This Deafening Silence is the solo project of James Brooks Joyner, a 19 year old singer / songwriter from Maryland. Possessing a winning combination of memorable songs, introspective lyrics, and highly expressive vocalizations, Joyner’s latest single Softly Whisper is a sweepingly romantic track that should win the young musician a good deal of fans. Judging by what’s heard on this track, as well as his previous self-titled EP (all available on Itunes, by the way), the future looks bright for this very promising talent. Here is an interview we conducted with the mastermind behind the melodic sounds of This Deafening Silence. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in This Deafening Silence, and how long the project has been going. Were you in any other bands prior to This Deafening Silence?
My name is James Joyner, and I play all instruments including vocals in This Deafening Silence. I’ve been writing music for this project for around 5 years now. I used to be in a rock band called Fox Three Kill until we broke up because of college.
Where are you from and what do you think of the local music scene?
I’m from a town in Maryland called Charlotte Hall, which seems to miles away from any kind of civilization. The music scene is non-existant around here, until you get to D.C. That’s were all the music happens; D.C. has all kinds of venues that famous artists have played at, and I think it’s a really awesome place to be if you’re a musician.
Where did you get the band name This Deafening Silence and why did you chose it?
I got my band name from a line in one of my favorite songs of all time, by Mayday Parade. I chose this because, first of all, that song spoke to me in many different personal ways, and as soon as I heard that line I knew it would fit my music perfectly. Plus, Mayday Parade’s older music has been a huge influence on my music, and I thought it’d be a great way to pay homage to one of my favorite bands.
Where did you get the idea for the lyrics on Softly Whisper? It’s quite a romantic song. It’s also a bit different than the other songs on your previous EP.
“Softly Whisper” is your typical teenage love story. Every guy I’ve ever known has been in a relationship in which they thought nothing could be better. I think the lyrics of that song were been inspired by thoughts that guys have about that one girl they love, right before they go to sleep. I think it really captures the “dream” of love. As far as it being different from the others on my EP, I really just tried to add a dramatic feel for my song by using distortion and powerful drums during the chorus. I think it adds a lot of depth to it that wouldn’t have been there if I had done it 100% acoustic.
Where do you get the ideas for some of your other lyrics? Please cite two of your songs and what the lyrics are about.
“Answers From a Broken Heart” is a song about the pains of trying to be forgiven by a girl that you’ve hurt. Everyone has been in this situation and it’s a terrible feeling. “Answers; what are they good for when you’re shut outside her door?” I think that quote accurately describes what it feels like to try and say sorry to someone who isn’t accepting of an apology because of something that you can’t undo, with no amount of remorse. “Our Trademark Scene” is a song about the freedom of being out in the world on your own with the one you love. It embodies everything that is teenage love, and it has a very feelgood attitude about it.
Do you ever get nervous playing in front of people when it’s just you and your acoustic guitar?
Usually what happens is that when I play in front of a bunch of people that I’ve never previously met, it tends to be a lot easier than playing in front of people you know. You’d think it’d be the opposite, but it isn’t. I’m just a weirdo like that. So that means that 90% of the time I’m fine, except for that private party every once in awhile that you do for your friends. Hopefully with time I’ll get better about that though.
What made you decide to cover the Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song Your Guardian Angel…
That song would definitely have to be my favorite song of all time. It never fails to give me chills, time and time again. I think that it really describes the way I feel about my friends and my girlfriend. First of all, the fact that I even decided to cover it was a huge roadblock I had to get over in my mind, because I didn’t want to screw up the one song that meant so much to me. But I think in the end it worked out great.
How close are you to recording an all new EP of tunes?
I would say that I’m close, but not there just yet. I have about 20 songs written and ready to record, but now it’s just a matter of me saving up the money to book an entire week of recording. It’s in the making, and I have a feeling it’s going to blow even ME away when I’m done with it.
You play drums in Ordinary Island and Scott (from Ordinary Island) plays drums in your band. Have you guys ever done a show together where you had to each do the drums on one night? That must be kind of exhausting.
We haven’t actually played a show like that yet, although we have a whole lot of shows lined up this summer that are going to be like that. And yeah, it’s definitely going to be a challenge; although I think that we’re gonna have to learn to pace ourselves and to not get too burned out during one set. Practicing is going to do the trick.
Any strange or unusual Myspace stories that you could share?
Hahaha I have a TON of weird myspace stories. If you’re on 5 or 6 days a week for 5 years, you tend to rack up a lot of those. I’ve gotten plenty of gay guys that message me and ask me if I’m gay and if I want to hook up, which is always awkward for a straight guy. Even though I have it in bold in my bio that I’m straight, I always somehow get those every once in awhile. Another time, this girl said that she got a hold of my IP address and was going to track me down and rape me. That was interesting, let me say. There’s a million of them haha.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote. What was the title and what was it about?
The first song I ever wrote was called “The Stars Go Flying“. It was terribly cheesy and it aches my manhood to hear it nowadays. It was about this girl I liked in 8th grade, and it was about how I had this Justin Bieber-esque “love” for her. In the song it literally included references to my school, which was the only place I saw her. It was terrible, and it has a rather appropriate place on a mix CD stashed in a shoe box in my closet. R.I.P.
While on tour, someone offers you $100 to play an acoustic version of Pokerface by Lady Gaga. What do you do?
I pull up the lyrics on my macbook, I bust out my guitar and play it! =) I’d do anything (musically) for $100, especially in my current broke-college-boy condition. I’m not particularly a fan of Lady Gaga, but that’d be a great opportunity for some pocket money.
What is the most unusual cover song you’ve ever played or been asked to play?
The most unusual thing anyone has ever asked me to cover was a song by Suicide Silence. I have NO idea where I would begin even if I did want to cover that song… I don’t really listen to death metal like that, and during the few times that I HAVE listened I couldn’t even make out a discernible melody and/or chord progression. So basically I just told him I’d think about it haha. There are some metal bands that have a welcome home on my iPod… but I’d never consider covering most of them. And I still have yet to be asked about that Lady Gaga cover, but we’ll see. =)
What is the most metal record or CD you have in your collection or on your IPOD?
The most metal hard ass stuff I have on my iPod would have to be the album “Allegiance” by As Blood Runs Black. It’s freakin awesome. It just makes me want to go beat the hell out of some annoying people that I work with. I mosty listen to it right before a practice with the guys from my old band… it tends to get me wired to play some rock.
Any chance of you doing a tour over the summer?
It’s definitely going to happen. Scott from Ordinary Island and I are going to be doing it in California and here in Maryland as part of the opening act(s) for a more well-known band called Heart Pharmacy. We’re also planning on doing some shows up and down the East Coast, it’s gonna be great.
Do you have any messages for people reading this who might want to check your music out?
Definitely! I’d like to say thanks to all of the people who have already heard of me and who have supported my dream of making music over the last 5 years; you’ve really been a huge motivation factor! And to people who are interested, send me an add request at www.myspace.com/thisdeafeningsilence or become a fan at www.facebook.com/thisdeafeningsilence! I love chatting it up with people and It’d be great to get to know you. Thank you so much for giving me your time! I really appreciate it, more than you know.
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)