Fronted by Jasamine White-Gluz, No Joy is a shoegaze band from Montreal. Their new EP Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven is out now on Joyful Noise.
Jasamine White-Gluz is the frontwoman of the Montreal shoegaze band No Joy; Ouri is a DJ, producer, and multi-instrumentalist, also based in Montreal. To celebrate the release of No Joy’s Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven EP — which is out today on Joyful Noise, and which Ouri contributed cello to — the friends and collaborators hopped on Zoom to catch up.
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music
Jasamine White-Gluz: My UV lamp is going crazy here. I look like I’m in a tanning booth.
Ouri: You look good!
Jasamine: How’s it goin’?
Ouri: Good, yeah. And you?
Jasamine: Good, same. I got my vax today, my first vax.
Ouri: Really? How do you feel?
Jasamine: Fine, I think. It hurt though. [Laughs.] I was like, “Ow!” And the guy was like, “This is the syringe we give to babies.” I was like, “So what, it still hurt!” But it’s fine.
Ouri: Yeah, I’m a bit stressed. No, I feel super excited. There’s shows again!
Jasamine: Yeah, I saw! You sold out and you’re doing another one?
Ouri: Yes! So it’s pretty exciting.
Jasamine: That’s fun! Did you ever think, so soon, that shows would come back?
Ouri: No, not really, actually. And it still feels like it’s not a real show somehow, but it is.
Jasamine: I know. What was the last show you played before COVID?
Ouri: I think it was a show in Frankfurt, a festival. It was extremely fun, actually. It was this crazy festival in a museum, it was extremely nice. What was your last show?
Jasamine: The last show we played before COVID was in Mexico City. We played two shows and the last show we played was in a DIY space that was not up to code — super packed, the most un-COVID-safe. Everybody was just, like, glued up to each other. But it was still fun, I’ve hung on to the memories of that event since not being able to go to anything. I’ve been just like, Oh, that was really fun, and someday it will all come back.
Ouri: Yeah. That’s kind of an iconic last show. Everyone glued together.
Jasamine: [Laughs.] Yeah. It was just two shows in Mexico City that we just kind of did… I hate the winters in Montreal — I don’t know if you hate them, but I hate them and I always leave to go somewhere warmer if I can. So usually I book a tour or something. So we did two shows in Mexico just to get out of town for a bit. They turned out to be so fun. And now that memory is just hanging on…
And your record comes out too! The Hildegard [Ouri’s project with Helena Deland] record comes out.
Ouri: Yeah, the Hildegard record is coming out on June 4, so it’s very soon. I just came to — this is the office of my manager, and I just saw our vinyl for the first time. I love it.
Jasamine: That’s so exciting. It’s like a baby.
Ouri: Yeah, exactly. It’s so weird because it’s a vinyl… There are so many vinyls, but when you see your vinyl, it’s beautiful, it’s… I don’t know.
Jasamine: [Seeing] your music in a physical form is like, What? It’s really exciting.
Ouri: You never get that in music. You never get the, I did this!
Jasamine: Yeah. It’s funny how music just sort of exists everywhere, but not [as] a physical thing. So when you finally get the test pressing or the record, you’re like, All that stuff that was swirling around in my headphones is now on this. It’s really super exciting. Even seeing like a CD — when I get a CD, I’m like, Woah!
Ouri: Yeah! It’s crazy.
Jasamine: When did you guys track that?
Ouri: We recorded that in September 2018. It was a long time ago, but it took some time because we’re the first artists on this new label called section1. And so the with time that they set up, and that we figured out what we wanted to do visually and everything, it took some time. And finally the pandemic arrived, and we were happy that we didn’t really release anything last year. [Laughs.] I mean, music has to be released anyway all the time. It doesn’t matter if there’s a pandemic or not.
Jasamine: Yeah, totally. I recorded Motherhood, the LP I did, in September 2018 also. Some of it was done before, but a lot of it was done at Studio Toute Garnie on Van Horne.
Ouri: OK, OK. I’ve never been there.
