Interview with Michelle Joy of Cannons

 Michelle Joy of Cannons (April 11, 2022)

Interview by: Lee Ackerley


It’s been a pretty wild run through pandemic. Your band seemed to go through a metamorphosis that transformed your life completely!


It’s felt really crazy, yeah, because before the pandemic and everything, our biggest show was probably 200 people or something, and we also didn’t have the hip fire for you yet. So it was a little crazy once everything started opening back up to be thrown into, Lollapalooza was our first show. So it’s thousands of people. And then we’ve been on this crazy festival run. We played so many festivals. I can’t even keep up with how many festivals we’ve played, and then first big opening tour and then headline tour. So we have been on this Cannon’s mission that has been so exciting and so much fun, but a lot to take in, I think.


How do you prepare for your first headlining tour?


Yeah. So it’s all been like a learning process because it’s all super new to all of us. But we definitely did learn a lot on that opening floor and learn things that happened super helpful. Even just spending the time every single night to figure out what we like in our ears, because in ears are a new thing for me that I’ve had to get used to, which now I’m used to, I love it. I can perform a lot better since I’ve become comfortable with things like in ears, knowing how to schedule my day so I have like energy to do these. It’s 75 minute, eight minute sets at 10:00 PM or whatever. It’s been just been trying to get this routine going where I eat healthy on tour. I haven’t been able to exercise much of this tour, but I feel like I’m exercising every single night. So I have my routine and we’ve got our awesome tour bus this time, which makes it a lot easier. Because before we were driving in a band and it was hard.


 I know that you were a runner in college and you’ve mentioned that’s your first passion. Has that complimented what you’re doing with Cannons in some way?. How is running part of your life now?


 So that’s interesting you asked me that, because our last show, or was it two nights ago in Houston, brought me back to this whole, the part of myself that I’ve been separated from for a while, because growing up, my dad was a professional track coach and his dream was for me to be in the Olympics and he trained Olympians and one of them actually lived with us when I was in high school and I trained with him and he was kind of like my brother, but he’s two gold medals, three bronze medals. So he came to his first concert ever, which was our show in Houston. He’s never been to a concert.


And I haven’t seen him in 10 years since my dad passed away. So it was such a really cool moment because I felt like for the first time I felt my dad was in the room since, yeah. He was kind of his dad too or whatever, but it’s been really cool because tour has been able to bring all these different parts of myself from the past and stuff together just by visiting all these different cities. I’ve been able to meet people that I would’ve never been able to meet in my family or my past, but yeah, they’re running. I was even talking to him about it and it’s really helping me be able to do these sets and sing and dance and do this every single night almost.


You’re very active on stage. It definitely seems like you’d need stamina to do that every night.


Yeah. Because I heard that people gain a bunch of weight on tour and just eat crappy food and all this stuff. But I feel like I keep getting more in shape because I’m dancing, I’m on this. I usually only want to eat salads and pretty healthy stuff because I don’t want to feel sluggish. When I’m at the show it is like a race that I’m running. I want to do a good job and I want everyone to have a good time. So I keep my energy on point and pace myself with my day. And that’s kind of something that I definitely learned to do, being an athlete because I also ran for in college for Florida state. And my whole childhood with everything was just like athletics.


At Florida state you have talked about like there’s a club there that you’d see new bands and that kind of opened your world, you up. Was that college experience your first entry point into music?


Yeah. Kind of. So I’d say two entry points is in high school, my high school had their own radio station and I took radio for a class, even though it was a whole radio station that broadcasted in South Florida, we got to program the music and take home the CDs and everything so I could listen to whatever. And so that exposed me to a lot of music that I would’ve never been exposed to if I wasn’t part of radio.


Yes. And then in college, Florida state had club down under and all the shows were free, and they were right next to my dorm area, and in the evenings, I just always go and sit in the back couch usually and just check out new bands. And it was really fun for me because it just, yeah, that just opened up my musical expanse or something. I just found a lot of cool bands that I would’ve never been exposed to before and we had a cool, a really awesome booking agent for that venue that is still my friend till this day and now she books a lot of bands in Los Angeles that are pretty neat and…


Yeah. So she had really good taste and it’s close me down into lot of cool bands and is working with, I’m not sure what you would call, the genre.


What would you call Cannons genre of music?


I don’t know.


Intimate dream pop lounge?


Yeah. I don’t know.


Lounge disco?


We’ve gotten lots of different names for it.


I’m sure it’s aggravating and some of them are just ridiculous.


Well the guys, I guess the guys don’t like when they hear future boogie, at least, I don’t know. Charles Ryan says that, yeah, he doesn’t like the word boogie. I don’t know. But people like to mix it in there.


Technology has been integral to Cannons journey; Craigslist brought you together, Soundcloud  validated your early tracks and Netflix broadcasted your music to a wide audience. But it sounds like it all unfolded organically?


Yeah. It’s been an interesting journey too, because even the first couple songs I worked on with the guys, we never even met up, we just emailed back and forth and wrote music without meeting up, which is why working during the pandemic and when everything shut down, a lot of artists were worried about not being able to go to studios and not being able to meet up with all their songwriters or whatever. But it didn’t phase us at all because we continued to do things. I mean, a lot of the time now, we meet up, we used to live in the same apartment complex for a while too. But at least during that time when nobody was seeing each other, we were still writing songs and songs that are on this album.



If Cannons did a side project featuring a different music genre, what could you see all three of you playing?


With all three of us? I don’t know. There’s so many different avenues that we all allow each other to explore, but it always comes back to sounding like Cannons, in some way. I don’t know if that makes sense, for example, things like “Purple song”. I feel like that sounds nothing like the other songs on the album, but I’m like, my dad was from Trinidad and my uncle, he’s the music director for the biggest steel drum orchestra in the world. So I was like, I need at least some kind Island bug, steel drum here. So then Paul’s like, right, let me think about it. And then came up with that really awesome production for that.


And it works on the album. Yeah. I mean it blends right in. And you wrote fire for you out of a breakup is ruthless specifically landing on a person in your life or.


Well, not for me specifically. So with ruthless, I’m not sure how much you should tell you. I don’t like when people that are close to me, my friends or family are not treated well by others. So that song came from someone close to me.

Starting a relationship with someone that was total, not a good person and me kind of being upset about it, them getting hurt and putting myself in their shoes and feeling like there was no other way to express that anger than just being like, fuck you. Because when you’re off and you’re dealing with people in those situations, that’s just what you’re saying. Yeah.


I know Harry Styles, had heard some of it, and you guys covered him on the latest covers album. Has anybody else reached out specifically that you found important or inspiring?


Tiesto reached out. He was a huge fan of Fire. So he ended up remixing that.  That wasn’t like a label being like, we’re going to go pay Tiesto a bunch of money to do this. He reached out, he was like, I want to remix this song.

Yeah. There’s a lot of people that have reached out to us on Instagram and DM us.

Oh yeah. Cat Power. I love cat power. She loves Cannons. Then there’s bands that like the guys listen to that I haven’t really listened to too much of, but grew up listening to that have reached out. Who is the lead singer of AFI? Loves Cannons and have been DMing, I haven’t listened to POD, but I remember Paul’s been DMing with him and he came to our show.