Allysha Joy’s contribution to music as a connoisseur of keyboards and emotive vocal chords may be new to Manchester, but she has more than made her mark on her hometown of Melbourne. While spending her time augmenting the Aussie city’s jazz scene as frontwoman with hip hop collective 30/70 and sharing stages with, among others, fellow Melbournian Hiatus Kaiyote’s Simon Marvin, Joy has also been spreading her own name far beyond the coasts of her native Australia.

With a range from stirring harmonies to incisive rapid-fire raps, Joy’s showcase of verbal dexterity on a 2017 European tour filled the ears of Gondwana Records boss, Matthew Halsall, and the Manchester-based imprint has since scheduled her debut solo album for this September.

Allysha took the time to answer our questions before back-to-back Manchester gigs this month.

What makes you pick up your mic?

The vibe has to be right. The sound, the energy, the people and then beyond that I need to have something to say or a desire to reach beyond my body. Have to feel safe. Very important and good question.

How do you see your solo music by comparison with 30/70 Collective and other group projects?

Well, I write a lot for both projects, but 30/70 is far more collaborative and there are more members, so it can be a fuller sound. My project is a bit more intimate in the sense that I don’t have to necessarily worry about speaking on behalf of the band. I think the tunes are more of my own experience, sonically and lyrically. Plus, 30/70 is a bit more of a party these days and I get to be upfront and connect a bit more with the audience on that level of movement.

Is this your first musical trip to Manchester? Where else in the world has your music taken you?

Yeah, this will be my first time in Manchester! Last year, I did a solo tour around Europe and played a couple of the hotspots – like London, Berlin, Paris – but also got to play in Monaco, which was a dream, and Conversano, this small town in Italy. They were my two favourite spots.

Which other bands should we be looking out for from Melbourne?

Oh, man. There’s so much good music happening in Melbourne at the moment. It’s wild! Definitely check out WARBABY, Cool out Sun, Cactus Channel, Mildlife, new ZFEX record, Horatio Luna, Silent Jay and Jace XL, Wallace, Sampa the Great. There’s heaps!

How did your linkup with Gondwana Records come about? Has the label facilitated your sound at all?

Matthew from Gondwana hit me up about releasing some music after I got back from my last tour. I had already finished my upcoming record before he got in contact, but it’s definitely informing what I’m making now. I have huge respect for Matthew’s music and the crew on that label – just can’t wait to meet everyone.

Your first LP via Gondwana arrives in September. What can we expect from that?

The name of the record is Acadie : Raw and I guess that kind of sums it up for me. Acadie is a word I made up and it now sort of stands to signify this moment in time that I’ve been working on this record. But it’s also representative of the fact that the whole record is just an expression of my imagination without trying to lock in to one sonic world or one genre.

It’s very free and 100% homemade. We engineered and produced and mixed the whole thing ourselves. I’m a self-taught pianist and my aim with this project was always to just prove to myself and other gal musos that we can do this shit ourselves. Raw of course means raw and that’s what I want from my own music and others’. It’s honest and stripped back and really true to a point of time in my life.

Allysha Joy performs solo in support of Portico Quartet on Friday 15 June at Gorilla, before headlining Soup Kitchen with 30/70 on Saturday 16 June.

Her new album, Acadie : Raw, is out in September via Gondwana Records.

allyshajoy.com

Ian Pennington