Sydney band J.O.Y (Jokes On You) will release their debut 7 inch "Fantasy" through New Ethic Records and Last Ride Records in mid August. Robert Fitzsimmons caught up with singer Stevie for a chat. Photos by Nicole Goodwin.

Yo Stevie, let’s jump straight in. How are you doing today? How are you feeling after just playing down south in Melbourne for two killer shows then playing the inaugural A Cold Day In Brisbane fest? Give us some highlights and some tips for how you like to feel human again after travelling in tight spaces for long periods of time.

Hi! Amongst the three shows we’ve played across Melbourne and Brisbane in the past weeks, the stand out for me was one we played at the Thornbury Bowls Club with Hacker, Future Suck, Persecutor, Frame and Serpette. There’s nothing cooler than being able to play with bands that you genuinely admire and listen to in your spare time. It’s a bigger bonus when most of those people happen to be your friends. You get to hang out, and I’m into that. I also have to mention that I rode one of those electric scooters for the first time outside of The Trifid at A Cold Day in Brisbane fest, and did not die so that was also cool. I’m honestly pretty introverted and traveling can be hard because while I’m stoked to listen to music and see people, it can leave me feeling pretty exhausted. Dark silent room, looking at memes or rewarding myself with a solo trip to the cinemas can feel restorative.

Now you’ve just digitally released a killer new 7’’ titled ‘Fantasy’ with records shipping next month via New Ethic and Last Ride, before we get into individual tracks tell me about the record itself. How it came together, who did what and what the response has been like to it

We released our 2022 Promo tape with New Ethic so we really wanted to keep James a part of whatever happened with the 7”, which ended up eventuating into a split release with Last Ride. My favourite thing about seeing Fantasy come into actualisation is being able to work with my friends and other creatives from the hardcore community. Ben Cunningham from Burial Sound tracked, mixed and mastered the release. Kyrylo Liesnoi did the art and Nicole Goodwin did the insert and layout. I’m not even bias, these people are genuinely good at what they do so follow them, commission them, support them, you know the deal. I think the response has been good, I’m honestly just happy that it’s out and in the world.


Let’s talk influences for the records, lyrically who do you like and what do you thinking you were shooting for? I feel with the newer songs that your writing is maturing more while also showing more of yourself, how do you handle that vulnerability in sharing?

Definitely, if I’m being honest on the demo I had absolutely zero idea of what I was doing. I was literally pulling words off of Tweety Bird T-shirts in hope of scrambling something together. At that point and time, I didn’t feel comfortable or confident enough to write much of what I wanted to. A friend then told me to have the confidence of cishet white man, and I started to realise that 80-90% of hardcore lyrics are cringe. So I leant in. Embraced my cringe. In saying that vulnerability is hard but it’s been rewarding for me because I’ve been able to be my authentic self. Thanks to Kelso for always helping and reminding me of the things above. In regards to influences, I remember listening to the 2019 Arm’s Reach EP and being like “That’s it”.

My standout track is the title track ‘Fantasy’, can you talk me through that song a bit. I know you love movies so how did it feel being able to marry the two in speaking on the trope of the manic pixie fairy dream?

The song is about how men can infantilize both women and femme presenting people. You know that our purpose and presence is just to be an anchor point in someone else's narrative, that we aren’t people. It’s all a joke, someone else’s fantasy really. And you’re right, I love movies and talking about them, this was just another way to do that. Special shout out to Penny Lane, and Clementine.

The finisher ‘Handfed’ has a lot to say and I’m here for it, as things get bigger you have a lot of new voices enter the conversation but sadly those voices can just be a mimic of what they have seen instead of expressing a new idea. With that in mind where do you think things are currently at, what are you loving to see and what would you like to see more of?

Straight up, cunts just need to be themselves and like what they like hey. So many people just echo whatever the person before them has said, near verbatim and it’s honestly so boring. I want more people dressing, speaking and creating for themselves.Those are the people and the stuff I love to see.


Finally, ‘Fantasy’ sees J.O.Y mixing it’s signature harder edged 80s NYHC vibe ala Killing Time, Breakdown and Outburst with a more modern energy making it more dynamic. Going into writing the tracks what do you think the biggest influences were for the others musically and what do you want to see with them?

During the lockdowns Coyle went through a massive beatdown phase where he would message the group chat being like “wow this is good” re some of the classics. Unfortunately Brooke banned us from becoming a beatdown band so we made do, with influences from that 90’s wave of NY bands like early Bulldoze, Everybody Gets Hurt, Neglect etc.

You’ve played Back On The Map, A Cold Day In Brisbane and had two trips to Melbourne. What is next for J.O.Y? What would you like to see the band do and who else should people be keeping an eye out for?

I have no clue what the future holds for J.O.Y other than our next show, all I know is that I want to have fun and enjoy myself. Whether that’s playing shows or riding electric scooters outside of venues with my friends.

Preorder "Fantasy" here:

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