JOANovARC: ‘It’s a new era for the band’

JOANovARC have had an up-and-down couple of years, be it through line-up changes or the state of the world that has caused so many issues in the music industry. However, the women came out to make a statement at Rockin’ The Bowl and that is exactly what they did. Heralding a new era for the band with the arrival of new frontwoman Hazel Jade Rogers, they proved they are ready for the big leagues.

We had the chance to speak to them after their set about their new line-up and what their plans are for the future, among other fun things too. Check it out down below!

How was the set?

Hazel: Wicked! It was really good. It was my first gig with JOANovARC and we are exclusively announcing to all of the interviewers today that I am officially the new singer!

How come you’re the new singer?

Hazel: The last singer moved to Greece and the previous singer got pregnant. So it’s one of those things! It really worked out. Originally I was only going to be temping for this gig and a gig we have tomorrow but we all click so well and it ended up working out that I ended up wanting to join and everyone wanted me to join so it just went well!

What about everyone else, have you been playing much lately or is this the first time you’ve played since COVID?

Shelly: Yeah, I guess it’s the first gig with Hazel since COVID but we do have a tour coming up in October.

Ellie: We gonna be joining VEGA on their UK tour alongside Revival Black so our first gig with them will be on the 9th of October at the Camden Underworld. We’re really looking forward to it and we’re with them for the whole tour as well so it’s going to be really fun!

Are you headed all over the UK then?

Hazel: Yep, and we’re driving everywhere!

Who’s the driver?

Hazel: We share it. I don’t drive, would you guys like me to try and drive on this tour and see what happens? I’ll end up crashing!

But no, it’s going to be cool to go on tour and we get to experience a bit of tour life with each other. But we all just click and I think that comes off on stage. A lot of people come to me and are like ‘wait, you’re a new member?’ I’m just the new funny thing in the band!

But yeah it’s going to be great! It’ll be super fun. It’s a star lineup with us and Revival Black and VEGA and it’s going to be feckin’ wicked.

Have you guys got a new album coming out or?

Shelly: Yeah we’ve got a new album but obviously it was the last singer so we’ve got an EP coming out with Hazel with some of the tracks from the new album so we’re really looking forward to that!

Hazel: Obviously everyone got a taster today of what JOANovARC’s new era is but we want them to have something to listen to so we’re going to create a little EP. It will be recorded and it will be released so it’s going to be really nice for the band to start their new journey.

Did you manage to get much done over the last 18 months then, were you working on the songs?

Keira: We did a lot of songwriting during the lockdowns. So I managed to write two songs and Ellie, as well as Shelly, have managed to come up with lyrics as well. So a lot of the material for the new album that we recorded, as well as the EP, has been during the time of the pandemic. I think it reflects the mood of what we were like during COVID and the lockdown and everything and we’ve just given a taste of what we’ve done, playing new songs.

Shelly: They started out as demos. We live in all parts of the country so what I was having to do is write demos on Logic Pro and send them to Keira to put her bass down, send them to Ellie to put her drums down and we had to create these demos and then when we could finally meet in the studio we really brought the songs to life. We had to do it that way; we had no other choice. But it was good, a different way of writing.

We’re not restricted completely. Two of our songs, ‘Isolation’ and ‘Invisible Enemy’ are about the whole COVID thing and being stuck indoors. We were literally writing about our situation at the time.

Hazel: I think one of the lyrics that stuck out to me particularly was ‘the pain of loosing someone from this life’. So many people have suffered from COVID and a lot of people have passed because of it so one thing with writing that’s so important to me is that you write lyrics that connect with others and have meaning. I think that is again something that is already in JOANovARC but is only going to get better with the new lineup!

Will you be putting your part forward for the lyrics, then?

Hazel: Oh yeah! I’ve already shown a couple of songs to the girls and they really like them so we’re gonna pursue that as well. Basically JOANovARC are not going to stop for the next while. We have so much going on with the tour and the photoshoots and the interviews and everything so we’re really thankful for that. This is what we do and this is what we love!

Does the EP have a different sound from an instrumental point of view too, as well as having a new singer?

Ellie: Yeah, it definitely sounds different to what we’ve done previously.

Keira: It’s heavier!