Jasamine: Yeah. But again, isn’t it crazy? We tracked these records a long time ago, but it doesn’t feel… Because I’ve been like dealing with it since then, and then when it comes down to releasing something during a pandemic or not… I don’t know. I was just like, What am I going to do? Sit on it for another three years?
Ouri: Yeah. You just have to put it out. I’m curious, what’s your favorite thing about the studio? What did you like about this studio on Van Horne? Why did you choose this one?
Jasamine: This one was being run by Braids. Do you know Braids?
Jasamine: And, at the time, also Chris Walla from Death Cab for Cutie. I was bringing in all the players who played on the record — they were all coming from everywhere else, some are from New York, some are from Toronto. So I just kind of needed one place. And honestly the studio was beautiful and they had beautiful equipment. But we didn’t use all the beautiful equipment. There was a ton of trash on Van Horne, like pieces of metal and stuff, and we would just bring it inside and use that as percussion.
Ouri: I love that!
Jasamine: We were really experimenting. But it’s a beautiful studio and they have beautiful equipment — pianos and gorgeous stuff — and I was like, “Oh, no, we’re going to take the coffee grinder and grind it out, maxed out through an amp.” So I don’t know if we really needed the studio, but it was great to all be in one place and record there like that.
Ouri: That’s nice, that’s awesome.
Jasamine: The one thing I really wish about this EP that you performed on with me is that I wish we could have done it in person!
Ouri: Me too, me too. That’s for sure.
Jasamine: I just know we would’ve had so much fun. And the original plan was to at least do some of it in person, but then, January or February, whenever we started doing it, the numbers were just getting so bad again and everything. Have you been doing a lot of remote recording?
Ouri: I’ve done a couple, and it’s been super fun. I definitely miss the… I don’t know, when you’re together in a studio with people, it’s just a different vibe. But it’s also interesting to connect virtually and just to be guided by something else, I guess. You’ve been doing that for the whole EP, so was it complicated?
Jasamine: I’ve done remote recording before — I did an EP with an artist called Sonic Boom, and that was remote also, but it was really all electronic, so it was a little bit easier. But now it was like, we had an opera singer and a harp player and lap steel. Luckily all the players knew how to remote-record themselves. I wouldn’t know what to do or say, but you guys were all so pro that everybody knew how to track their own instrument well, and capture an energy too. Because you know, there’s an energy when you’re recording together that’s hard to capture. But I felt like it was still there even though all of us were in completely different places. But for me, for vocals, it was pretty easy.
It was just interesting to hear — like your part that you did, and Tara [Mcleod]’s guitar parts, where you guys were both doing them at the same time, but hadn’t heard each other’s. When I arranged them together, they were so perfect and created these beautiful sounds. I was like, How did they do that? They don’t know the other was playing, but it just turned into this beautiful soundscape! And that made me even sadder, because if we were in the studio together, this would have happened a million times in a row.
Ouri: Yeah, I feel you. That’s so exciting though!
Jasamine: I wanted to also ask you about the Hildegard visuals. They’re amazing!
Ouri: Thank you so much.
Jasamine: Not in a creepy way, but I watched the Melissa Matos video so many times. It’s breathtaking.
Ouri: I admire her so much. We worked a little bit together in the past for more commercial, obscure projects, and I really wanted to bring an opportunity to the table that she would be excited about, because she’s just insane. And so we had this album with Helena, and I remember going to London — I got her the demos, I think in 2019. So she heard kind of the evolution, and at some point we got funds to make this project for real. And I was like, “Maybe we should ask Melissa, because she’s the queen, and it would be perfect.” And so she created this. She wrote our story, she created a team to create each asset and just build this world. It’s fucking crazy.
Jasamine: It’s so good.
Ouri: And there’s so many things that we were not expecting, but it’s… I don’t know. Since it’s not just one person in the project, it’s two people championed by Melissa’s visions, it becomes something else. I’m super happy — it’s the super minimal, but also very feminine, but not cheesy.
