Have You Met.. Allysha Joy

Allysha Joy’s potent lyricism, unique musicianship and killer vocals have garnered legions of attentive fans the world over. She’s an integral member of the Melbourne soul jazz scene, known as part of the acclaimed 30/70 Collective and for her own equally revered solo work. Back in November Allysha Joy released her stunning solo EP, ‘Light It Again’, and she has now taken the time to join our Q&A series so we can learn a bit more about her musical journey:

Who are the musicians which inspire you to create music?

Oh too many to list! But the people that are inspiring me now are Georgia Anne Muldrow (always), Kaidi Tatham, Steve Spacek, Fatima, Sault, all the crew in 30/70 collective, Julien Dyne and Wu-lu and I love Ego Ella May’s music! 

Where did you grow up, how did you get into creating music?

I grew up in Narrm, Wurundjeri Country in so called “Australia”. I started signing at a really young age and then got into writing poetry. I didn’t really start writing music until I was about 18 or 19 when I started teaching myself piano and now just over the past 5 years or so I’ve been doing a lot of production work and really trying to direct the whole sonic experience. Really listening to jazz is what brought me into creating music! 

If you weren’t creating music, what else would be doing?

I’m actually deeply interested in Psychotherapy! Healing through art but also through conversation, expression, symbology and the subconscious. I think this will become a larger part of my work to come. But essentially if I wasn’t creating music I’d be creating poetry, creating change in other ways, creating conversation. But really, I hope to do all those things while I create music anyway. 

So I first listened to your music as part of the ‘30/70 Collective’, and so I wanted to ask how the group got together, and the story behind your name?

30/70 was an instrumental band before I joined them and they had released one record before we made Cold Radish Coma. I’m super grateful as it was all just chance encounters through the jazz scene and we really came to build such strong relationships together in our love for hip hop and soul and jazz!

The name is significant for a few reasons but my favourite is the swing ratio theory, you’ll have to ask Horatio Luna about that one though! 

I really liked your first EP with Rhythm Section – Elevate, how did you meet Bradley Zero, and whatis your rleationship like with him relationship like with him?

BZ is a legend and all the crew at Rhythm Section! We met him when he came out to Melbourne one time! RS had recently put out Silent Jay and Jace XL not long before our record and as we were all hanging out at the time BZ heard about 30/70 and wanted to put out the next record!

What was your favourite track that you created for the EP ‘Elevate?’

I love Misrepresented cause it really summed up a feeling for me and has continued to grow and take on new meaning in my life emotionally, politically and socially. I also LOVE the Get to Me remix by Setwun from this record. 

Listen to ‘Watercolours’ Below.

Do you plan to release anything this year as the  ‘30/70 Collective’?

Yeah!! We’ve got a single coming out really soon actually on Rhythm Section, with some incredible remixes on that too! Then hopefully we can look to releasing the next album soon! 

What was your mindset going into your recent EP, ‘Light Again’, how did you want it to differ from your music as the ‘30/70 Collective’?

I think to a large degree as artists we don’t really have a choice in the music that we make, when we collaborate open heartedly it just is what it is! These songs are all my own writing and arranging as opposed to a completely collaborative process in 30/70.

But really these four songs on Light it Again are the deepest, realest shit I’ve ever written and they are completely unique and representative of past inquiry .. as is most of what we do, it’s always going to change and evolve as we as artists continue to change. Beyond that, I don’t think this group of musicians and producers will ever collaborate as a whole team ever again and that makes this record special beyond belief.

It’s the culmination of some of Melbourne’s finest artists in a really important moment of this city’s soul scene and I’m incredibly grateful for that opportunity and experience! 

What made you decide to release with First Word Records?

I’ve been a big fan of First Word for a while now! I’m super inspired by Kaidi Tatham and Yazmin Lacey and Children of Zeus so it’s an honour to join the label and everyone on the team is super lovely! I feel like my music has found a little home between the jazz and the soul records! 

Do you play any instruments?

Yes! I play piano and percussion on all my solo music! And I produce! I’ve also been getting lessons in drumming and percussion for the past little while with the legend, Ray Pereira! 

Describe your EP, ‘Light Again’ in three words.

