You probably never heard of the American progressive rock/metal band Jolly. But with all honesty, they are an underground diamond. They got my attention with their revolutionary double album The Audio Guide to Happiness where they added into their music binaural beats. It was an extremely important album for me, especially the second album. On the other hand it often happened throughout the years that some of my most favorite bands don’t keep the high level and their quality goes down. Fortunately, it was not a case of Jolly, which returned after couple of years with a great album Family. We spoke with Jolly’s frontman Anadale about recent years, new album and among others also his early days’ fears and frustrations.
What were you up to during the past few weeks? I saw some dates in Paris, London and Midsummer-Prog-Festival. How did it go?
It went really well. We had a great time. It was actually spontaneous sort of thing. We didn’t thing we will go on a tour.
What were the challenges you were facing in the past weeks and months?
We finally released Family album. We have been putting it out song by song through Patreon. As we have physical copies, we decided it would be smart to do a little tour for it. In terms of challenges, everything was a challenge. We had to get back in the studio, learn the new songs and get us back in the shape. But it was fun.
Any plans for additional tour in the upcoming months?
No, not now. I wish. Now we are planning to go back in the studio and write some new music.
“If you want something done…”
Glad to hear that. But please give me an idea how does it work for you guys right now? You are not cooperating with any label, as you did let say with InsideOut and you take care of everything for yourself and finance-wise you have a support from fans through Patreon?
Ever since we left InsideOut we take care of all of the responsibilities ourselves. We have been thinking about other options, but Patreon seemed as the best direction. On the other hand there were some frustrations regarding the full length album, as some songs were already available. So, we are thinking about limiting the releases only to the Patreon, to make it special when the full length album comes out. It’s just another challenge.
Was the main impulse to rely on the Patreon your unpleasant experience when you equipment got destroyed during the hurricane, and your fans showed massive support?
I am not sure if it had the direct effect. Main reason for leaving InsideOut was the fact we felt like we are losing money and we thought we could do it better ourselves. There were few cases, where we went on a tour, but we didn’t get an adequate backing.
Family a families
The last time we spoke together in 2013. Could you please shortly sum up what was going on with you guys since? I can imagine you are answering to this question a lot lately, but the reasons for a new album delay as starting families is more than understandable.
New album is ironically named Family, as families were the reasons, which took us away from the music. We have been working very slowly, but still throwing tracks at each other online. Some of these songs took longer than they should have.
I am glad you are saying that, because I sometimes experience with bands, if they work on something too long, it gets overproduced and it’s missing that fresh touch. On the other hand, with you guys, I don’t feel that negative effect at all. How did you make sure to keep it fresh?
It really comes down to a lack of time. We had to make time for each track and each idea. So when we would come back to it, it would still be fresh for us.
Give us please also an idea about the whole songwriting. I feel there are plenty of moments, where the emotions just built up into an explosion, like a solo in Lazarus around fourth minute.
In terms of solos, I guess this album had the most attention towards solos. For me personally the solos are rather difficult. I have to torture myself to nail something that I really like. (Laugh) But in general the songwriting went as usual. I had a lot of tracks I sort of gave to the band. And Lewis, our drummer and a producer, would add his part, produce it and send it back to me. Afterwards other guys would add their parts. So, a lot of times, it would start from my basic framework.
So the basic melody from let say Let Go came from you right?
Yeah, the main chorus, that’s something that I presented and it went out of hand. (Laugh) People started adding bridges etc. It was supposed to be much smaller song. (Laugh)
I can truly feel input from everybody, as Let Go has some of the heaviest, almost Meshuggah rhythmic in there.
Right. Meshuggah stuff usually comes from the drummer. Because he understands the syncopations very well.
I am glad you guys have those heavier moments, but at the same time I really appreciate that melancholic side of Jolly. In the past, it was mainly As Heard On Tape, which was always extremely crucial for me. It has characteristic sound of the band, which can be heard now on let say Violet. So the melancholic side comes mainly from you right?
