Where you’ve been shapes who you are. Joi Noir’s expansive travels offer international experience and a universal edge to the trio’s lithe and lo-fi resurrection of post-punk spark with a graceful touch of modern sheen. The band’s story and name begins in Africa’s Pointe-Noire, Republic of Congo – where Pointe-Noire is reflected in “Noir,” and the members’ initials Jack Kuznetsov (drums), Olga Gallo (vocals, bass) and Igor Plotnikov (guitars) form “Joi.”
The Russian-born Jack and Igor found themselves in the Congo along with Olga, who got great inspiration from the surroundings and urged the lifelong musicians to start performing together. As Joi Noir’s main songwriter and composer, Olga’s passion spurred on the project. Her influences of the spirit of late seventies and early eighties new wave movements are embodied in the music and are the driving force behind the band.
Shortly after earning a strong fan base in Africa, circumstances brought Igor and Olga to Malaysia. The triumvirate didn’t lose sight of their original goal though. They carved out time to track the ten songs comprising Joi Noir’s self-titled debut over the course of three intense days in Kuala Lumpur during Jack’s visit.
Joi Noir produced the set themselves with additional production and mixing by Gareth Jones (Depeche Mode, Interpol) at Strongroom Studios in London and mastering by Alex Wharton (My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead) at Abbey Road Studios. The result bristles with uncontainable fervor.
First single “Cake (The Queen Is Dead)” sees Olga’s howl practically collide with robust guitars and thrashed-up drums. It’s the perfect space for her entrancing and enigmatic voice to engage. Olga reveals, “The drums are totally reminiscent of the post-punk movement, while the lyrics are built around the beautiful and famous Marie Antoinette who lost her head.”
“All My Life” exposes unfettered emotion both lyrically and musically. “It’s about loneliness,” remarks Igor. “When you meet that special someone, fireworks go off, and you hope it lasts. Even if it doesn’t, you cherish that time.”
“Asphodel” channels U2 and Siouxsie Sioux equally with its dreamy and punchy wallop, while “Miracles” charges ahead on a guitar gallop with Olga’s beautifully haunting croon taking the spotlight before “Stand On My Own” drops a danceable eighties-inspired crash. The ride culminates during “All Day All Night” one bouncy and punkified send-off.
Joi Noir’s raw, minimalist approach harkens back to new wave, industrial and post punk bands, while finding the band crafting a sound all their own. “We’ve spent time in so many places, and want to take listeners away with our music,” says Olga. “Come take a musical journey with us.”