Jasamine: That’s how I felt too. It was perfect. There was the right amount of styling between you and Helena, the right amount of…. It looked like it was from the future, but also from the past. It was just so beautiful, and the song is just so hypnotic.
Ouri: Thank you so much.
Jasamine: I’m excited to see that live.
Ouri: Me too! And live, it’s going to be only acoustic. There’s no mics, there’s no electronic instruments or anything.
Jasamine: Oh, woah.
Ouri: We’re going to play guitar, piano, harp, cello, and voice. That’s going to be be it.
Jasamine: Are you comfortable playing kind of stripped down?
Ouri: This is how I started, I started as a classical musician. So at first it was only this, and then it was nice to hide behind the machines. But I’ve been craving this direct feeling.
Jasamine: Yeah. Hopefully someday I get there, because I’m still like, Hide behind machines. It’s very vulnerable to be just you and a piano and a guitar or something. Your voice it’s very… They’re very exposed.
Ouri: But also people scale their expectations, or there’s something that happens inside the viewer. So I guess in the end, it’s just the same shit. It doesn’t change anything.
Jasamine: That’s true!
Ouri: When people see big machines, big production, they expect things or whatever.
Jasamine: Yeah, yeah. That is true. The expectation is a bit different when it’s just a simple setup. But it’s not simple by any means.
Do you think you’ll be doing any DJing this summer?
Ouri: I have one DJ gig. I haven’t been mixing for a long time. So in my head it’s like… Yeah, I have this DJ gig this summer! I’m super excited. I haven’t been in a club in so long.
Jasamine: Yeah. Is this the longest it’s been for you not to be in a [club]?
Jasamine: This is the longest it’s been that I haven’t gone to a show since I was 14. I’ve never not been in a venue seeing something for two years. It’s never happened.
Ouri: That’s crazy.
Jasamine: Yeah. Do you have a favorite DJ moment?
Ouri: The LIP parties by Frankie Teardrop — it was my first DJ sets, but it was just amazing to be with all the underground people in weird places. It was just amazing. When it’s your first steps and the people are really appreciating you, it’s amazing. And also like the Dutch nights, I think on Wednesdays or Thursdays, sometimes would just be super wild.
Jasamine: One thing I was thinking about a lot during the pandemic was just, most of my friends are people I’ve met in situations like that — either at a show or a club or a night. And then when you take those things out of it, how do you make friends? How do you meet people? And I started feeling bad for… Not bad, but… How do musical communities develop if you don’t have physical spaces, and can they develop just digitally? Which I guess they can.
Ouri: Yeah, they can. It’s just a completely different operation system, I guess. But it can be done, I imagine. Have you had new connections since COVID started?
Jasamine: Yeah, I think so. Definitely, for sure. People that I met even doing this EP. I think a lot of it too is last year in the pandemic, everybody was just locked inside. So if someone was like, “Hey, I’m going on Twitch and I’m going to DJ,” I’d be like, “OK, I’ll just go watch you. I have nothing else to do.” So it was kind of fun to meet people that way. But it will be interesting when it’s, “OK, now let’s go back to the in-real-life stuff,” and see if we’re all like, Uh, how do I act? Because of curfew here, I’ve just been going to bed so early that I don’t think I can come back from it. I think I’m like, No, I go to bed at 8:30 PM.
Ouri: It’s crazy.
Jasamine: I don’t know how I’ll be able to stay up.
Ouri: But you know what? I feel like if we choose wisely what is going to be the first party that you’re attending, your adrenaline level will keep you. A new hormone will keep you super awake for you to enjoy this special moment.
Jasamine: It’s true. It’s true. Hopefully soon. I’m very jealous of a lot of pals in America who seem to already be doing shows and events and stuff. Did you play any livestreams where you were in a venue?
Ouri: No. Did you?
Jasamine: I did a couple, yeah. One for POP Montreal, and I did one at the SAT. It was just like, you’re in the venue, but it’s empty, no one’s there. It was such a strange… I did one at Le Ritz also, where we filmed it. And you have all these feelings of being back at a show or like, Oh, we’re gonna hang out, where’s the bar? But it’s just empty. [Laughs.]