Shelly: I would say more intricate, too. We’ve got a track we played today today called ‘Silver Sun’ that’s very complex on the bass, playing lots of arpeggios and things like that. The fact of the matter is in this group there is an incredible singer now but also an incredible bassplayer and drummer too. They add a completely different dynamic and are very much into all sorts of styles.

Hazel: I was going to say, bands that have musicians who dip out and in of different genres are the best. You know, Queen was such a fantastic band because they did not allow the walls of genre to stop them! Keira’s amazing on the bass, she brings this funk element, and obviously Shelly brings the rock element and then I don’t know what you [Ellie] do but it sounds good! She does a good job on the drums and I think her nickname should be The Animal!

I just think the fact that we have different interests in music, as well as similar interests of course means that we’re all bringing something different. I don’t think you really listen to a rock band that has a funk bassist underneath, it’s cool!

Shelly: Hazel plays piano too, she’s a good pianist so there is another element there that can also come to the band later on. Every rock band has it’s great ballad and I can really see that happening with this band.

Hazel: Yeah, we’ll just roll a grand piano on for every gig… and I want a black sparkly one!

If you guys could collab with anyone, who would it be?

Hazel: I think we’d all be happy working with Halestorm. It’s really nice to see women in rock, especially really powerful musicians.

There are very few female acts on the lineup this weekend, how do you feel being one of the few?

Hazel: It’s… am I allowed to swear?

It’s a dickfest. A complete sausage party. And you know it gives me something to look at but I’d like a bit of everything. I think the fact that Doro is headlining tonight is amazing, that’s fantastic, what a thing! We could work with Doro!

I think it’d be great to work with another female act and the reason being that it pushes forth that we can do it just as well as men honey!

Keira: I also think as well because of the pandemic I think more bands are helping each other. We had an interview earlier where one band were promoting another band and vice versa. It was backwards and forwards, like you scratch my back I’ll scratch your back sort of thing. I think everyone’s released after the last 18 months that we al need to help each other. It’s not a rivalry at all.

Samantha, who was the original singer for JOANovARC, she’s just had a child but she’s now getting back into music. She’s asked me and Shelly to join her little side project so we’re helping her with that!

Shelly: I think where some bands go wrong is not helping others. It’s so important to help each other, you never know when you’re going to need someone’s help. My mum always said treat people how you want to be treated and you respect everyone, because you don’t know who they are.

Ellie: and it’s like if you [Shelly] said, if you come to a festival like this and you don’t know who that person is and you treat them like shit, that person could be a press person or a manager or a publisher, you just don’t have a clue.

Keira: We are very grateful for the support we’ve received these last couple of years, especially with the lineup changes but we’ve had really good reception from the crowd here today and that’s given us a new lease of life I think.

We do live in a generation now where we can give back to fans more than ever before. We’ve done Patreon and everything and we can give them something more exclusive and personal. Compared to previously where a band could come across as untouchable, you can watch them from a distance, with the internet it’s made it much easier for people who support the band to interact with them. I think we Patreon we can do that well, we can give something back. We’ve been recording and people can see that process and we give them goodies as well, it’s really great!

The image of the band: obviously you’re all wearing outlandish clothing, was that something you had done before, or is this something you have started now?

Shelly: We’re all individuals, we are what we are, and we just so happened to merge!

Hazel: We just merged into one ginormous blob! I think the point is that we dress like this every day. It’s not something we just switch on for our gigs, we enjoy dressing this way, we love doing it. I have the typical overblown closet and I’ve seen Keira’s and everything is in plastic wrap and it’s really neat and everything and I’m sitting there like ‘how the hell do you do it?’. But the point is that we all enjoy the style of the band and as Shelly said, we wear what we want to wear and it just so happens to look good!

I think we’re trying to go for more of an alternative look, the whole band has always had that sort of look, they’ve just been moulding it properly, perfecting it. As I said, new era of JOANovARC.

Have you got anything coming up apart from the tour that you’d like to plug?

Keira: Monster Fest in Inverness in November.

Shelly: And the Great British Rock Festival in January. We won a competition last year so we’re on the mains stage!

And there we have it, JOANovARC are ready to take over the UK rock scene, if not the world in general! We cannot wait to hear what they do next, be it the EP and their tour in November, we will be there for all of it!

Did you like our interview? Why don’t you check out our review of the festival as a whole here.

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