Mt. Joy is essentially like the shared musical lobster of two high school friends from Philadelphia, Matt Quinn (vocals, guitar) and Sam Cooper (guitar). Lobster in the way that even as life can take two people down their separate paths, independent of each other, there still remains that unknown magnetic force flowing through the atmosphere aligns the inevitable paths of two friends to align for musical jamminess.
The two musicians reunited in Los Angeles and decided to follow up on teenage aspirations, regardless of the outcome. So, they sent out a call to the masses and put out an ad for bandmates - on Craigslist.
Now, if your knee-jerk first thought was that Craigslist might not be the go-to option here - I can’t blame you. And 9 out 10 times you’d probably be right. But not this time, because this time it led them straight to multi-instrumentalist maestro Michael Byrnes to heed the call. And he’s a boss - so thank you, Craigslist, for your bountiful treasure trove. We’re not worthy.
They chose the name Mt. Joy which stems from a mountain in Valley Forge National Park near Cooper’s childhood home. With the help of Byrnes old roommate Caleb Nelson on production, they released a handful of songs online. The songs gained some serious traction early on, with the song “Astrovan” racking up over five million streams to date.
The band started to take shape with Byrnes on bass, adding Jackie Miclau on keyboard and Sotiris Eliopoulos on drums.
Not many artists take the time to give such a well-penned, introspective bio page as the one you’ll find on Mt. Joy’s website. Layered in a tone of gratitude, they describe moments of initial trepidation when deciding how avidly to pursue music full-time, with quotes from Quinn saying things life, “I knew I still wanted to write songs, but the realities of life made that dream seem pretty impossible.”
Now, re-read that quote and replace the words “write songs” with whatever it is that you’ve always loved doing, but seem to find yourself doing less of lately because of [insert any number of real person things in order to live and eat]. It’s pretty relatable to say the least, walking the fine line of adulthood as the weights of reality threaten to set in faster than the urge to resist convention.
In their own words, Mt. Joy’s most recent self-titled LP is described as:
“…a portrayal of young band facing that moment where dreams become reality, and finding beauty in the exhilarating uncertainty of it all.”
They describe many of their songs and intention behind them in really incredible detail that I highly recommend checking out. The song “Sheep” is explained as an outcry in a post-Trump society for the fortunate to help others overcome in times where hope seems lacking. Or in their description of “Silver Lining” saying,
“Quinn surveys the damage of hard drugs and the vicious cycle of addiction, as the song’s melancholic sentiment kicks into its fervid, defiant chorus, all shout-along vocals and trilling guitars.”
Their self-titled album was released on March 5th and they have played on previous tours alongside bands like The Shins and The Head and The Heart. They’ve made their runs through a medley of quality festivals the likes of Bonnaroo, Made in America, and Lollapalooza.
View their full list of tour dates here.
(Cover Image Credit: Mt. Joy Facebook)