Ouri: It’s just completely empty.
Jasamine: Yeah. So it was weird. It made me kind of remember what shows were like so I can remember how to play my own songs, but still, also a little bittersweet. Like, Oh, I’m going to load all my amps in. But some of the shows I played solo, because my band mates were in Ontario and couldn’t come in. It was definitely a year of experimenting to see what works. Looking forward to being back, able to play shows with people in the room. Although now it’s a good excuse if I don’t draw — “Oh, I don’t draw anybody. Yeah, it’s for COVID.” I’m going to tell my booking agents to say that. “Yeah, we only draw two people, but it’s because of COVID rules.”
Ouri: [Laughs.] That’s perfect.
Jasamine: Another thing I wanted to ask you too is: Just in general with your visuals, I feel like everything you do is so beautiful and styled.
Ouri: Thank you so much.
Jasamine: Yeah! I’m just wondering if you have a personal connection to fashion in some way, or you’re just like… Does it influence you?
Ouri: I have a personal connection to Miche Arismandez, who’s been styling me since September.
Jasamine: She’s amazing.
Ouri: Yeah. In the past I would just do things on my own. But at some point I wanted to have more people around me. I wanted to also be a place where people could express themselves with me, or on me, in the sense that Miche puts the clothes on me. I wanted to work with her, and then we started working together. We worked with her actually for Hildegard too.
Jasamine: Yeah, she’s amazing. She did my press photos for this EP. She’s so good. She styled me in an Eckhaus Latta dress when we did a video for “Dream Rats.” I was holding a duck for the video and the duck—
Ouri: I remember those visuals! They were fucking insane!
Jasamine: Thank you. Yeah, the duck had really sensitive feet, and we were in a huge empty field and the duck was walking around and had accidentally cut her foot. So we’re filming and I’m wearing this expensive Eckhaus Latta dress, and the duck’s foot just starts bleeding all over the dress.
Ouri: Oh, no!
Jasamine: It was like the most demonic, satanic thing where it was like, “Oh no!” The duck was fine and apparently that happens all the time to duck feet, I guess. She’s totally fine. But I was like, “Uh, Miche…”
I find like sometimes the visuals just make me hear stuff in music that I wouldn’t have heard before. Just adding these super thoughtful wardrobe pieces to a video, or to a press shot, just makes me kind of rehear or rethink the project.
Ouri: Yeah, definitely. And sometimes it scares me a little bit, because it adds a dimension, but it could also change the intention drastically. So it’s a bit scary, but it’s also worth it to try. I mean, there’s so many amazing things in fashion now. You don’t have to be just this clean sculptural thing. You can be whatever you want.
Jasamine: Yeah, totally. Do you have a favorite way to write music? A favorite method or anything?
Ouri: Yes. I was going to ask you that too, actually. I think it’s isolation. I love to isolate myself, either alone or with people, and to just dive in, to be super methodical about it. For my album that I’m finishing now — last year I left and I went to London and then Berlin and I was alone. I didn’t know a lot of people, and I was alone all the time. I was creating music all the time. This is the only activity I had. I could go to vinyl shops, but this was my only activity allowed. Or running, but that was it. I love to have these deep phases of creation. It really helps. What do you like?
Jasamine: I’ve done that before too. I do find that isolation helps a lot. I did that once on a record we did in Costa Rica, where we just went to a house on a mountain, back in 2014. I used to really like on tour playing music and then the songs would evolve a little bit — I would try something live one night and be like, Ooh, gotta remember that. But now that there hasn’t been touring, I’ve kind of had to rethink a little bit.
This is an analogy I’ve used before, but it’s kind of gross — sometimes I feel like songwriting is like when you have food poisoning and you just have to barf. You’re just like, I have to get this out. I don’t know what it is. I just have to get it out. So I find that it comes in waves, like nausea. I’ll just be like, Oh, boy, I gotta go. And then I’ll just be inside working for a long time. And then other times, it’s like I’ve had a Tums. I’m totally fine, there’s nothing coming out.
