LP Walkthrough: Allysha Joy - Torn : Tonic
Get to know the incredible new album from Naarm / Melbourne r&b, neo-soul & jazz powerhouse
Since making her presence known as the engaging and captivating vocalist of the acclaimed 30/70 Collective, Allysha Joy has gone from strength to strength, more than proving herself as a solo artist with her acclaimed debut full-length, 2018’s Acadie : Raw.
Four years later and Joy has readied her awesome new album, Torn : Tonic, a self-produced 10 track collection that combines everything from boom bap hip hop to broken beat, packing plenty of shimmering synths and addictive melodies that perfectly compliment Joy’s enchanting voice.
To find out all about Torn : Tonic, Joy was kind enough to break down each track in depth - give the new record a listen and get to know!
Acknowledging the importance of respecting the land, the water, our homes and environment and recognising our place within it all, this is about peace and the cyclical, intersectional nature of it all. Musically inspired by the one and only Georgia Anne Muldrow, that’s Myka Wallace on the drums and the rest is me and Rara Zulu on the backings!
I love this track! It was inspired by a tune of the same name by Steve Spacek. I flipped the beat and had Finn Rees' replay in the Rhodes, which was WORK after I’d chopped and displaced everything and sung to it! This one’s about speaking up against the political right wing, conservative, silencing! It’s about recognising that not everyone has the right to protest — so if you do, if we do, we have to pick up the phone, pick up the banner, send out the emails to our local MP or do whatever we can to create change. I’m so proud of this track musically and thematically and how it has connected me in deeper to both Steve Spacek and Ego Ella May. I love Ego’s verse on this and how it all came together!
Yk x Ye
This one’s a wild one! And only BINA. could’ve found her way through it in such an interesting and vibey way! I love her energy on this! The track came from a beat I made on SP, with Myka Wallace doubling some parts and Matt Hayes following my wild Korg Delta parts on bass. I think this is a choose your own adventure track with the lyrics, it has so many different meanings to me even still. But the main idea is that I feel sometimes as a society we’ve lost the ability to hear what nature is saying. In so-called “Australia” it feels like the earth is roaring for change - in floods and fire, but can we stop and listen?
Yo! This track is a hugely significant tune for me and has been so challenging and cathartic to release! I guess it’s about letting go of our conditioning and just allowing ourselves to be who we want to be — physically, emotionally, within our sexuality and spirituality. You know, just really doing the work of de-conditioning our minds, which is incredibly hard and seemingly ongoing, as the world continues to try to place us in a box. Musically, the drums came from a beat I chopped and forced Myka to learn haha I love this one and that it bridges my love of jazz and soul and broken beat. Oh and that’s Rach Cohen on the saxophone!
Quit Trying so hard
This one was made by Finn Rees and myself and kind of started out as a joke! We started programming the drums trying to make something super wonky, Jon Bap vibes! And then we loved the music and the message so much we wanted to share it! I felt at the time particularly, but always — we have to learn to slow down and let go, in this fast paced capitalist greedy society. And instead of only working to take time, to pay to relax, to ease the pain, to drink, dress up, dress down, consuming things you don’t need to suppress the stress, etc. etc. Just stop! Slow down.
I love this tune. It came to me after watching a Talking Heads live concert with Danika Smith and I love it! To be honest, I was quite burnt out and depressed at the time of writing and this was a healing message to myself in recognising that I was waiting for things to change rather than actively seeking out the joy that is within me! Just now trying to always live in gratitude and do what I can to change what I can within myself! I made the beat and wrote everything, then got Julien Dyne to jump on some hi hats, which was really fun! Shouts to Yelderbert on helping me with this one and Rara Zulu!
I was exhausted at the end of a huge couple months of touring in Europe and wrote this one out of real frustration. At the time I was experiencing some seriously challenging waves of hormonal depression, but had no idea how to care for myself, or how to manage my cycle because of this emotionally stunted, patriarchal society we live in! Can we please educate ourselves on the power of the body, particularly for people with a uterus! We are our own remedies if we have the knowledge! Let’s share this healing life force and not shame one another for having a body that has varying needs. This one took a long time to get right musically and I ended up just programming the drums myself with Lucky Pereira adding those live hi-hats and Matt Hayes on the bass!
Dancing Water!!! My goodness!!! What an absolute honour and privilege to have this powerful human being speak in their mother tongue on this record, in Yugambeh tribe dialect. Blessed! That’s Cal Riley on the Rhodes and myself on the beat. I actually made this one with my hands just drumming on a table and I love it! Matt Hayes on the bass and Dancingwater and myself talking about healers and healing! It’s everything! This is my favourite tune on the record and I’m so proud of the message and the music.
I wanted to imagine myself as a tiny little speck of love, moving through every part of my body and just loving myself from the inside out — providing myself with all the love that I’ve ever needed. It’s so upsetting to me to think about the amount of time we waste, just hating on our bodies because of what society or mass media has taught us to think. Let’s just move with love, love for ourselves and each other and consider how much more powerful and caring we could be. Such a blessing to have Belle Bangard on this one! Another wonky beat that I made on my SP and had Myka and Matt Hayes add some live sounds to. And damn I had so many men try to tell me that this beat and the EQ didn’t work but listen … there aren’t any rules in creativity!!! Let it go.
This track stands for Green New Deal — in the name and the message this is about intersectional change and I think that’s really the theme of the whole album. It’s about recognising the link between personal, social and political change to create a better future environmentally, mentally and economically. It’s about bringing women and non binary voices to the front. I’m just out here sounding the alarm alongside many others that continue to inspire me! This one was very much inspired by Naomi Klein and Alexandria Ocasia Cortez. Blessed to have Lucky Pereira, Matt Hayes and Finn Rees on this one too!
I’m so proud of this album and that I produced all this music myself! No love songs, just anthems and hymns and remedies for change, blessed by women and non binary folk that continue to inspire me. Endless shouts to Yelderbert on the mix and everyone that helped make this happen! This is Torn : Tonic.
- Allysha Joy, May 2022