What struck me most about my conversation with Ritzy Bryan--the lead guitarist, singer, and songwriter for The Joy Formidable--was the dichotomy of her creative process. On one hand, it's an abstract idea: she uses words like imagination, inspiration, and mind, all of which are channeled through her stream-of-consciousness writing process. And yet she explains all of this so well. It's not easy to talk about vague concepts like these so concretely, but it's a testament to her intelligence and metacognition that she has such a handle on her creative process. Of course, it also helps that she devours books: the back lounge of the band's tour bus is a mini-library.
The Joy Formidable is legendary for their incessant touring schedule. This means that Bryan does a lot of writing on the road, and she can't worry about finding that right moment to write. She describes her writing process--even her actual words on the page--as "chaotic." Bryan never, ever forces the writing process; setting aside time to write, she says, will ruin her creativity. And like any good writer, she recognizes that a large part of her creative process involves soaking up every part of her environment and finding inspiration everywhere, because, in her words, "there's so much variety, even in the most mundane day-to-day schedule." As a result, her songbook is a "mixture of more fully-realized poems and very chaotic words: just word combinations, wordplay, and imagery."