Google “Joyce Manor,” and you’ll learn a lot about this Southern California pop-punk band. There are a lot of notes about that recent show in Houston (more on that later), as well as a few hundred hits about stage diving. It’s an online paper trail that could easily translate as “growing pains” for the young quartet who was just recently introduced to the Internet’s “cool kids.”
It’s easy to understand what Joyce Manor frontman Barry Johnson, whose voice is chock-full of inflection, means when he’s asked about the band’s recent review on music mega-blog Pitchfork. “I feel like every band out there kind of has to deal with whether they’re going to seek the approval of … more or less, I guess, legitimate online publications, you know?”
On the phone, Johnson sounds more cynical than cautious.
“Part of me wants to be acknowledged by that world, but up until this point, we haven’t really been acknowledged,” he said. “I guess it is kind of interesting to be a band that Alternative Press cares about and a band that Pitchfork cares about, because there’s a lot of bullshit with both of them.”
It’s easy to understand Johnson’s simmering disdain for the Internet’s always-jabbering music media (*wink*). For a band whose music is so delightfully straightforward — think strong, evocative melodies and yell-along lyrics — Joyce Manor has dealt with more than its fair share of music-scene semantics, including getting caught in the undertow of the alleged (but, frankly, never clearly substantiated) “emo revival movement.”
In the last month, a heated (though, frankly, semi-typical) exchange with a concertgoer who was attempting to jump into a crowd of people at that aforementioned Houston gig landed Johnson and Joyce Manor in the middle of a heated discussion about the merits of stage diving.
“It’s obviously a conversation that everyone was dying to have because with the tiniest spark, the Internet went crazy about it,” said Johnson, who also explained that he’s taking a break from the web in the wake of the controversy.
“The Internet is crazy. And the strangest part of it all was the fact that we never came out and said, ‘Hey, we’re trying to ban stage diving worldwide.’ But that’s how everyone acted! Everyone was like ‘Joyce Manor thinks stage dives are immoral.’”
Johnson, like Joyce Manor, is clearly still adjusting to his new environment, and steadily working to define himself, despite everyone else’s rush to do it for him.
“I don’t want to be remembered as, like, the stage-dive band. We’re just a band.”
Joyce Manor plays Velvet Jones (423 State St.) on Saturday, October 18, at 7 p.m. Visit newnoisesb.com for tickets and info.