There's something panoramic about The Joy Formidable's music - their mountainous, fuzzed out riffs and ferocious, earthy rhythms shrouded in ethereal haze. It sounds like where they're from: Childhood friends Ritzy Bryan (vocals, guitar) and Rhydian Dafydd (bass, vocals) grew up in rural North Wales, surrounded by rolling green hills and little else. "There's a beauty and a loneliness to the landscape there," says Dafydd. "We had no neighbors growing up," Bryan notes. "I think my parents looked for a house with no neighbors so they could play their music as loud as possible."
For her part, Bryan loved the isolation. Growing up as an only child, the singer immersed herself in her parents' enormous record collection and the classical guitar studies she took on at the age of seven. "I loved playing guitar by myself, back then I was quite introverted with my music," she says.
Bryan and Dafydd had been writing music separately from one another, and worked together in a couple of short-lived local bands after finishing school. They knew they wanted to collaborate, but didn't manage to make it work until a few years ago. "We kept missing each other," Ritzy says. Bryan went off to Washington, D.C "on a whim" and returned to Wales in 2008 with renewed focus. "My family situation wasn't easy to go back to" says Bryan. "I came back out of necessity and found a lot of sanctuary recording with Rhydian and having this new band to concentrate on."