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JOY (ANONYMOUS) On Spreading The Joy With Fred Again.. Across Australia

15 March 2024 | 2:06 pm | Jessie Lynch

"Hopefully we’re coming back to Australia for your summer — our end of year."


JOY (ANONYMOUS) (Supplied)


In a whirlwind of infectious beats and palpable euphoria, dynamic UK-based duo JOY (ANONYMOUS) have sent Australia into a frenzy as they support Fred again..’s sold-out shows across the country.

Along with supporting the adore u hitmaker, the pair — comprised of Aussie-born Henry Counsell and Louis Curran — have sprinkled a few surprise pop-ups of their own throughout the tour, captivating audiences and spreading the joy wherever they go.

More than just purveyors of happiness, JOY (ANONYMOUS) first emerged from a series of pop-up parties in London during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspiring excitement and hope when both were scarce and bringing people together through the unifying power of community and music.

Now, fresh off their successful debut November 2023 tour Down Under, JOY (ANONYMOUS) and Fred again.. returned to Australian shores earlier this month, hitting the road to play sold-out shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, and Gold Coast’s Doug Jennings Park while sending the nation into a frenzy on unparalleled proportions.

They’ve also managed to fit in a few sneaky ‘Joy Meetings’ throughout the tour, including a pop-up afterparty that took place on Thursday night (March 14) at Sydney’s Civic Underground, which was announced just hours before they hit the decks post-show at the iconic local venue.

Ahead of their upcoming B2B performance at The Domain in Sydney this Saturday, March 16th, alongside Fred again…, Dameeeela and Sam Alfred, and following the release of their collaborative track ‘JOY (Life Goes On)’ alongside Sampa The Great and Ezra Collective, we caught up with Big Hen and Louis to find out what’s the latest in the world of JOY (ANONYMOUS).

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Hey guys! How is everything going on tour? It must be quite the rollercoaster.

Hen: It's been absolutely nuts! I can't really put it into words - it's all just been crazy. Like, we went from playing a small Laneway show in Melbourne to performing for 30,000 at the Gold Coast, so it's pretty nice. I think the impromptu nature of it all makes it even more fun. 

You guys will be playing with Fred again.. At The Domain in Sydney this weekend. Will this be a bit different to what we’ve seen at the arena shows at Rod Laver Arena and Qudos Arena?

Louis: Yeah, I think so like in the arena ones we play our set and Fred plays his set. But the idea with the raves is that we kind of DJ together. So yeah, lots of lots of fun. We've been DJing together for ages. 

Hen: It's fun to try and surprise each other with different edits and stuff like that. 

So a similar vibe to the Gold Coast show?

Hen: Yeah, that kind of energy. We tried to make it feel different on purpose to make raves feel like you're not coming to see the live show. For the live show – particularly in Fred’s one – they work so hard on the visuals and stuff whereas the raves are a bit more of us all going up and playing new edits and stuff like that.

We caught your Sydney show on Tuesday - it was insane! What’s it like seeing such a huge, positive reaction to your music?

Hen: We always all kind of chat about it, saying that as a musician, it’s not like you’re in a band, you write the song for ages, you practice for ages, and then you get to play a pub gig or whatever. The fact that we can make songs and then the next night play them in these arenas is mind-blowing, let alone people singing along to them and stuff like that.

One of the tracks we finished the morning of Opera House show, and then sang it for the first time there – and then to see everyone sing it as well, is crazy. I think the crowd got the lyrics better than Fred did [laughs]. He messed it up in the Opera House and the crowd got it correct, so that's insane.

How’s Fred going with all the madness going on?

Hen: There are definitely days that are tough, but he's just such a force. He's so strong with it, he’s so good with all the fans, it's awesome.

You guys have held a couple of Joy Meetings while you've been in here. Can you tell me a bit about how that started?

Louis: It's kind of linked to how we started, which was playing on the streets of London, doing these impromptu, busking kind of sets. And it ties into the WhatsApp group community, where we will ask the fans if anyone has somewhere we can come and play and respond to that. So yeah, it just kind of feeds into the community aspect of it all. 

Hen: And we're really like listening to what fans are messaging us. A lot of the popups come from people suggesting things, so we're very active on that.

Are you guys planning any more of these kinds of pop-ups while in Australia?

Louis: Yeah, for sure. We’re going to Civic Underground on Thursday [March 14], And then yeah, we'll see what happens. We'll see what people send us and there might be some stuff happening next week..

Earlier this month we saw the release of ‘JOY (Life Goes On)’ alongside Sampa The Great and Ezra Collective, how did that collaboration come about?

Hen: Basically, Ezra Collective won a Mercury Prize, which is like a big thing in the UK. And they want on that day we were playing Ally Pally, we were doing a similar thing to like the domain and Gold Coast, Ally Pally is a big venue in London.

And it was the final day after doing four live shows with Fred — similar to the live shows here — and on the fifth day, we did a five-hour set, with everyone DJing back to back kind of jumping in. And we were like, ‘Let's try and make an edit for them to celebrate them winning the Mercury.’ And they loved it.

Have you got any other collaborations in the works?

Louis: It's always a few was a few in the pipe.

Hen: Nothing set in stone..

Louis: Yeah, we just make stuff because we want to make it and then thankfully, sometimes it gets to the artists and they love it so they put it out. That's kind of how all our remixes have happened, like with The Jungle, The Sugarbabes and Ezra Collective tracks, we just made it first and they ended up coming out.

So Hen, we know you’re from Adelaide and we’ve noticed you haven’t headed back to your hometown yet…

Hen: Yes…. [Laughs]

We’ve had a LOT of questions from people asking us about this..

Hen: So have I.. [laughs] We’ve had a lot of requests..

We’ve also been asked about Brisbane…

Hen: Well, for Brisbane, I feel like we kind of got them with the Gold Coast at least — it’s an hour’s drive.

What are these whispers I’m hearing about Perth?

Hen: Well we’re leaving Aus on Wednesday so…

Louis: I haven’t heard about that..?

Hen: [Laughs] Well either way — we’re trying to work something out for Adelaide, whether it’s this trip or not — but we’re definitely coming back in a big way.

We have a few fan questions from Disord for you guys. Kristo0246 asked: What's been your favourite pop-up show that you’ve ever done?

Louis: I equally loved the Laneway one and the Gold Coast one. The Laneway one was playing to like 100 people in someone's garage, but it just felt it felt amazing that we could do that on the other side of the world and I just felt super awesome and so much joy.

Hen: Again that was throughout the WhatsApp group, they all came — we didn't even announce it on socials.

Louis: The Laneway one people were coming on their own and would leave having made new friends, it was great.

Krystal asks: What's your dream location or venue to play out?

Hen: I feel like we’re doing that now with this tour…

Louis: Yeah, everywhere on this tour. Outdoor ones we love, we love being close to the water, like at the Gold Coast rode in by boat and then came off the boat when on stage — it was mental!

Teenargh asks: Do you guys feel remorse for throwing our lives into chaos?

Hen: [Laughs] Absolutely not. We’re making you feel alive!

NAT asked: Hen, what is your haircare routine?

Hen: Very little… [Laughs] I wake up, wet it with water, wash it every now and put coconut oil in it probably like once every two months. I wish there was more.

Basic German Boy asked: How is it seeing people listen to your music in person? And how does that affect your approach to creating new music?

Hen: We pride ourselves on really listening to our fans. Both our albums were made by reacting to crowd inspiration. For our first album Human Again, we made it on the Southbank and included the crowd on the record and all that.

It was similar for Cult Classics — we spent about a year crafting and honing in on the songs while playing them live. And each night we’re like, ‘That didn't quite hit the crowd that tonight this bit did, let's work on that’. This also leads to why we make all these edits at the last minute for shows.

The final fan question comes from K, who asks: What’s next for JOY (ANONYMOUS)?

Louis: mean, more of the same. We're doing a Europe tour when we get back from Australia and getting back in the studio, making more stuff, and playing festivals. And then hopefully we’re coming back to Australia for your summer — our end of year. So yeah, we will hopefully do all those things.