An Americana band on the rise, Joy Kills Sorrow bring an intense energy and exceptional musicianship to one of their most vibrant songs, “Was It You.” By email, CMT Edge asked guitarist Matthew Arcara and singer Emma Beaton about who they envision as the titular “You” when they perform the tune.
“I often think of the ‘You’ in ‘Was It You’ as a jaded lover,” Arcara replied. “The lyrics remind me of someone looking back on a relationship gone wrong and all the lessons learned from failed love affairs. The clarity of hindsight and introspection exploring the reasons and feelings left behind.”
Beaton added, “As a vocalist, I find that creating my own connection, story or image to relate to a song is of utmost importance to be able to perform it well. When I sing ‘Was It You,’ I imagine a story I’d heard before — someone comes home to see that their partner has left them, without a word said, just gone. The reason why they’ve left is vague and changing in my head, but something about the song tells me that it’s not malicious. I try to put myself in the mindset I’d feel if it happened to me, and it’s tragic.”
The music and the message of “Was It You” work in tandem to provide a restless sensation that weaves itself into the song. That synergy is something the band strives for, Arcara added.
“We are always trying to make music with creative original parts for the instruments that mesh with the vocals and lyrics in a meaningful emotional way,” he says. “I think the sense of urgency and unknowing in the lyrics are highlighted by the relentless rhythm parts. The instruments help convey a feeling of uncertainty, which adds to the questioning nature of the lyrics.”
The band recorded their newest EP, Wide Awake, at Dimension Sound Studios in Boston with engineer and co-producer Dan Cardinal.
“Boston has been the band’s historical home, even though we don’t all live there anymore, which sort of gives it a home-away-from-home feeling for us all,” Arcara said.
Enjoy the CMT Edge world premiere of Joy Kills Sorrow’s video for “Was It You.”