Mt. Joy is hoping to make a statement when it releases its self-titled debut album — including the track “Dirty Love,” premiering exclusively here — on March 2.
“A lot of what happens in the music industry now is maybe a band has one song and rides that one song for what it’s worth and that’s it,” singer-guitarist Matt Quinn tells Billboard. “We all really feel like we made a full album of good songs, so we’re excited for the reaction to our whole depth of work. We want to prove that what makes a band is you have whole records. That’s what we’re going for.”
Philadelphians Quinn and guitarist Sam Cooper met in high school and began performing together during 2005. They went their separate ways but stayed in touch as they pursued college degrees, forming Mt. Joy during 2016 independently making their ways to Los Angeles. Four songs, including the single “Astrovan,” created an online buzz for the group’s richly textured brand of Americana, a sound it honed further while making the Mt. Joy album with producer Jon Gilbert.
“It has a lot to do with the personalities of the band we were able to put together,” Quinn explains. “I think everyone kind of comes from a different background — from the classical world, the rock world, more of the jazz world. The songs start out as these acoustic guitar ideas and everyone will interpret it in their own way. So what we’re getting is the sum of all the parts.”
“Dirty Love” was one of Mt. Joy’s early songs, built on what Quinn calls “a super simple ukulele line.” “We wanted to contrast it to other sounds, not just make it a light ukulele tune,” he says. The song’s lyrics, meanwhile, echo the album’s theme of coping with various situations and neuroses — particularly the rigors of the band’s chosen course of work.
“When we got thrown into this it was definitely a dream, but it also comes with the challenges of changing your life overnight,” Quinn explains. “I think for us the big thing was learning how to try to maintain relationships, romantic or otherwise, in a job that has you traveling most of the time. (‘Dirty Love’) is about trying to learn to maintain your mental health and relationships while transitioning into being a full-time musician. It’s a good change overall, but with change comes growing pains, for sure.”
Mt. Joy is looking at plenty of travel ahead, too. The group will play a national tour starting March 8, including a swing through South By Southwest and dates currently booked into late May.