No Joy, the genre-defying project of Jasamine White-Gluz, has shared a video for their cover of Deftones‘ ‘Teenager (From Heaven)’ from their upcoming EP, Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven.
“I have never been shy about my love for Deftones,” says White-Gluz. “White Pony is one of my favourite records of all time and the track ‘Teenager’ was proof to me that they were a band bigger than any nu-metal confines they were trapped in. It’s such a sensitive and delicate song sequenced right in the centre of a very heavy album. We recorded our version completely remotely. Nailah’s harp, Tara’s lapsteel, and Ouri’s experimental cello really capture the emotional feeling I had when I first heard the song as a teenager.”
As a companion and contrast to themes presented on both 2020’s Motherhood and the upcoming EP, White-Gluz was interested in the aesthetic tradition of cinema-verité and youth-directed expression. While the video for the previously released single ‘Kidder (From Heaven)’ was created from the perspective of 7-year-old director Sloan, the video for ‘Teenager (From Heaven)’ was directed & shot by 15-year-old Kevin in Arizona.
“I took the videos cause I want something to remember when I grow up. It’s always the small moments like skating around with your friends or walking around your high school campus that means the most,” says the video’s director. “It’s gonna be really cool when I get older and see these old videos with all my old classmates and friends.”
On 2020’s Motherhood, Jasamine White-Gluz’s first full-length as a soloist and No Joy’s first album in five years, her guitar returned for a genre-agnostic, maximalist treatise on ageing. Fertility, family, death, birth, her voice heard loud in the mix, White-Gluz became a commanding force among the many-splendoured sounds of trip-hop, trance, nu-metal, dance-rock, and, of course, shoegaze, delivered through banjo, vibraphone, scrap metal, slap bass, even kitchen appliances. Who knew chaos could have such lucidity?
Now, White-Gluz’s ever-expansive evolution has brought forth Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven, an EP reanimation of five songs from Motherhood, transformed by new orchestral instrumentalists: an opera singer, a cellist, a harpist, a French horn musician. These songs, recorded entirely remotely, are not a correction. They are a spring rebirth — an opportunity to grow those tracks, similar to the transformation they would’ve undergone live on stage. “Songs take on a new life when I’m on tour. These songs didn’t get that chance. I still had more to say with them,” White-Gluz explains. “I probably never would’ve been like ‘let’s get a bunch of classically trained players together,’ if it wasn’t for Covid-19 [canceling tours. This EP] was an opportunity to do something that wasn’t obvious. It’s a bedroom recording, but it doesn’t sound like we recorded this in our bedrooms. I wanted to do something that sounded bigger than Motherhood did, and Motherhood was recorded before Covid.” Where many musicians used last year’s disaster to look inward, releasing solitary, insular albums, No Joy did the opposite: “It was more, ‘Let’s try everything!’ Give me something to look at!”
And there is much to look at. The songs of Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven are bigger — but they’re brighter, too, an ascension from the physical thrash of the terrestrial Motherhood. Ugly, angelic arrangements are the reason, and No Joy’s collaborators old and new are the cause: co-producer and guitarist Tara McLeod (Kittie) from Toronto returned, as did Jorge Elbrecht (Sky Ferreira, Japanese Breakfast, Wild Nothing) and Heba Kadry (Björk, Slowdive, Ryuichi Sakamoto) for mixing and mastering, respectively. New additions include Toronto’s Sarah Thawer, a virtuosic drummer who can cover any genre; Nailah Hunter, an experimental harpist from Los Angeles, Montreal’s Ouri, a performance artist and cellist, and Calgary’s Brandi Sidoryk, a master of the French horn and a classically trained opera singer who performed backup to White-Gluz – a No Joy first, but not the only one. “I don’t even play guitar on this record,” White-Gluz adds. “That’s never happened before.”
A close listen to all five songs will reveal the absurdist influences behind the EP: Disney’s 1986 DTV Valentine special, which set tracks like Eurythmics’ ‘There Must Be An Angel’ to classic animation, live reimaginations of ‘90s alt-favourites like Bjork performing ‘Isobel’ with a live orchestra, and inventive instrument expressions of the same era, like steel drums and acoustic guitars on Jane’s Addiction’s ‘Jane Says’. “Some of those late 90s electronica trip-hop acts involved strings in their live performance. I was interested in that, and with some of them, I was like, ‘Let’s go full Little Mermaid,” White-Gluz says.
It is unusual, then, that a band called No Joy found inspiration for their latest release in the joys of childhood, on an EP that tackles maternity and bodily limitation, but since when has No Joy been interested in predictability? Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven is an eccentric dream — a visionary concept, delivered with the beauty of an orchestra, punctuated with post-metal. It is alive.
Can My Daughter See Me From Heaven is available digitally and on cassette and is up for pre-order now and due out May 19th via Joyful Noise.