Joyer Break Down Every Track From Their New Album Night Songs

The duo's latest LP is out now via Hit the North Records.

Music Features Joyer
Joyer Break Down Every Track From Their New Album Night Songs

Today, New York duo Joyer have unveiled their latest album, Night Songs. We had the privilege of catching brothers Nick and Shane Sullivan perform some tracks from this record last month at our East Austin Block Party, where they took one of the outdoor stages and awed everyone in attendance with their melodic slowcore gems. Night Songs is the Sullivans’ best work yet, arriving as a healthy, mellow album that easily detonates into pop choruses or splattered distortion.

While reviewing the record for us, critic Ethan Beck wrote that “Night Songs is also the Joyer album with the clearest hooks, leaning into jangle pop in order to propel their anxieties forward. The uptempo “Fall Apart” bursts open with a Ducks Ltd.-esque rhythm, relying upon familiar, jangling textures to introduce things. Right before “Fall Apart” swerves in a different direction, bubblegum pop “doo doos” cut in, countering building tension on Night Songs with Brill Building instincts. “Star” almost conjures heartland rock with its meandering guitar solo, like a lost The War on Drugs demo fronted by someone who grew up on Stephen Malkmus instead of Bruce Springsteen. But each venture towards guitar pop territory brims with assurance, as if Nick and Shane have been nurturing a love for 12-string Rickenbackers this entire time.”

Nick and Shane took the time to walk us through the backstories and inspirations behind all 11 tracks from Night Songs, which you can read below. You can listen to or purchase the album here.

“Night Song”

“Night Song” is a funny one because we originally planned it to be a short intro track to the album but when we were in the studio we had such a fun time recording it that it ended up being a lot longer than we had planned. We were actually having it fade out a lot sooner but when I sent it to our friend James to record synth on it he said something like he wished it went on for longer so that’s what inspired us to keep the whole duration of the track. I also love how heavily featured Sabrina’s vocals are on this song. She’s amazing at everything she does and we’re really hyped to have her all over the album. I think this song starting off the album is a good way to introduce her contribution over a lot of these tracks. —Nick

“Silver Moon”

“Silver Moon” marked a point where we wanted to experiment with louder and heavier songs. It’s definitely the most aggressive song we’ve written so far so and because it was such new territory for us, it was one of the most challenging songwriting moments on the album for me. I think it definitely payed off and adds a cool effect to contrast some of the quieter songs on the album. The song touches on overcoming personal shortcomings and feelings of inferiority and the feelings of frustration that can come with that. This combined with the aggressive feel of the song makes it a really cathartic and satisfying one to play. —Shane

“Drive All Night”

“Drive All Night” was probably the first time I made a conscious effort to write catchier and more melodic vocals which is something I hadn’t really had much experience doing in the past. With most of our older music, vocals were often more of an afterthought with the main emphasis and effort going into writing for the guitars. I always gravitated toward music with melodic vocals so I really wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone and try something new. I’m really happy I did because after writing Drive All Night, we sort of set a path for the rest of the album to be a bit more ambitious vocally. I have to do a lot of long drives to play shows since Nick and I live in different states so I spend a lot of time in the car by myself. This song is kind of a product of that and inspired by those long periods of driving alone. I feel like I get some of my favorite ideas when I’m driving by myself. —Shane


I wrote “777” a really long time ago, probably even before the release of our last album. I think I dragged my feet on tracking it because it was a big change for me to put so much emphasis on vocals. I changed the lyrics up a lot over time and it ended up becoming a lot more vulnerable than I’m used to, ultimately touching on different types of dysfunction and self-destruction surrounding people in my life and my anxiety about making the same mistakes. Shane really pushed me to finish it because I think he liked the demos I had made and I decided it made sense with what we were going for on the album so it ended up working out. I was also hyped to have Brad and Boone track some stuff on this song, I think they really added the final touches that got me excited to finally release it. —Nick

“Fall Apart”

“Fall Apart” was another attempt to push ourselves into new territory. In the past, our music leaned towards the slower side and I thought it would be fun to make a song with a more driving tempo for a change. I knew I wanted to center the song around a hypnotic motorik beat and everything kind of fell into place from there. The “break down” in the middle going back into the upbeat verse is one of the most satisfying parts of the album to me and is also really fun to play live, which is one of the things we set out to do when we started writing this album. Fall Apart is about recklessness and self sabotage and how easy it is to let your life spin out of control if you’re not careful. —Shane

