London based band JoanOvArc return with their third album, 'Invisible Enemy' showcasing the band's tight musicianship, gifted songwriting and glorious vocal harmonies. Lead singer and guitarist Shelley Walker answered a few questions for 'Ballroom Blitz's Man At The Back' on the making of the album, favourite tracks and some of the highlights for the band over their career, and JoanOvArc will be looking to record and tour a fourth album over the coming year; do check the album out and go to see them live when they tour.
The line-up on 'Invisible Enemy' was Shelley Walker (Vocals / Guitar), Laura Ozholl (Guitar / Vocals), Keira Kenworthy (Bass / Vocals) and Ellie Daymond (Drums).
'Invisible Enemy' is out now and available on all the major digital sites and from the JoanOvArc Bandcamp page - www.joanovarc.bandcamp.com. The first two albums - 'Ride Of Your Life' (2016) and 'JOANovARC' (2019) are also still available on those sites along with a host of early singles.
Hi, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for BBMATB. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with JoanovArc, could you give a short history of the band?
Hi! The band was initially formed in 2004 with original line up sisters Sam and Shelley Walker, and Deborah Wildish joining later the same year. After five years as a trio, Laura Ozholl completed the line-up in 2009. In 2019 the line-up changed once more with Ellie Daymond on drums and Keira Kenworthy on bass continuing JOANovARC’s reputation for exceptional musicianship, longevity, songwriting and unrelenting hard work.
And who would you say were the main influences on JoanovArc?
Foo Fighters, Muse, Rammstein, Frank Zappa, Joan Jett, Queen
You've recently released your third album - 'Invisible Enemy'. Are there any recurrent themes running through the album and how was it writing and recording 'Invisible Enemy' through lockdown?
It took blood, sweat and tears to produce this album over a two year period of lockdown. The album was recorded over four sessions due to the UK restrictions but we finally made it to the end of the tunnel. The album encapsulates JOANovARC’s experiences of the lockdown period, the dark times and human survival. ‘What doesn’t kill you make you stronger’ was the feeling behind this album and we hope that the listener can relate to our experiences and this will take them on a musical journey. The 'Invisible Enemy' album is a continuation of the band's journey and includes songs that have been written by the Walker sisters over many years.
How do you think 'Invisible Enemy' differs from your previous two albums 'Ride Of Your Life' and 'JoanovArc'?
'Invisible Enemy’ is delivering powerful rock and metal anthems with a modern twist. We had a driving force of metal musicians which transcends on to the new album with a new sound that is certainly heavier than before. The drum and bass are anchor that enforce the power of this album. The title track ‘Invisible Enemy’ is bold, dynamic, emotional and will hit you in the face.
Some of the more affecting moments on the album feature Francesca Cull's cello playing; how did you come to work with Francesca?
We really wanted some dark cello on this album and our producer Jason Wilson from Stakeout Studios suggested using Fran. She is a top classical player and has a lot of recording experience on pop and rock records. My inspiration for the cello came from ‘MTV Nirvana unplugged’.
Any particular favourite tracks on the album, and if so why?
‘Invisible Enemy’ is the title track and sums up the album, it is the signature tune but we do prefer…
‘Silver Sun’ for its interesting bass and guitar lines. It has a space rock vibe and is totally different from the other tracks. This definitely shows off Keira’s bass skills.
‘Nothing Left To Say’ is the perfect outro track to finish the album off and it shows an end of an era. It’s a very emotional song with dark undertones.
And were there any songs that didn't make the cut but that we may hear at a later date?
There are always songs that don’t make the cut and they will hopefully be on the next album.
Do you have any shows coming up where people can catch the new songs (and some of the old songs)?
Unfortunately due to band members parting this album will not be toured and is a lockdown album only. We hope to tour the 4th Album.
What have been the highlights for the band over its long career?
Recording ‘Ride Of Your Life’ released on 9th November 2016. The album was recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios and produced by Grammy winning producer Gil Norton (Foo Fighters). Our album reached the HMV stores around the country and this was a very proud moment for the band.
Spotify hit ‘Say Sayonara’ which achieved over 700,000 streams and featured the Xbox 360 computer game and on the 'Rock Running' spotify album.
Performing tours in Europe, Japan, and the USA supporting ‘Huntress’ at The Viper Rooms, Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles.
Would you have done anything differently over the years?
Yes, followed my instinct more regarding certain situations. You always know deep inside when something is right or wrong.
Do you feel there is a good underground rock scene at the moment? Any bands that you'd currently recommend to readers?
Yes ‘Fyre Sky’ and ‘Jackals Backbone’. They both won ‘Metal To The Masses’ and performed at Bloodstock. They are both hard working bands with outstanding music.
And finally, what plans for JoanovArc for the rest of 2022 and going into 2023?
We are definitely going to keep promoting the album. Getting our music on a few Spotify playlists and pitching the album to the computer game industry. We have done this before and it’s proved to be successful. We will also look towards a 4th album next year and touring.