Exclusive: Vance Joy is Taking His Own Sweet Time

The multi-platinum artist sat down with VMAN to talk about his eclectic taste in music, his writing process, and his highly anticipated new album.

Vance Joy’s musical dream? To hear one of his songs in a nightclub.  

The Australian singer-songwriter, who shot to fame following the release of his 2013 single “Riptide,” is best known for his folk-infused indie-pop songs – not exactly the kind of music you would expect to hear at the club. “I would love to have one of my songs remixed in a way that just like, turns it into a banger,” he says. “It doesn’t even have to be like a Tiësto remix, though that would be cool. I just like the idea of a song getting taken by someone else and transformed. ” 

Photographed by Celina Martins

With his third studio album, In Our Own Sweet Time, out June 10, Joy just might be in luck. Though the album mostly builds upon the joyful, instrumental sound that we’ve come to expect from him, there are a few tracks that stand out as different, though they’re still a ways away from being club anthems. Most notably, “Don’t Fade,” the album’s second hit single, has a distinct rock-tinged sound. “That was the first one I wrote, back at end of 2019,” says Joy. “I was excited about it at the time, and I just kind of fell in love with it more and more. It just felt like a little slightly different flavor to some of my other songs up to now.” 

Like many albums that have come out this year, much of In Our Own Sweet Time was written during the course of the pandemic. Though he hesitates to call it a pandemic album, Joy admits that the songwriting and production process for this album was slightly different than usual. “I wrote one song (“Daylight”) by myself in Melbourne on my piano, but otherwise, it was just getting on Zoom,” he says. “My writing process has always been kind of just collecting bits and pieces, either writing them in a journal or recording voice memos and sticking them together as I go.”

Writing also felt like a nice way to stay sane during a lockdown: “It was just a way to still feel like I was being productive,” he says. Joy was joined by Dave Bassett (Weezer), Joel Little (Lorde, Taylor Swift), Take a Day Trip (Miley Cyrus, Lil Nas X), James Earp (Lewis Capaldi), Dave Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), and Dan Wilson (Leon Bridges, Adele), who all served as key contributors in making the album. 

Photographed by Celina Martins

Joy, who was born and raised in Melbourne, spent much of lockdown in Spain, where things were slightly more open than in his home country. Being in Spain gave him extra space and privacy to write, and the laid-back nature of the country (along with the general state of the world in 2020) unintentionally inspired the album’s title. “In Our Own Sweet Time is kind of about taking a moment and doing things on your own time,” he explains.  

The slower pace of life was foreign to the singer, who released his second album, Nation of Two, in early 2018 before joining P!nk on her 2019 Beautiful Trauma world tour. The pandemic’s sudden arrival gave Joy the free time to celebrate life and to fall in love, an experience he details on the ukulele-laden “Catalonia,” with lyrics like “Another stroll to nowhere under olive trees and arches,” and “Spend another night with you / In our sweet disorder.”  

Photographed by Celina Martins

Between “Catalonia” and the lovingly sweet “The Way That I’m Going,” In Our Own Sweet Time is undoubtably Joy’s most personal album, with subtle references to various lived experiences both in Spain and back home in Melbourne. With the groovy, horn-heavy “Clarity” and the upbeat “Missing Piece,” which premiered in late 2021 on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, Joy crafted the kind of album that has a song for everybody. All throughout, you can hear where Joy felt inspired by two of his favorite singers, Bruce Springsteen and Elliott Smith. 

Recently, Joy has been enjoying his first few shows back with his band after lockdown. “I’m not gonna say we sound better than we did, but we definitely feel like the connection is stronger,” he says. Joy and the band are gearing up for a 2023 world tour, which will only strengthen their connection: “It’s gonna be cool to be in a tour bus. Those are the kinds of tours where you’re able to really get a vibe going .” The 2023 tour includes 26 dates across North America, meaning there’ll be plenty of time spent on the bus. 

Photographed by Celina Martins

Despite his global success (his songs have been streamed over 5 billion times and have gone multi-platinum), Joy is incredibly soft-spoken. His music, which is unabashedly joyful, isn’t constrained by any arbitrary gender or age limits, making him a unique artist in this day and age. You are just as likely to see a group of teenage girls at a Vance Joy concert as you are to see their grandparents. 

“I’m just trying to create something that feels really powerful and real,” he says. “I think that’s the best test if I can connect different generations, because then you know it’s not just a trend with a certain demographic.”  

Photographed by Celina Martins

In Our Own Sweet Time is out now everywhere, and tickets to Joy’s upcoming tour can be found here.

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