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When Joywave formed in 2010, frontman Daniel Armbruster was wri9ng and recording songs in his parents’ basement as he embarked on a frui?ul period of self-discovery. Ironically, aEer spending the past ten years touring the world in support of three cri9cally acclaimed albums, the new Joywave EP, Every Window Is A Mirror, was craEed under strikingly similar circumstances. “When I was making these songs, it was like I was back in my post-grad years, but it was in my basement now,” Armbruster recalls with a laugh. “I thought, okay, what do I want to do? There’s nobody here again.’” With a virus ravaging the world and no possibility of touring for the foreseeable future, Armbruster was once again able to dig into his own psyche and see what surfaced. “The wri9ng this 9me was really introspec9ve because I didn’t want to go upstairs and turn on the TV, you know?” he explains. “The only part of the world that made sense to me was my liOle corner where I’m making music.”
Over the past decade, that liOle corner has expanded from Armbruster’s parents’ house in Rochester, New York, to the Lollapalooza stage, tours with everyone from Bas9lle, Brandon Flowers to Young The Giant and late-night television appearances that have allowed Joywave to beam their infec9ous brand of indie rock into households all over the world. However, the release of the band’s 2020 album Possession admiOedly felt a bit an9climac9c. “We released Possession on dare I say the worst possible day of March 13, 2020” Armbruster said with a sigh, adding that the band had just goOen back from Europe when the virus put everyone’s lives on pause. “So much 9me and effort had gone into that record and suddenly the touring cycle we had been planning on for the next year was already over when we landed at the Newark Interna9onal airport.” Although Possession, which centered around themes of control and polariza9on was remarkably prescient, that’s liOle consola9on to a band who thrives for live performances. “I feel like we made the record for right now last 9me, weirdly,” he explains.
Flash forward to now, their Every Window Is A Mirror EP is as much a commentary on the way things are currently as it is a look toward our collec9ve future. It’s poe9c without being preachy and is unabashedly Joywave in a way that further solidifies their sound as something that, like our world, is in a state of perpetual evolu9on. For this EP, Armbruster wrote demos and sent them to the band—drummer Paul Brenner, guitarist/ bassist Joseph Morinelli and keyboardist Benjamin Bailey—before piecing together the resul9ng tracks in Armbruster’s basement studio. “The process itself was very different in that Paul and I were in the same room for three days and the other files were sent electronically,” Armbruster explains. “Weirdly, this is our most live-sounding record, which is funny because 90% of it is one guy sidng downstairs.” The dynamic sound of
the EP is as much of a testament to the performances on the album as it is Armbruster’s produc9on prowess, which combines organic and electronic elements into a soundscape that con9nues to unfold itself with each listen.
From the ambient, dancey groove of “Pray For The Reboot” to the brooding and expansive “The Inversion” and the bass-driven shuffle of “AEer Coffee,” the Every Window Is A Mirror EP has a melodic sensibility that serves as a constant between these four songs despite the fact that they all have their own unique musical personality. “I was very conscious of not doing the same thing again with these songs,” Armbruster explains. “Possession had the crazy produc9on of [2015’s] How Do You Feel Now? and the increased emo9onal depth of [2017’s] Content, so for these songs it was important for me to move past that and bring something a liOle different to the table.” This sonic step forward is illustrated on the EP’s 9tle track, which features a syncopated bass line, instantly infec9ous chorus and lyrics that somehow make the phrase “carbon neutral” sound catchy. There is also an element of honoring the beauty of simple pleasures during vola9le 9mes, something that Armbruster exemplifies on “AEer Coffee,” a song he describes as a “celebra9on of the mundane.”
“Normalcy is so beau9ful when you’re coming from the chaos of Newark Interna9onal Airport in 2020 coming back from Europe and you’re like, ‘Are they going to close the border?”’ Armbruster says of the track’s quo9dian charm. “It’s definitely not a quaran9ne song, it’s just this thing that I think all touring people feel when you get back from tour of ‘Wait, I have to decide what’s for dinner? It doesn’t just show up?’” he adds with a laugh. “Once you’re home it’s a weird psychological adjustment. But the older I get the more I appreciate that when I’m home, this is where I’m being a person, not the other thing; the other thing is weird. It’s just celebra9ng that and cherishing those moments,” he adds. That said, the song is s9ll inherently relatable if you don’t spend half of your year on the road.
Even now, there is a hopefulness that shines through on these songs that will undoubtedly resonate with the listener. “I s9ll feel lucky to have that 9me even right now, it would be nice to go play the last record for people but having unchecked crea9ve 9me, it’s not so bad,” Armbruster explains. A history major by nature, Armbruster is fascinated with this moment and the Every Window Is A Mirror EP is an aperture into Joywave’s crea9ve process during it, which is as likely to inspire introspec9on as it is the urge to dance away the collec9ve uncertainty of the moment. “If this is the last 9me that I get to talk to the audience or share my ideas with them, what do I want to say?” he summarizes. “Not only that, but what have I learned uniquely through this crazy life of mine that I can share with them?” If nothing else, this EP answers those ques9ons in a way that is dis9nc9vely Joywave.