Tom, a.k.a. Coldblue

Q1) When and how did you first find Joy Electric?
I first found JE on a Tooth & Nail Records sampler - I think it was just called "5". It had the original mix of Burgundy Years on it. I thought they must be a techno band that used arcade sounds to make their mixes, but I really liked it. For me the term "video game music" is not a turn off! I also thought the vocalist must be female. After that I kept calling up the local Christian radio station and asking them if they had any Joy Electric (you know, the techno band that sounds like an arcade game?) and they'd be like, "Uh, don't know where we put that CD..."

Q2) Previous to JoyE, what did you listen to?
I was a metalhead. That same sampler that introduced me to JE also introduced me to Klank, which I loved. That was pretty much the kind of music I liked, dark industrial rock. I still like that kind of stuff, although maybe not as much. So yeah, Whitecross, Bride, Tourniquet, Deliverance, Mortal, FoldZandura, all that bad old stuff.

Q3) How has JoyE influenced your musical tastes?
Well, of course, there aren't REALLY any other bands like Joy Electric, no matter what people tell you. They aren't really connected with any scene. So I haven't really gone out and looked for more bands like them. However, I would say that JE introduced me to two things: the analog synthesizer and the simple fact that electronic music is not the same thing as techno. Really, the idea that you can use electronic instruments to make a normal song just like you can a guitar is alien to a lot of people. So over time I've become a lot more interested in bands that do interesting things with electronic instruments, and that credit at least in part goes to JE.

Q4) How has JoyE influenced your life?
I think that JE is indirectly responsible for me taking up piano lessons again after an eight year break. And one of my criteria for my perfect soul mate is that she has to like Joy Electric!

Q5) Which JoyE albums do you own?
I own everything except for Melody, WATMM, and the 5 Stars EP. A good friend of mine has these albums so I've never got around to buying them for myself. Also, I tend to prefer later Joy Electric in style and sound.

Q6) In your opinion, what is the best JoyE album, and why?
I always prefer the newest JE album. To me, each album is always such a progression that it makes it impossible to listen to the previous album in the same light. Robot Rock rocked my concept of JE, Christiansongs made Robot Rock sound like it was recorded in someone's garage, and The White Songbook was pure art where the others were just pop. I'm sure the next album will be the same, and my new favorite.

Q7) In your opinion, what is the best JoyE song, and why?
Surely there's no right answer to this question? Ronnie has penned a phenonmenal number of beautiful, listenable songs, and at least 10 or so that are sheer genius! I would say that "We Are Rock" is probably the one JE song that would make even the most dedicated JE hater sit up and take notice.

Q8) Have you seen Ronnie perform live? What did you think of the show?
I've seen him live several times. He always seems a bit lonely on stage, like he's not sure anyone's relating to the music or getting it. His sets are always too short. My favorite show was on Tooth & Nail Day at Cornerstone 2000 - they actually started the music with him off stage and then he came out like a total rock star and was really pumped up. There was a big crowd, too. I wish he had that kind of energy at every show.

Q9) Have you ever talked to Ronnie before? What did you think of him?
I've talked to him a little bit. Of course you always want to talk to him about his music but you know he's probably over it already and you're not sure what else there is to talk about it. So its hard. How do you get to know a perfect stranger without coming off as a freaky fanboy? "Hey, I really like your albums, tell me all about your life!" I guess I'd say he's the quiet type.

Q10) Tell me your favorite Ronnie anecdote
I was at a show once and someone was requesting some song from Melody and Ronnie looks down and says "We're not that band that plays all that gumdrops and fairies stuff", which I thought was pretty cheeky.

Q11) What makes JoyE such a great band, to you?
I like that Joy Electric pretty much focuses exclusively on writing beautiful melodies and making them come to life with very pure sounds. I just associate JE with beautiful things.

Q12) What kind of music do you listen to, besides JoyE?
I still like to rock, but I also listen to electronica, synthpop, and a ton of other stuff. MP3s have really fueled my need to find new stuff, so my playlist has an extremely diverse selection of music on it. Let's see: there's The Clash, Crystal Method, Moby, Ladytron, REM, Emiliana Torrini, Nickelback - and that's just this month's list. Next months will probably look totally different. I don't like jazz, hip hop or the kind of pop that gets airplay.