Up-and-coming duo Joyzu, comprised of two best friends with the same passion for music, are changing the sound of dance music one release at a time. Quinton Pope & Carson Willms have been taking the industry by storm — sharing stages with some of dance music’s heaviest hitters and becoming one of the newest members of the Armada Music family.
Over New Year’s weekend, we had the pleasure of sitting down with the talented duo at SnowGlobe Music Festival to chat about things like their latest single “Famous” featuring Lilianna Wilde, their inspirations, what’s to come in the new year and much more. We even got to speak with Lilianna herself and get her take on the new single.
Read the full interview below!
What an exciting couple of years it’s been for you two! You started out in the audience at SnowGlobe not long ago, then you were able to perform at the Sierra Stage last year, and now you are performing at Main Stage! How does it feel to have progressed so quickly?
Carson: Yeah, we are super lucky. We’ve been going to SnowGlobe for five years and three years ago we were with all of our friends and we were doing our usual thing [DJing] and they asked, ‘what is your goal as Joyzu?’ and we said we wanted to play SnowGlobe next year — and we did. We had a few songs out there and we played a lot of shows and we got the opportunity to play at the Sierra Stage and we were lucky enough to have Chad invite us back again and it is a whole new show this year because we are playing live elements of our music. It all kind of started at SnowGlobe for us. We love SnowGlobe.
By the way, congratulations on the new single! I want to talk about the lyrics… ‘I liked you before you were famous’… What inspired you to create this song and is there a story behind the lyrics?
Lilianna: Yeah, for sure. This person was one of my really great friends and someone I used to work and write with and he got a little bit of fame and then unfortunately just let it get the best of him.
Quinton: Yeah, and it’s really good material for a song also.
Definitely. You guys seem very humble so I think it really is a great song for you…
Carson: And that’s really our goal. At the end of the day, we are just two dudes making music and it’s really cool to be at this level. We still have a lot of room to grow but we are just having a lot of fun with it.
You’re also signed with Armada Music. How exciting is that?
Quinton: Yeah, it really is. We put one song out and they found us and then our second song that was released as Joyzu was under Armada and we signed with them right after that. That was about four months into the beginning of Joyzu. Their team has really helped us push our music and it was a really good move for us as artists.
You guys will be performing a live set this year! What has gone into the preparation for this performance compared to your usual DJ set?
Carson: Like, months.
Quinton: The initial amount of work was super long because we had to go into all of our old songs that we’ve been wanting to play and figure out what we want to play out of it, take out the stuff we don’t want to play, export it and hook up what we do want into all of this gear and repeat it for every song and once that is done, we have to bring back in the DJ element of it and then we have to practice… a lot.
Carson: Pretty much just building a show around it and trying to be musicians at the same time.
Quinton: Yeah, so no more just pushing buttons.
So, will this be your first live performance?
Quinton: Mhm! This is literally our first.
Carson: And we are debuting it on Main Stage which is exciting. We still want to stick to DJing at specific shows, like clubs and smaller sets, but opportunities like this we want to be fully involved with our music. This is definitely the most original set we’ve done so far.
So you guys are best friends…
Quinton: Not really. I don’t like him that much.
Carson: Nah, he’s my best bud.
What is it like going through this journey having your best friend by your side?
Carson: It makes it a lot easier. I wouldn’t want to do it by myself. I think it would get really boring.
Quinton: Yeah, and just kind of lonely. Especially, traveling and stuff.
Carson: And now we live together. So we are just constantly working on stuff which makes it a lot easier.
So you are always with each other then… Do you ever get sick of each other?
Quinton: Not really.
Carson: Honestly, no. It is more just about ideas we have different opinions on. I don’t think we have ever gotten into an argument. Maybe over video games but…
Quinton: Yeah, we definitely argue over video games.
Throughout this process, what has been your favorite moment so far if you could pick one?
Quinton: Mine, personally, was when we played in Mexico with Zeds Dead. We played right before them and we got to meet them — finally. We had done other shows with them because we were on their tour and it was still hard to meet them and we really wanted to. So when we finally did in Mexico, it was at this huge spring break party. The whole experience was nuts just being able to meet them and party with them a little bit.
Carson: Mine would have to be SnowGlobe… Also having people listen to our music and like it and to see that we have fans out there. I mean, every show has been so fun. Each show is different and the crowd is always different. It’s just the most euphoric and energetic feeling ever to control a crowd with your music.
So it seems like you guys have a lot of fun on the road. You guys have a great energy that makes people just genuinely want to be friends with you…
Carson: Yeah, it’s been really fun. It’s definitely serious in certain aspects but we aren’t here to be super serious all the time. I mean, we are partying too and having a good time. When it comes to the work side of things it’s serious but when we are here with all of our friends we are going to have fun. We want to meet our fans too. We are always out walking around telling people to come watch us play. I mean, we are only young once. It’s kind of clique to say that but we have this cool opportunity to play music for people so we might as well make the most of it.
What do you guys like to do to keep things interesting and fun? Any traditions?
Carson: We drink a lot.
Quinton: Yeah, theres a few pictures of us doing some bigger shows and there are always those pictures where I have a drink in my hand on stage.
Carson: Nothing really tradition wise though.
Quinton: We really need some kind of pre show tradition.
Carson: I get pretty in the zone though before shows. Personally, I don’t really talk to anybody. I kind of sit in my own head and figure out a game plan. Quinton kind of does his own thing.
What is your favorite part about performing? Do you ever get nervous anymore?
Carson: I mean, I get nervous when stuff isn’t going right. If the visuals aren’t working, or if there isn’t a lot of people there, or if people management or security are running around on stage… that’s when I get nervous.
Quinton: I’m kind of the opposite. I get more nervous when more people are there because I am kind of a shy person so being in front of a lot of people and having to entertain them is a little nerve wracking for me.
Carson: …And just hoping they like it. That is also a nerve wracking — putting our music out there and just hoping it does well and wanting people to like it and to like our shows.
Quinton: So yeah, we still get nervous.
Carson: But once you’re up there you kind of get tunnel visioned and you don’t think about anything else besides what you have to do. It’s kind of like when you are in class and they tell you to picture everyone naked in the crowd.
Quinton: Wait, you don’t always do that? I do that everywhere. Everyone is just naked all of the time.
So, what inspires your sound?
Carson: A lot of things.
Quinton: We have a lot of different artists that inspire us. Some big EDM artists like Porter, Flume, ODESZA… but then we also listen to a ton of rock and hip hop — a lot of hip hop. Hip hop definitely inspires us and maybe eventually we will do a hip hop track one day.
Carson: We talked about doing a weird alias.
Quinton: We will for sure branch out into different sounds. If we do a new EP, I think that will be a good time to experiment with things that are outside what we usually do. With singles, people kind of look forward to the Joyzu sound and it may throw people off if we put out something that we have never really done.
What can we expect from you guys going into 2018?
Carson: We have been pushing content every month and we are really getting into remixing everything we can so you can expect more of that. We will be doing a lot of shows…
Quinton: And new music. We are starting to make a new sound — more energetic dance music while still keeping that Joyzu sound.