Yeah, anything that’s very melodic or sad and slow, is usually more me. Heavier parts are mostly from our drummer Lewis. It’s not that I don’t like heavy, but my heavy would be rather grungy, like Firewell.
I was also wondering regarding your inspirations regarding lyrics, especially within the melancholic tracks.
I guess basically being in a band, living my life and creating music with three other guys, can be really difficult and challenging. For me personally it has been back and forth trying to decide what I am going to do with my life. I don’t know how far I will take this Jolly thing and if I should start sth else. I actually started a new side project that I am very excited about. So, I am also considering putting more time and energy into that. At the same time I am considering some other artistic thing to do. So, all of these emotion get reflected in the music. Especially track like Let Go is about that in a way. It was for me about letting go the old life. Even the video that includes our older footages is about letting go of that old life. Next to that I believe guys have their own views, which end up on the lyrics, as they have families and kids.
For me personally it has been back and forth trying to decide what I am going to do with my life
What is the genre of your side project?
It’s something around ambient electronic. Something different than Jolly. I don’t know when I am going to release it and if I am going to release it at all. But it’s something to think about.
When you are talking about ambient electronics, is it closer to The Black Queen, if you know them, or Pure Reason Revolution that you toured with next to Riverside?
I love Pure Reason Revolution. I am glad I saw them at a festival that we played recently. They got back together and they are making a new album. I also like The Black Queen. I saw them performing here in New York and I love them as well, so yeah, something in that genre.
Another thing I wanted to check with you is a track called Ava. Keyboard solo around 1:30 reminded me of the craziest Balkan elements I know as a half “Yugoslavian”. How did you come up with that?
That’s amazing, but I am sure, it didn’t come from this part of the world. (Laugh) Maybe some secondary subconscious.
The Audio Guide to Happiness concept & next steps
With talking about subconsciousness, I would like to kindly ask you to explain to the readers the original concept behind The Audio Guide to Happiness including binaural tones. I am practicing meditation for the past three years and I even checked some of the YouTube mixes concentrating on binaural tones. But I still didn’t understand the concept, even though it really helped me.
The main concept was putting these sort of beats together with rock music. It’s a bizarre idea and I can’t believe we did that. We just asked out loud: “What if we can make people physically feel something while they are listening to our songs?” So all came from that. We have little moments in the music, included guided meditations, which were a big influence and then binaural beats. Those were plenty of things I did and I continue with them. I never heard of a rock band, which would come up with a concept like this. It naturally influenced the songs, lyrics and general.
It’s bizarre, but one of the coolest concepts I ever heard. Plus, when the lady said: “Breathe,” you can truly feel it!
Yeah! Thank you very much.
So, what’s the next step after The Audio Guide to Happiness? Do you feel you progressed as a person over the past few years?
Oh absolutely. For me, my personal journey has been challenging. I started being very closed off as a person and through Jolly it helped me to connect with people. I used to be very shy and before Jolly I was not a singer. It was terrifying for me, so I refused to sing. Step by step, it was all about “Letting Go” for me, which is a concept which is popping out all the time. (Laugh) I started connecting with people and connecting with things. I love the fans and playing shows. It’s all amazing. Now I don’t have those fears anymore.
When was that moment when you felt the break through?
It took a long time. For the first few years every performance was very hard. I had to drink a lot or had to put myself into a right mental shape. Till this day, when I perform I try to connect with the audience more and not just autopilot. So these days I think about the options how do I connect and express more. It’s a gradual process and it took mainly first few years.
It was probably very mentally exhausting.
Very exhausting. There was a lot of self-doubt and negative feelings.
I dare to assume, you can be very picky, when you are finalizing a track, especially within vocals, right?
Yeah, very picky. But it’s getting better. I don’t want to sound cheesy, but I believe I have reached a point, where I accepted myself for who I am a little bit more. In the beginning I was trying to compare myself to other people as Chris Cornell and others. At this point I believe I have my own style. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine.