yourself is the point regardless of the music you’re making. I had this conversation with a friend who plays in another band similar to ours and I was showing him old demos from my teens and we were joking around about it and he claimed to never have had a shitty teen band and I thought it was so weird considering he’s in a great band now. So now I’m a little skeptical about him.
Yeah, how is that possible? I think you should out him.
Hahaha I know. We’re playing a show together at the end of this tour. I’ll out him.
Hahahahha. What band, can you tell me?
Oh, they are great!
He should be forced to join a teen band. Make up for lost time.
Shaun (Durkan of Weekend) says he never had a shitty teen band.
There should be a camp you have to go to and start bands with teens to keep the balance.
Ya, agreed. Something to look back at and laugh.
So how has your songwriting changed since you were a teen?
Surprisingly hasn’t really changed. I just sit down and fuck around until I hear something I like. I suppose the quality of my demos has improved since the creation of GarageBand and I have learned some tricks, but I mean, process wise it’s always been the same and it’s not very interesting. Usually just an idea that I try to make into reality.
Well, that makes perfect sense, and it’s probably important not to get too cerebral about it or overthink it.
Yeah that kind of stuff usually comes after. Like, I’ll write and record the structure/rhythm and then after we go crazy with the leads and instruments or whatever.
At what point do lyrics come into play?
At the end usually. Jasamine does all the lyrics and doesn’t really reveal them so it’s hard to say much about them, just that they are supposed to be buried and not too decipherable.
Fair enough! You used to be a music writer as well, right?
Nope. That was Jasamine.
Oh someone told me you were ahahaha. Aw man, sorry!
I think she just did show reviews or cd reviews not too sure. It wasn’t very serious. I’d ask her but she’s sleeping.
No problem ahahhaha. Someone said “Laura Lloyd used to work for Exclaim!” so now for the record we can say you did not.
Once I shot photos for Exclaim!. That’s it.
What did you do for work before you were in a touring band?
I’ve had lots of jobs. I was working at a porn company before this. It was really cool. I wasn’t a porn star, don’t worry.
Hahahaha. Phew, I was worried.
I don’t want to get too into detail though that is all I will say.
Fair enough! Do you ever miss having a full-time job and living in Montreal?
Not really. I kind of like the spontaneity of touring and just picking up and leaving. I know I always end up back in Montreal so I don’t really miss it while I’m away, except on boring drives or when I miss my friend’s baby shower or something.
What do you do to pass time in the van?
Listen to a looot of podcasts.
Oh sweet! That’s the best! What ones are you into?
Ummm, okay — The Big Three, Best Show on WFMU, Comedy Bang Bang, Professor Blastoff, Savage Lovecast. We like comedy, that’s all.
Awesome! I love comedy podcasts too, but I find it’s impossible to keep up with them. I’ve given up on Maron.
HAHAHAHA so have we. But Comedy Bang Bang is great.
Yeah! It’s consistently amazing. Except last week Scott Aukerman interviewed Maron and it was boring. Maron brings everyone down.
Ya I heard it. Tom Scharpling also interviewed him. Snoooze.
He’s gone too far with the self-loathing.
But Marc Maron’s interview with J Mascis is AMAZING.
Did you get embarrassment chills when he talked about blues licks on Comedy Bang Bang?
YES. ahahahahhahha. I remember that specifically.
He was like “your theme song is hip with the kids, mine is like old guy blues licks.” Also he started a sentence with “Cobain and Hendrix.”
Very cool. Ugh. He opened his interview on the Best Show by playing a blues lick… gave me douche chills.
Hahahahahahaha. I tried watching his show too. We’ve given that man too much power, all of us who ever listened.
Oh ya? I was kind of hoping it would be good? Just hoping, you know.
I mean, maybe it’ll get better, but it seemed like a shitty Louie knockoff. Maybe I’m just so sick of Maron though.
Could be that. I’ll give it a shot.
Also! On the podcast tip, did you hear the WTF podcast recorded at SXSW where Maron interviewed James Franco and Harmony Korine?
No! I did not.
It was so embarrassing, and then he made a joke that James Franco takes himself too seriously and James Franco walked off the stage and cut the interview short early!
Hahahaha that’s amazing. Also on this trip, I brought a really big book too so I’ve been reading a lot.
What book are you reading?
1Q84, the new Murakami. It’s very good so far
Rad! I get carsick when I try to read in a moving vehicle.
I’ve mastered it. Doesn’t bother me anymore.
How deep are you into this current tour?
I think we only have about a week left? We’re about three weeks in, a little less maybe. I’ve lost track of time.
How have you felt about playing the songs from your new LP live? Were you nervous at all at first?
Yeah, it’s definitely a lot more complex but I think we’ve managed to pull them off live. Unfortunately there are some songs that we’ll never be able to perform but for the most part we’ve figured it out.
When you’re writing and recording new music do you think about the live setting at all or do you prefer to just make it sound good on record and worry about live stuff later?
We generally just go for it and do what we want. I think it would be kind of a tragedy to limit yourself to what you’re capable of doing live, and of course live versions can be different from the recorded version which I actually like when I see shows.
Yeah I agree. Otherwise why bother going to the show? hahaha
Right. So I think people get plenty of that at our shows haha
Do people ever treat you differently on tour being a woman in a band? Specifically, some of my friends have had sound guys giving them advice after a show on how they can make their guitar sound better or something stupid like that… and that’s never happened to my male friends in bands.
Ugh. Yes. But for the most part I think it’s getting better for female musicians. It’s becoming more and more rare to have these kind of sexist occurrences. But just on this tour we were line checking before we were to play and the sound guy said “Whoa hey who are we The Donnas!” and I think I gave him the finger and he apologized but I genuinely don’t think he knows why he was apologizing. Being women, we’re always being compared to other women bands even if we sound nothing alike (like The Donnas).
Yeesh. And yeah, that’s one of the most insulting comparisons even outside of the gross sexism.
It’s annoying but I’m comfortable putting those people in their place and I think all my female musician peers are too.
Definitely. And there’s another generalization that can be made that sound guys are often the worst.
Hahaha well it really depends.
Yeah I guess I’m being unfair. So what’s your plan tonight?
We’re playing a college show that will be dry so this might be interesting. It’s Chris from METZ’s birthday so we’ll get him a cake maybe.
Nice! A dry college birthday party hahahah. Well unless there’s anything else you’d like to add I think that should be plenty for the article! Thanks for making the time!
Great! Thanks a bunch!
This article originally appeared in the June 2013 issue of AUX Magazine. Download and subscribe for free in the App Store.