I think I’ve been more in the head space of putting music out lately, and I’m looking forward to just taking a step back again and writing some more and exploring a bit more. And then hopefully… I do also like doing collaborations. I love working with people and learning how other people write and record.
Something I really admire about your work is you can play any genre of music. I feel like when I try and do something where it’s like, Oh, I’m going to try a different style of music, it still just sounds the same. I feel like you like to do electronic stuff, you can do just a harp rendition of the same song and it’s stunning. And then on our EP you do the cello, and you’re… I don’t know, you’re just so versatile. But do you have an instrument you like to write on?
Ouri: I don’t know. Cello is definitely my favorite instrument for some reason, but I don’t think I write a lot with the cello. I have strong feelings, and sometimes the output can be very different musically, but I always have the same feelings, so I’m stuck with something. We’re all stuck with something. There’s just a repetition or… I don’t know if it’s a…
Jasamine: You can say it in French if you want.
Ouri: But I don’t even know how to say it in French. When you’re doomed, when you have this sort of a spell.
Jasamine: It’s like an endless cycle.
Ouri: Yeah. I feel like for every musician, each one has a different type of spell.
Jasamine: Yeah. That’s a way better analogy than my barfing.
Ouri: No, but the barfing analogy is perfect for creation and inspiration. I think it totally works.
Jasamine: It’s weird, right? You just sort of feel like you need to do this thing. You can’t really explain what the thing is, but…
I guess maybe one of our last questions can be about Montreal. What are your favorite things about Montreal?
Ouri: My favorite thing about Montreal is that it’s a bit stuck in the past, you know? There’s so many issues with the construction and it’s so slow. You cannot force a fast evolution. But the art is intangible, so it can grow super fast.
Jasamine: I never thought about the fact that, because construction never ends, the city’s kind of in slow motion. I never thought about that, but it’s so true.
Ouri: It’s really slow motion. So you have space to evolve and discover yourself. And also the winter — I know you said that you hate the winter, personally, it’s my favorite season in Montreal, because you have no obligations. You can be super asocial, you can do whatever you want. [Laughs.]
Jasamine: That’s true. Yeah, I felt like the winters in Montreal prepared me for lockdown. I wasn’t going anywhere in January anyway. If I can’t fly to somewhere warmer then I wasn’t going to leave my house, really.
Jasamine: So, yeah. But it’s true. Montreal is kind of stuck in a little time warp where things happen, but then they also just don’t happen. I think after COVID and when we can start traveling again, I’ll go back to some cities that I would have been in a lot, like in New York or California or something, and I’ll be like, Oh, my god, there’s so many new buildings and all this new stuff! But Montreal is kind of just always… You can leave for, like, 10 years and come back and it’s pretty much going to be the same. Some stuff’s changing. But we’re using that stagnation to do other stuff.
Ouri: Exactly. You know, when there’s stagnation in one dimension, there’s extreme activity in other, so it balances out. What do you like about Montreal?
Jasamine: I love… So my favorite time is the summer. [Laughs.] So I’m that idiot that at April 15, when it’s not warm but it’s just not snowing, I’m in a bathing suit like, “Let’s go, everybody!”
Ouri: [Laughs.] I love that.
Jasamine: I already wore shorts this year and, then it snowed. I can’t go back. I just love the summer in Montreal where you’re just roaming the streets all day and all night. And the sky — everyone takes pictures of the sky.
Ouri: It’s insane.
Jasamine: Yeah. And I do agree with you too, that Montreal is reliable in that it’s not going to change too much. So for being on tour often, that was something that was really helpful, because some years I’d be gone for on tour for eight months and then I’d come back and be like, “What did I miss?” And it’s nothing. You didn’t miss anything. Everything’s the same. Everything’s still there. So I’m hoping after we can emerge from COVID stuff that everything is similar and the same. I wouldn’t mind if they fixed some construction.
Ouri: Yeah, me neither.
Jasamine: That would be okay. But they won’t.
Ouri: No, we know it’s not gonna happen.