The Fordham Ram: Every band has an origin story. What is Drowsy Joy’s?
Mary Munshower: Brian and Newf met at Contemporary Science Fiction club. The two bumped into Ken one night while out at Tinkers, bonding over their shared love of fish-printed t-shirts and Radiohead’s In Rainbows. I was introduced to the trio by a mutual friend while waiting out-side of Loschert during a fire drill. Then, while waiting in line to go to Champ’s, we were huddled outside having a band meeting of sorts when some nosy kid (O’Connor) came over and asked us what kind of band we were talking about.
TFR: How would you describe your band’s sound to those who haven’t heard you perform?
MM: Our sound is difficult to describe since we have a wide range of influences, but if we had to pick, we would say a fusion of alternative and indie rock with some electronic influences.
TFR: Speaking of musical influences, what bands have impacted Drowsy Joy?
Drowsy Joy: Radiohead, Tame Impala, The Strokes, Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Ty Seagall and The Velvet Underground. Sublime always draws Sean back to a reggae vibe and helps with rhyming when he’s writing songs.
TFR: What does the creative process look like?
MM: We practice in the basement of Sean’s house in Rockland County, NY. We buckle down for a few hours at a time and just bang out a song. After a long day of practice where we actively try to come up with a song, we are usually frustrated and end up having a cathartic jam. This is typically when we come up with our best songs because we aren’t trying to. We’re just musically responding in a natural way to what each other is playing.
TFR: What is everyone’s favorite song to perform?
Ken Iselhart III: Brian and I have this little bit where I jump on the synth and he sits on the drums. We go into outer space. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to God knows how long.
Brian Cullen: That’s mine too.
Sean O’Connor: I like to play “Restart” because I get to yell. It was the first official full song that I wrote and put together for the band.
Tyler “Newf” Newfell: I liked when we covered Pink Floyd’s “Interstellar Overdrive” back at our first gig as a band at Pugsley’s last April. I didn’t have to worry about playing a wrong note because any sound in that song is a good sound.
MM: My favorite song to perform is our original “Around and Around” because I get to play really powerful fills on the drums. I also love the new synth ending we added. It reminds me of some of the electronic and dance songs I like to listen to.
TN: I love that song too because it’s the only one that I get to play synth on so far. Unfortunately, I don’t have a stand for my synth. Instead, I sit on the amp and feel the sounds course through my body.
TFR: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
BC: Everyone takes a turn tickling Ken’s tummy before we go on.
KI: Then we jazzercise.
BC: No, it’s Zumba.
SO: We clearly don’t have any actual pre-show rituals.
TFR: Winning Battle of the Bands is a huge accomplishment. What does the opportunity to open for Matt and Kim at Spring Weekend mean for Drowsy Joy?
DJ: Winning Battle of the Bands and getting to open for Matt and Kim is such an honor, considering the fact that we are opening for a band that just played at Coachella. This also means more publicity for the band, since more people will get to see us play at Spring Weekend. It will expand our fan base to more people than those who have already seen us play.
TFR: How can people listen to your music before Spring Weekend and learn about upcoming gigs?
DJ: Throw us a like on Facebook at facebook.com/DrowsyJoy and look up our YouTube channel under Drowsy Joy. We post videos, events and updates about band news in meme form.
Drowsy Joy, this year’s winner of Battle of the Bands, will open for Matt and Kim at Spring Weekend on April 30. (Courtesy of Drowsy Joy)