Joyland Festival 2023: Alvvays’ Molly Rankin Talks About The Hives and Dream Collabs

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Joyland Festival Jakarta 2023 is set to take place in the heart of Indonesia’s capital city at the GBK Baseball Stadium Senayan on 24 to 26 November 2023. Among the artists headlining the festival is none other than Canadian indie group, Alvvays. 

Known for their jangle pop sound and emotional lyrics, Alvvays have been an indie favourite with major hits in their repertoire like the longing rocker ‘Archie, Marry Me’ and the eternally wistful ‘Dreams Tonite’.

The band released their third album, Blue Rev, on 7 October last year, which shows a more mature sound for the band while retaining the relatable lyrics Alvvays is known for. 

JUICE got the chance to interview lead singer and rhythm guitarist Molly Rankin ahead of their appearance at Joyland later this month. 

JUICE: Blue Rev is just over a year old now, what were the inspirations behind the album and what are your favourite tracks on the album?

Molly: Blue Rev eventually became about certain elements of adolescence and all the different things that we’ve picked up throughout our lives. Just growing older and growing up, and all of those weird little niche regional experiences that you go through. 

And then all of the things that we’ve been listening to for the last 20 years just weaselling their way into our songs and just trying to make something that sounds cool.

But my favourite songs from the album are things that I like to play live, I guess I could say. I always love playing ‘Belinda Says’, ‘Tile By Tile’ and ‘Pharmacist’. Yeah, we’re still really into all the songs and we’ve had a little break, so I feel refreshed to perform them again.

JUICE: You’ve performed with The Jesus and Mary Chain on stage for a rendition of ‘Just Like Honey’, are there any dream musical acts that you would love to work with?

Molly: Great question and actually, I just saw The Hives in Toronto and I thought they were so incredible. I’ve seen them before and I would have no business in that realm, but I just have admiration for everything that they’re able to do live on stage. 

But I mean, if any sort of collaboration was on the table, I’d love to see how Neil Young works in a studio, or Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine.

JUICE: ‘Dreams Tonite’ has become one of your most streamed songs, what do you think makes for a good new wave ballad for today’s musical audience?

Molly: It’s so hard to understand, I’m always thinking of elements to put together to make something that will resonate. That is my only barometer for music, in general, it’s just “Does it make me feel something?”

And I work on a lot of stuff all the time that almost does and sometimes doesn’t. And that’s just my measurement for what feels like it’s going to land. Really the only thing I can do is just use my own little internal testing filtration system because I think song formulas are sort of out the window at this point.

JUICE: How well do you know your fellow headliners at the upcoming Joyland Festival 2023?

Molly: Sheridan and Abbey (Alvvays drummer and bassist respectively) are both friends with the Fleet Foxes and we just met them in South America recently. They’re super sweet, so it’ll be fun to hang with them.

We also know The Beths a little bit, so it’ll be nice to see them too. And I think we’re going to New Zealand, so maybe we’ll go into their homeland eventually on this trip.

JUICE: What’s it like to return to Jakarta after all these years?

Molly: It’s so cool because I would never have any reason to go there except for exploration, it’ll be really neat to have a little bit of time to wander around. 

But I think one of the most memorable things about being in Jakarta is that I have a very specific memory of all of these people in the crowd singing the keyboard lines, which is not something that people do in North America. 

It’s this really enlightening and heartwarming thing to hear people pick up on little melodies and be singing them like a choir, like a little miniature choir throughout the crowd and different little sections.

JUICE: What are your current favourite musical acts?

Molly: I just heard the most recent MGMT single, and I think they’re so sweet. I’ve loved them for so long, and I love their last album, I’m excited to hear what else is going on with that album.

We just did a big tour with Alex G and they’re incredible live. I think it’s like an entirely new ballgame watching them and their songs being played live.

There’s this other band that I like and I have been listening to called Sweeping Promises, and I have been loving that record too. I really want to see them play live.

JUICE: What advice do you have for up-and-coming musical artists from Southeast Asia?

Molly: I would say that there are no rules anymore. So, you know, you can try whatever you want and take your time. 

I don’t think anyone knows what to do. So just chip away at something every day. I find that to be fulfilling in itself and if something ends up becoming bigger than you would expect, then that’s kind of a bonus.

Photos from Joyland Festival and Alvvays.

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