Black feminist punk band Big Joanie will release their hotly anticipated second album Back Home on November 4 via Thurston Moore and Eva Prinz’s Daydream Library Series (UK) and Kill Rock Stars (US). In the four years since their debut, the band have meticulously honed their craft to incorporate new styles. Already enjoying accolades spanning FADER, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Afropunk, Stereogum, Consequence and Under The Radar, the new collection builds on the band’s tightly knit, lo-fi punk formula to bring forth a collage of blazing guitars, downtempo dance punk, and melancholic strings that evoke the full depth of the band’s expansive art punk vision.
Today, they release brand new single “Confident Man” alongside a vibrant video. Animated by Rachel Amy Winton, the video mirrors the pulsing synth grooves of the track with a busy moving tableau comprised of Big Joanie’s personal family photos, archive footage of the Caribbean in the 50s, live footage shot by Curtis Lewis at the band’s Third Man album launch party and a recurring motif of the ackee fruit tree as depicted on the Back Home album cover.
Frontwoman and guitarist Stephanie Philips shares:
“This song came from a rare Big Joanie jam session when we were messing about with the synths in Margo’s studio. The song was inspired by Jia Tolentino’s book Trick Mirror and an essay in it about scam culture and how everyone’s obsessed with con men and their stories. As the impact of capitalist culture becomes harder to avoid, it feels like many people would rather give in and admire those who work within the system and become the epitome of privileged, confident, white male arrogance. When you’re in that mindset, no one considers rebelling against that and tearing down everything the confident white male represents.”
Video creator Rachel Amy Winton says:
“After hearing from the band about the themes that led them to create this track, I became interested in the idea of positive representations of masculinity, both young and old. Trawling through a bunch of archival footage, including old home videos and photos from the 50’s ’til the present, I enjoyed catching little glimpses of sincerity, playfulness and kindness that showed men and boys engaging in a non-arrogant form of manliness. I like the way this stands in contrast to the conmen and scam culture that the song so powerfully tears down.
“I was also interested in the themes that sit across the bands new album: a homeland, feelings of nostalgia, family and the weaving together of cultures. When the band sent over some visual references, included in the mix was the quilt-work of American textile artist, Rosie Lee Tomkins. This inspired me to make the craft like animation style and patchwork/mural piece that the video draws symbols and motifs from (it can be seen in full at the end). The flowers, fruit and foliage of a different place stood out to me as well the capacity for animation to really highlight the changing rhythms and tempo on this synth-heavy track.”
Recorded at Hermitage Works Studios in North London, Back Home was produced and mixed by Margo Broom (Goat Girl, Fat White Family) and features violin courtesy of Charlotte Valentine (No Home). The album title references a search for a place to call home, whether real or metaphysical. “It’s about the different ideas of home,” explains Stephanie. “Whether that’s here in the UK, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or a place that doesn’t really exist; it’s neither here nor there.” The band worked with multidisciplinary artist Angelica Ellis to design the striking embroidered cover art, which is a depiction of Chardine’s nephew at the barber. The artwork is a reference to the embroidered wall hangings popular in Caribbean homes post-Windrush that were a callback to the homes they left behind.
Outside of Big Joanie, all three band members manage a formidable array of solo projects. Stephanie is a freelance music writer and became a published author last year with Why Solange Matters. Estella works on the music program Girls Rock London and is part of the collective behind Decolonise Fest with Stephanie. Chardine is a prominent voice in the LGBTQ community, is working on a book about Black feminism and was the vice chair of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Musician’s Union in 2021.
Despite their many accomplishments, there is so much more the band wants to achieve. With their boundary-breaking approach to punk, radical politics, and an appreciation for earworm melodies, Big Joanie are set to become important voices for a new generation of punks.
Big Joanie is:
Stephanie Phillips: singer and guitarist
Estella Adeyeri: bass and backing vocals
Chardine Taylor-Stone: drums and backing vocals
Back Home tracklisting:
1. Cactus Tree
3. Confident Man
4. What Are You Waiting For
5. In My Arms
6. Your Words
7. Count to 10
8. Happier Still
11. I Will
12. In My Arms (Reprise)