Saturday 13th July
The last twelve months have been a whirlwind for Henry Counsell and Louis Curran, the men who make up JOY (Anonymous). Having established themselves during the Covid-19 era by playing impromptu meet-ups on London’s South Bank, they have graduated to bigger venues, travelled to far-flung locales and recorded their second album, Cult Classics, while maintaining the spontaneous energy and irrepressible joy that made their name. Their music revels in the euphoria of being alive and all the feelings, good or bad, that come with it. It invites us into a community, draws us close and promises the night of our lives.
JOY (Anonymous) remain dedicated to the spirit of spontaneity. They shut a street down with a surprise waterside party in New York. On a trip to Copenhagen they played an impromptu set in a cafe, which turned into a house party and a night-long good time. In Lithuania, they ended up playing in a decommissioned prison. It’s harder, perhaps, to keep that spirit alive now that they are operating more within the confines of the music industry but they will keep lugging their kit to wherever the party calls for as long as they can. “I think if we lose that, we’ve kind of lost what makes us us,” Henry says.
The name ‘JOY (Anonymous)’ is taken from the work Henry did with Alcoholics Anonymous groups: it is a way to build a community around sharing joy. Their impromptu live sets are known as ‘meetings’; they encourage fans to share moments of joy to their website. They care deeply about the scene they’ve come up in and are determined not to leave it behind. Every show is another chance to reach out and connect with people who love to come together and revel in music as loud as it can go.
Support slots for Fred Again and The Streets, wild B2Bs with Fred and Skrillex, and a set at Four Tet’s Finsbury Park all-dayer last summer have given the duo the opportunity to live out childhood dreams and introduced their infectious live shows to new audiences at huge venues.
With an album as assured and joyful as Cult Classics (and a killer recent collab with The Blessed Madonna), they’re only going to reach higher heights. But the essence of JOY (Anonymous) remains on the South Bank. Between shows at Ally Pally last September, they dragged their camping chairs and gear back down to the banks of the Thames: and it just felt right.