Photo courtesy of the artist
Alex Reindl isn’t shy about his tumultuous past; he credits this turmoil as a driving force in much of his music. His latest project, Old Joy, is a deeply personal reflection on what he has been through and how it has shaped his musical prowess. An incomplete timeline of Reindl’s life includes time spent in jail and the loss of a close friend, events that form the undercurrent of his painful and raw ballads such as “I Miss My Friend” and “Buprenorphine Blues.” While Reindl’s unsteady past strongly influences his creative endeavors, the achievements of his present are no small feat. Old Joy, comprised of Reindl on vocals and guitar, Colin Kaniff on guitar, Anthony Santoro on bass and guitar, Max Petot on drums, Olivia Post on vocals, and Ryan Ensley on guitar, released its first single on Friday, June 16, and has been gaining recognition at a rate which Reindl describes as “amazingly unbelievable.”
Reindl writes all of the songs for Old Joy and explains that harmonies are a crucial aspect of their music: “When I sing on my own now, I half expect Olivia to harmonize with me.” Their single "I Wish I Loved You (Cuz I Really Like You)" is a country-inspired song for that feeling “when you really like someone, but you can’t love them, and you don’t know why." "We wanted it to sound really big in the chorus and more poppy and country in the verses," Reindl explains.
Photo courtesy of the artist
The idea for the song formed while Reindl was working at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Reindl says, “I was seeing a lot of free symphony shows, and I think a strong classical influence creeped in. On the chorus especially, with the descending C-major scale that is harmonizing, and the pickup E-major hit leading into the F. All of that is very classically influenced.”
The B-side of the single, "Cinco De Mayo" is a grungy complement, but also a piece of work in its own right. The song is a demo that Reindl recently wrote and recorded himself: “I was trying to get better at playing the drums, and "Cinco De Mayo" just happened to be what I thought was a great song that captured exactly how I was feeling at the time, and it was simple enough for me to play the drums on.” According to Reindl, “The song is about conflicting views of being a songwriter and trying to be sober and be a good person. As a musician you need to look out for yourself and try to advance yourself before all else; however, the mindset of a recovering addict or alcoholic is that you need to help other people before yourself no matter what. This song is about me coming to grips with those two sides of my personality. It’s not easy to do. There really is no resolution to this battle. No easy answers, no pop song chorus to tie it altogether, just questions and confusion.”
Interview and writing by Elizabeth Meyer
Listen to Old Joy on Bandcamp.