“Wake Up”

I wrote “Wake Up” after I went back and listened to some of our old songs I hadn’t heard in years. We consider Sun Into Flies our first real album but we had two demo collection things before that. I don’t really listen to our music much after it comes out and it’s always a weird experience to revisit, especially listening to songs we still play live sometimes and hearing how different they’ve become from the recordings. Back then we weren’t really even a band, we only played out sometimes and even then we’d just perform like 3 songs at the end of our friend’s set that we were playing drums and bass in. We kind of only made music because we were between bands and since we didn’t really know what we were doing in terms of writing and recording we made a lot of weird decisions and experimented a lot. It feels like we were a totally different band back then so I thought it would be kind of fun to try to replicate that vibe for this song. I’m not sure if the end result really reflects what I was going for but I think it came out cool in its own way and it was a fun exercise. —Nick


“Star” is an interesting one because I feel like it comes the closest to following a pop song formula as we’ve ever come. It’s very vocal and hook driven and again this was very unfamiliar territory for us so it was exciting and refreshing to try to make a song like this. It’s kind of a slice of life of the summer I was having when I wrote it. It has small fragments of different days. Some mundane moments at home mixes with more chaotic memories from tour like camping in Ohio and being attacked by mayflies. —Shane

“Softer Skin”

“Softer Skin” kind of started with just a drum beat Nick had in mind and then the two of us jammed on it and built it up from there. It’s really fun when we’re able to write songs this way. It feels more instinctive and spontaneous and less arduous, like songwriting can sometimes be for me. Things just fall into to place and we kind of feel each other out and it’s more fun and playful this way. This was one of the only songs we were going to have Sabrina sing on initially but she sounded so good we kept writing more parts for her to sing on other songs. I love how harsh and almost ugly parts of this song sound compared to the softer and lighter sounding moments highlighted by Sabrina’s awesome singing. —Shane


We recorded Night Songs in two sessions several months apart which I think we both found to be really useful. We left the first session with a handful of songs and were able to take a second to reflect and adjust the direction we wanted the album to go in for the second session. In between sessions we sent Sabrina “Softer Skin” to track vocals on and, as Shane mentioned earlier, we liked what she did so much that we asked her to be featured a lot more. This caused me to drastically rework our version of “Try” from the first session because I came up with a bunch of stuff for her to do on it. I’ve always wanted to write a song with the kind trade off vocals that happen on this one so I was glad I was able to make it work. Another highlight for me is the samples that Brad (from Big Nice Studio) added. He did it on a whim, so quickly and nonchalantly I didn’t even realize what was happening and later on he didn’t even remember doing it. It’s funny that such a cool moment came out of such lack on intention. —Nick

“Rings a Bell”

I stressed myself out over this song because it felt so daunting to me at first. My guitar part is kind of wacky and even though I liked it a lot, I kind of felt like it was going to be impossible to write drums or even vocals to it that I’d be happy with. Because of that, I put it off for a while but when I finally jumped into finishing it it came together really fast. I like that Shane’s lead is just as weird as my parts, I remember when we were tracking it Brad was really skeptical and said it sounded like Tool or something, which I can definitely see when isolated, but I think it fits really well with the rest of the instrumentation. —Nick

“Mason Dixon”

I always wanted to make a song inspired by folk music because that’s some of my favorite music to listen to so that’s what I initially set out to do with Mason Dixon. I also started playing along with a long layered intro to the song that I kind of got carried away with just because I had so much fun adding guitar layer after guitar layer. I was more so doing it for fun just to mess around but I ended actually liking it continued to expand on it. I asked our bass player and close friend Jake Miller to add some synth layers too because I thought the more tracks the better! I think that whole section adds a cool effect and makes for a more “dramatic” conclusion to the album, especially as the intro quickly kicks into the verse. This is another song that’s mostly about being on tour. I wrote it after our long tour to the south and to Canada. It was the first long tour we ever did so it was really exciting for me but also brought about some mixed emotions. I loved meeting new people and seeing new places but I got pretty tired as it went on and kind of craved the routine and order of ordinary life. It’s interesting looking back on this song because I feel almost the opposite way now haha. We’ve been touring a bunch more since then and I’m always sad to come home and resume the non-music part of my life. Living away from Nick and other collaborators can also be kind of hard and I often miss being able to play music with other people and just playing music out. —Shane

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