Art as healing 

Q&A: Have You Met.. MXXWLL

Photographed by Tamara Roxanne

Australian native but LA based music producer, MWXXLL, fresh from the release of his debut album titled – SHEEESH which featuring the likes of SiR, Aloe Blacc, and Guapdad 4000. MWXXLL took some time to join our Q&A series:

Having being born and raised in Sydney, Australia, what made you want to relocate to LA?

Being a producer sometimes creating within the G Funk world, it was really important to me to connect not only sonically but also physically and emotionally. Travelling to LA felt like the next logical step, a place where this music thrived, although G funk is not isolated only to LA, it feels intrinsically connected with the culture there and I wanted to experience and learn and connect with people who also share that love of the sound, which is not too common to find in Sydney. Just as a bucket list tick too, like when I was younger, I’d daydream about being in LA one day driving down palm lined streets in a fly ass car.  I guess it’s always been part of my vision of where I saw myself, even if I didn’t know exactly why at the time.

How has your mindset changed for previous singles, in comparison to bringing out your debut album?

When I’ve made singles, it’s mostly for other people’s projects so although you’re creating within your style and adding your creative elements to the project, ultimately its someone else’s vision you’re creating within. I also think you have a lot of freedom when it’s a standalone track. With this album Sheeesh, It definitely changed my mindset and my approach to creating music. It was about telling a story, finding that through-line something to be listened to as whole and not just picked around the individual tracks. I wanted to find a balance between a beat tape and an album, as a producer with features I knew I wanted to tread carefully so as not to become a “compilation” album, and I still wanted the unpredictability of a beat tape, short tracks that step you through a journey.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt from your time being in the industry?

One big one is that you yourself have the power to make shit happen, nobody else really, sure someone with a big social media following can post about you, but that won’t happen UNLESS you make the music for that person to wanna talk about and share. Make the best shit you can make and let the universe do the rest.

Photographed by Tamara Roxanne

What is special about Los Angeles, what is the creative culture like?

I love that there’s such a short and sweet approach to organizing sessions, You can be working on some beats one day and a rapper you’ve always wanted to work with can hit u up and say “hey lets cook today”, and then you’re on! The impulsive nature of that side of things definitely keeps you on your feet too having fresh material ready to go and constantly creating and being prepared for when sessions pop up out of the blue.

What do you miss most about living in Sydney?

When I’m in LA I miss the fam and day ones back in Sydney for sure.. But I also really miss the food we got back home, Sydney got some good ishh!

You have had some amazing features on your forthcoming album, when do you feel like you’ve ‘made it’, or do you feel like you have?

I don’t think I’ll ever feel like I’ve “made it”.. It’s just a cool journey to be on and to meet and create with dope likeminded people… Although I will say working with or even just getting props from artists I’ve looked up to for years is as close as I’ve come to having that feeling.

You have worked with countless names in the business ranging from big names to up and comers; are there any producers/artists coming up in LA or Sydney that we should be paying attention to?

LA, Leven Kali and John Givez are crazy with both the vocals as well as production.. Sydney, Bustter, 18yoman and Uno Stereo are all dope.

How has covid-19 affected you, has been mostly positive or negative transition?

This time has been really strange for everyone, I don’t think there’s any person on Earth not feeling the shift in peoples energies, everyone seems to be doing their bit and pulling together and that’s true in music too. I think we’ve all felt the need to step up and keep putting it out, music has always healed and I think there’s almost more music and content coming out because we all feel a need for it.

Prior to Covid, I was working from my home studio so not much had changed in a practical sense and lockdown hasn’t much changed my workflow. A positive thing is that its forced us to adjust to make sessions work over the net which opens up more opportunities for sessions from country to country and will be something positive we can take with us post- covid.

What is one of your go-to pieces of equipment you use to produce your work?

It’s an obvious one but I wanna say my laptop… you can get just about any sound, any instrument, any synth from just using plugins. As a follow up answer, I’d say the moog sub37 is dope and I love making sounds on it but even a lot of those sounds can be made pretty accurately on plugins.

What would you do if you were not making music or in the music industry of some sort, do you have other aspirations?

I’m interested in a bunch of other stuff, I’d love to learn more about graphic design, animation, game development etc. I don’t really have any aspirations to say I “want” to be successful in those fields at this point though.

Finally, describe your debut album in three words?

Sydney. LA. Vibes

You can listen to MXXWL new album, ‘Sheesh!’, let us kno what you think and support: