Earlier during the pandemic, shoegaze savant Jasamine White-Gluz, the brainchild behind No Joy, released Motherhood, the first No Joy album in five years and their most eclectic and surprising yet. The album; which was released via Joyful Noise and received praise from the likes of Pitchfork, The FADER, and Jezebel; boasts a bevvy of White-Gluz’s less obvious influences, including trip hop, electronica, and even nu metal… All of this, as it’s woven into the abrasive dream pop for which they are best known, could have likely landed No Joy a spot on Ozzfest ‘98’s second stage, probably between the Melvins and Incubus.
… That was last August… Well, last month No Joy released an even more beautifully bizarre follow-up, Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven. Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven is a 5-song EP, including orchestral reimaginings of four Motherhood tracks, plus a cover of “Teenager” by Deftones. These whimsically woozy recordings were conceived as a substitute for the likely transformations the songs would have received had they had the opportunity to be taken on the road… something Jasamine White-Gluz may be lamenting even more than most. She recently took some time to pen a piece about the influences behind the new EP (which includes some of her favorite live recordings of the moment) for Brooklyn Vegan and even more recently she chatted with me about live music, what she’s been doing during the pandemic, and even our very own City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.
Izzy Cihak: You’ve recently talked a lot about how much you miss touring and just being at live shows, and your recent playlist for Brooklyn Vegan includes a lot of live music. I realize this is an enormous question but, what are the things that make for an ideal show for you, whether you’re playing or just attending? Are there certain kinds of spaces that you enjoy most or least, or particular reactions that you love or hate, or even just types of bands you do and don’t like sharing stages with? Feel totally free to go off on a rant here…
Jasamine White-Gluz: I dont know if there’s one particular kind of show I prefer over others. Every instance has its own combination of factors that make it special. I guess one kind of show I miss is the kind with zero expectations. Could be that we’re playing a city we’ve never played, or I’m seeing a band I’ve never heard of before. And going in with zero expectations and then having the best time and discovering a new favorite band. Those things you can’t really plan for and are magic when they happen. And then of course I love an early show when you can be in bed by 10pm.
Izzy: On a related note, since most of us are still spending a lot of time indoors, are there any concert performance videos (whether official or bootleg) that you especially love, or would recommend? I’ve spent much of the pandemic watching ‘90s concerts from like Ministry and White Zombie on YouTube.
Jasamine: I definitely watch alootttt of live videos! Watching recorded performances during lockdown really inspired the way I arranged Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven. In particular I was watching a lot of trip hop acts’ live shows or live TV performances. I found it really interesting how they would incorporate orchestral instruments like violins and strings alongside the electronic components of their albums. There were a lot of performances on Jools Holland in the mid ‘90s that did this kind of thing. I also got really into watching MTV Fashionably Loud episodes too. I also love some chaotic live footage, like At The Drive-In at Big Day Out in 2001. The kind of performances where the video sound sucks and the camera is so jumpy you kind of feel nauseous… I love it.
Izzy: Since this is a Philadelphia-based publication, I have to ask your thoughts on the city. You’ve played here a number of times over the years. Any particular favorite experiences, whether at a gig or just wandering the city?
Jasamine: I love Philly, it really reminds me of Montreal in some ways. I’ve definitely seen it change alot since I started touring. I have very fond memories of just wandering the city on some really hot days and hanging out with friends. Last time we played there on 4/20, which was fun.
Izzy: I guess Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven is sort of about unexpected or surprising sounds of yours, so I’m curious if you’re a fan of anything that you think your fans would consider to be unexpected or surprising? I’ve gotta admit that I was surprised to recently find out that you’re a fan of KoRn (Is that right?) and summertime. I also just saw that you’re a fan of The Like, who were totally amazing.
Jasamine: One thing that always surprises me is that people seem to often think I only listen to music that sounds like No Joy. I really don’t sit around spinning the My Bloody Valentine discography on rotation. I listen to everything, including KoRn. To me a good song or good production matters more than what “genre” the tune belongs to. I have a very instant connection to songs – I will know the minute I hear them if I love them or not. It’s a very strong feeling, kind of like love at first sight. When someone says “I listen to everything but rap and country” or something like that it always amazes me. Like, are you just listening to music to hear things you’ve already heard? Familiarity, sure. But that gets boring, to me at least.
Izzy: I understand (via you on Twitter, haha) that you did voice overs for a popular video game in 2006. What’s that all about? How did that come up? Is it something you’re okay with, or is it one of those things you’d rather not have any of us hear (or at least know it’s you)?
Jasamine: Back in the day I worked in casting for TV and Film. We were handling casting the voices for a few video games, Montreal is a real hub for that stuff. I don’t think I auditioned for anything but somehow ended up playing a lead character. I admittedly don’t know anything about games, I stopped playing after Mario 3. When I look back at it now, I get that my bosses probably just casted me so they could save money paying me less than a unionized actor or professional voice actor. But either way there it lingers on the internet forever and is mildly embarrassing.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you? What are you most excited about in 2021? I’m guessing/hoping there’s going to be some touring in the near future.
Jasamine: Yes! It’s so weird confirming shows and planning routing, it seems fake. There’s still some time before I go out on tour and I hope the world improves between now and then. It’s a bit scary thinking about being at a show, I still get anxious in the grocery store wearing two masks, but I’m looking forward to it. I am also looking forward to writing more new music!! Motherhood was recorded in 2018, so I’m ready to get these new songs out of my brain already. The world is an entirely different place now.