Joan Talks '80s And '90s Inspo And Their Debut Single, "Take Me On"
Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford’s musical pairing is practically a match made in Heaven—expertly marrying everything we love from the ’80s pop scene and more recent ’90s R&B hits, their duo, Joan, is poised to take the indie pop world by storm. Even their actual partnership (“it was one of those things where the stars just aligned”) has us fully convinced of this pair’s potential.
We sat down with Joan to get the dish on their debut single, “Take Me On” (listen below), and everything else this new duo is setting their sights on (hint: they’re dreaming big, in the best way possible). Peep the full interview here, and stay tuned for Joan’s Friday playlist, coming later this month.
I’d love to start talking about your debut single, “Take Me On”. What was the inspiration behind it, and how did you guys get it off the ground this year?
S: Yeah! So obviously this is our debut, and we’re a really, really new kind of baby band. We both come from a bunch of different projects so we’ve done a bunch over the years, and we live in the same town and have a bunch of the same mutual friends. So it came down to one of us just being like, “Hey let’s start a thing, let’s start writing and see what happens.” And so “Take Me On” was actually just the first song we wrote. So we got that chorus, finished the song, and were both just really jazzed about how it came out. It was one of those things where all the stars just aligned. We both mesh really well musically and as friends and so once “Take Me On” came out of nowhere, we were just like, “Cool, there’s something here, let’s shake this down.”
So I know you guys are kind of at the intersection of retro ’80s pop and ’90s R&B. How would you describe your sound?
A: That’s a great question…Steven?
S: Yeah, so it’s tough. When we started this, we wanted to do something that had a modern feel to it but was definitely reflective of what we grew up on. We feel like it came out naturally, not stuck in the retro field but having a definite modern twist.
As far as other music that you guys worked on in the past, did any of that carry over or is this like a totally new vibe that you’re working on?
A: I’d say yeah, to a certain degree you carry some things with you, but I think we both consciously wanted to stay away from the past stuff.
S: Yeah, exactly.
A: We both come from more indie rock and electronic rock stuff. So we just didn’t want to do the same stuff. We basically had this vision in our head of what it could look like and it was pretty different to everything else that we had done. That really excited us because we were like, we have the vision, we know the vibe we wanna go for, let’s just–this is it, let’s chase it down.
Who are some of your biggest influences then? Any artists who you really admire their style, or who might’ve informed the single in some way?
S: Yeah well, it’s a mix. Obviously guys like The King, Michael Jackson, everything from his beats, to his melodies, to the feel of his songs–we definitely draw from that. As far as newer stuff, I mean The 1975 is killing it, Lana, any band that’s kind of pulling that 80’s/90’s vibe that we really dig that also kind of falls in the modern space—we love that vibe. Do you have any to add Alan?
A: No that sounds good to me! [laughs]
Do you guys have any dream collaborations or people you would just kill to work with?
S: Well to be honest, one of our dream ones we got to work with on this single which was really cool, our producer Tim Pagnotta, he produced Walk The Moon, St. Lucia, Coin, some others.
A: St. Motels too.
S: Yeah, and somehow the stars aligned and we were able to produce this single with him so that was like a big thing. I mean we were like, “Man, if we can work with him that would be awesome,” and it worked out so, that would be my first answer.
Dope! So now that the single is out, do you guys have an EP or an album in the works? What’s next for you two?
A: Yeah! I mean we don’t have strict plans, but we have several songs that are really close and it looks like those will be singles too so I think an EP is in the near future… we’re just kind of rolling out some singles every once in a while right now.
S: Especially since we’re brand new, we’re just trying to scratch the surface and get people acquainted.
What about touring–have you guys even thought about that?
S: Oh, we think about it all the time!
A: Yup, no that’s definitely in the works and in our plans, God willing I guess. But right now with the label, with 20XX, it’s kind of like, “Let’s just drop the debut, gage if people love it or if they hate it or whatever and then go from there.” And all the while me and Steven are staying in a dreamscape of what this could be and just planning, planning every step so.
Featured image courtesy of Joan
Stay tuned to Milk for more new kids on the block who slay.