They may have been away for a while, but PURE JOY have lost nothing of their edge. The group blasted out of their Fresh Goods home studio in 2016 with the gloopy box of delights that was their debut album, Bang Flower, and embarked on a short European tour. And then things went a little quiet. Besides an experimental recording installation at Baltic Creative for LightNight, 2017 has seen them buried away, with barely a peep coming from the Pure Joy camp.
So, we were delighted when we got word from War Room Records that there was a brand new “space-epic” piece of music in the pipeline from them – and even more happy when they said it was being released in December. …Go Galactic! is the result of a slimmed-down version of Pure Joy (now just the principle two members, P.Lee and Matthew Freeman) locking themselves away and allowing various loops and snippets of music to gradually mutate and build. If you’re partial to an undulating groove with multiple layers, you’re going to love this.
Listen to the new track – a groovy 13-minute space voyage – here, and read a quick Q&A we did with the duo below. …Go Galactic! is out now via War Room Records.
It’s been a bit quiet on the Pure Joy front for the past year; in what form are you returning to us? Is it the first sign of a new album of material?
Yeh, we took some time off playing live for a while. Just concentrated on writing and deciding what music we wanted to make, what we wanted to do and whether that is best to do as a group. The album [2016’s Bang Flower] was really well received but it just never translated in anything like the same way live, which we were aware of more than anyone.
Music and recording-wise, it was a real development on anything that we had done before and we both felt that there was room to develop in future, but what that looked and sounded like we had to work out. We are proud of the album but definitely see it as the start of something, not the end. By doing this and playing around with sounds, formats, equipment and studio ideas we ended up coming back to this loop and structure which, over time, became …Go Galactic. So, it’s the sound of us finding our feet again really as musicians and starting something afresh, albeit under Pure Joy. The good thing about the situation we’re in now is that there is zero time pressure. We have our own space, our own personalised studio, so we record as and when we want to. It’s a luxury that we have built up over time but which a lot of other bands and artists don’t have. There are deadlines, time constraints and pay by the day which has gone now for us.
Pure Joy is a duo but we always wanted other musicians and people whose opinions on music we trusted involved, which we have now. Bass on this track is played by Mike Denton from The Lucid Dream, who has done a few unreleased bits with us so far. So the future’s bright, even if it’s not set in stone what that looks like. Rest assured there is much more stuff coming, and we are going to be able to do it a lot more quickfire. We have built up loads of really interesting recordings and writing in the time since we have been out and about, so some of that will see the light of day.
It was fantastic to get the opportunity to put the tune out with War Room, because its a roster that we think we fit with and we are proud to be a part of. Top people with good taste. Especially at the moment with all their sci-fi and spacey goings on, so we’re made up to get the music out there as part of the right team.
…Go Galactic! is a bit of a departure from the material on Bang Flower. Where’s your inspiration for this epic space journey come from?
I think, more than anything else we have done, it sounds like the sum of our record players at the time that it was written and recorded, but at the same time sounding really new and original. That’s one of the things I am most proud of.
We watched a band called France and they basically just played the same groove for half an hour. Literally nothing else, no solos or breaks. I have never been one for songs being too long for the sake of it and often turn off once you pass the 10-minute mark. But this just didn’t tire and it got us thinking that ‘simpler is better’ a lot of the time. That, and that there is something in monotony and rhythms that catches a listener and wont let go. Dance music has it to a tee. Over time the track has become something which has loads going on, ’cause we tend to love throwing a million ideas at a piece of music, but I don’t think it sounds overbearing as such. Its flows nicely. We wanted to get away from producing three-minute tracks, with each one being a departure from the last, hence why we ended up building an EP’s worth of music from one track with different stages or passages of music.
It sort of settled over time into an atmosphere of space, then Matty dropped the synth riff that feels like a space launch and we followed it down that route really. We wanted to build power without overplaying, hence the big riff that’s sandwiched in the middle of the song. Talking of sounding like our record collections though, Paul from Bad Meds listened to the track and sent us the demo to Big City by Spacemen 3… The track isn’t a rip off of anything, but you could be forgiven for thinking it was after hearing that. Promise I only heard it yesterday though!
We’re made up with the fact that the concept and theme of the song is strong, with everything else falling into place after, rather than producing a song for song’s sake and getting it out there. Again, it’s something we haven’t done before.
Has the experience of transposing Bang Flower to a live setup changed the way you approached this newer material?
We were really disappointed, as I say, with the live stuff around Bang Flower. The concept was strong at the start but over time it became something which it was never intended to be and didn’t convey the tracks as we wanted. It’s a real shame because a lot of those tracks would lend themselves really well to being played in a live setup, but only one in which you can generate a lot more natural energy than the way we went about it. We did some ace shows around the album though which took us to some mad places.
It definitely had an impact on how we will produce music and especially from a live performance standpoint. We have got something quite experimental and different planned for the launch with Blade Jogger that we’re excited about, building on the installation we did for Light Night this year. I suppose that with the nature of the track it gives us artistic license to go a bit out there and weird. More so than we could if we were playing shorter, standalone tracks like the Bang Flower stuff.
We will only play stuff live now if we are convinced it’s better than the recorded version. That’s the whole point of it isn’t it, adding something and building on the moods. If it’s not that, then there is no point.
Are there any more plans for the Fresh Goods studio and stable of music?
Just to keep working on interesting music that excites us, whether it’s our own or with other artists. This year’s been really busy in terms of recording and we’ve got a setup now that we know pretty well.
We’ve not got tonnes of fancy gear but the stuff we have works well and live recording always sounds great in the space. We’ve worked with some great artists including Eyesore And The Jinx, who will be putting out a track we’ve recorded early next year, Lungs, who have a new release imminent, and Astles, who has just put out his second record which we recorded a couple of tracks for. We have also had Pink Kink, The Lucid Dream, By The Sea and loads of others down too so there has been tonnes going on. Hopefully we can continue to work with great new bands while developing our own stuff.