Getting to know: Athena Joy

 Athena Joy Promo Photo

Since graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium with a Bachelor of Popular Music in 2016, Hannah Joy has been hustling hard.

This week she released her latest single "Repeat" and we thought it was a perfect chance to catch up with her.

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If you had to describe “Repeat” in five words, what would you say?

Think angsty guitars meet moody synths...6 words but close right? 

What was the writing and recording process like?

This song was really fun to create. I used a program called Logic in the writing process which basically gives you the ability if you play keys like me to plug in your keyboard through MIDI into your laptop and make the sound into anything you want. Guitars, drums, synths anything.

So I basically wrote the bones of the song doing that and then gave it to my friend Jordan Pineda (fellow Seedling) who basically helped take the song to a new level. We added live guitars, drums etc. all in one extremely long late night session in order to get it finished for an assignment.

Then about 6 months to a year later we got together again and added some analog synths and redid the vocals in order to finish it for real. It was quite a process but honestly really fun. Especially playing with the synths we literally were playing/pressing random buttons for hours. I feel like it's come out with a really cool blend between electronic and live elements. Super happy with the result.

In 2016, your songwriting chops were recognised when you were listed as a finalist in the Queensland Music Awards for your single “Blue”, congratulations! What advice would you give someone who is just starting to write their first songs?

Thank you so much! Well everybody is different and finds their own way of writing but for me personally I think the best you can do is just practice like nobody else's business and write like no one is listening. Never be afraid to just play! The best part of making music is there are no set rules.

The writing process is my absolute fave because you can literally say or do anything, play around, cry, be crazy, say things you may never actually say out loud and later if you don’t like it you can just change it or just choose to not show anybody. I think people respond to honesty the most so that’s why I always say to not be afraid to say exactly what's on your mind. That’s the sort of thing people generally listen to and go “Oh, yeah me too…”

I think people respond to honesty the most so that’s why I always say to not be afraid to say exactly what’s on your mind. That’s the sort of thing people generally listen to and go “Oh, yeah me too…”
— Athena Joy, on songwriting

Was there a specific moment in your life that made you want to pursue music?

I started writing music with my piano. I used to write poems as a little kid and that turned into writing songs and stuff just with my voice, but when I started writing with piano and actually talking about my own life that was when I knew it was something I wanted to do forever.

If you weren't a musician, what do you think you would do instead?

If I’m being totally honest I have no idea. When I was a kid I wanted to be a poet so I guess maybe that? Or maybe more into the business side of the industry because I do love that side of things too. I think no matter what though I’d need to be creating things in some way shape of form. It's not even a love at this point it's as necessary to me as breathing.

I think no matter what though I’d need to be creating things in some way shape of form. It’s not even a love at this point it’s as necessary to me as breathing.
— Athena Joy

In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing emerging artists in the music industry at the moment?

Personally if I’m honest I’m finding it's just getting heard above all the content that’s out there at the moment. I think people need to put more pressure on social media sites to show more real content and stop changing algorithms to hurt those that are just starting out. There are people out there making great content but because of the changing algorithms they're just not getting the attention they deserve. Instead the attention is being focused on already established users or companies willing/capable of paying top dollar to get seen. Youtuber Jenna Marbles and her boyfriend Julien actually talked about this in a podcast a little while ago – because people actually want to see real content but these bigger companies keep forgetting why people fell in love with the sites in the first place.

The reason people keep changing what sites they use (most popular used to be Facebook, then it was Twitter, then it was Instagram, then Snapchat) is because people want to see real people in real time - and when content becomes more ad focused with less real time visibility, people in the past have just moved on to the next big thing. I honestly think that's why live video is becoming a big thing recently because at the moment it's not like the platform can just filter you out. Anyway, I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years honestly.

What's in the pipeline for you this year?

I’m releasing my first EP this year! So excited!

It comes out on Wednesday 14 March and we’ll be doing some shows to help promote it. The first show will be held at The Zoo on Thursday 15 March - so stay tuned, can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!

You've created a playlist for us, thank you so much! Can you describe your playlist to our listeners? Maybe highlight a few of your favourite songs/artists and why you included them in there. 

This playlist is full of a bunch of songs with kind of darker undertones that personally I just want to play on Repeat on an almost daily basis. My fave in there at the moment is Howling by RY X. The production and everything is so amazing it creates the most amazing visuals. Also Transviolet are my new faves I only just discovered them and I am OBSESSED.

And finally, what are you diggin’ at the moment? Any recommendations? 

I’ve been obsessed with a lot over the holidays. Here are my favourites:

Book: The Peaceful Warrior (It will make you reevaluate the way you think)

Movie: Battle of the Sexes (Female empowerment ftw!)

Show: Just finished that The End of the F**king World show on Netflix – I highly recommend! 

Album: Maybe I’m just super nostalgic this time of year but I’ve been playing a lot from Lorde’s Pure Heroine album as well as Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black.

Podcast: The #AskGaryVee Show – He’s an entrepreneur and has taught me a lot about patience and positivity during ‘the hustle’ – worth a listen if its your thing!

 

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Be sure to check out Athena Joy's Spotify playlist, including her new single "Repeat" below. (Plus - keep an eye out for her single launch show at The Zoo on Thursday 15 March!)