DIME Detroit Creative Songwriting Senior Josh Cowdrey’s band You Rest, You Joy Life is self-reportedly “Not Emo” – it even says so on their merch – but they’ve been working hard to make a name for themselves in Detroit’s indie emo scene. We sat down with Josh to talk about the band’s latest EP, Just to Be On Something, released on Have Fun Records, and their upcoming show at BLED Fest on May 26th.
DIME: Tell me a bit about your band! Who are your members, how long have you been together, and what are your influences?
Josh: Our members are me, Josh Cowdrey (guitar/vox), Andrew Muller (guitar/vox), David Sobolak (guitar/vox), Collin Jerue (bass), and Topher Schuetz (drums). We’ve been playing together for about 2 years. In that time, we’ve self-released an LP called “I Have Slipped the Surly Bonds Of Earth… And Touched the Face Of God” and released an EP called “Just To Be On Something” via Have Fun Records on February 27th. Some of our biggest influences include Bauhaus, Foxing, Periphery, David Bowie, the Twilight Sad, Lamb Of God, Anberlin, Have A Nice Life, and Jawbreaker.
D: What’s your favorite track on your new EP?
J: Probably the third track, “Please Don’t Drink That Water.” It’s seven minutes long and it took a year to write. It’s the most personal track I’ve written and the most collaborative track that we wrote as a band on that record.
D: What has been the best part of your experience at DIME?
J: DIME has really shaped me as a songwriter. I have learned how to improve my songwriting stylistically and technically, as well as learning how to be more confident in my presentation of myself/the band and also with my stage presence. The songwriting program has taught me how to dive into styles outside of my comfort zone and really immerse myself in them. This has helped me to mesh my own personal style with other styles of writing, and bring that to You Rest, You Joy Life. I’ve learned how to write with other people collaboratively as well. I think at this point I would have exhausted Green Day rip-offs or sad boy indie-rock, but now I have the tools to explore other genres and make my songs more interesting and new. I’ve also learned how important networking is and have done a lot of that in regards to YRYJL. And I love the people – I’ve definitely made some lifelong friends here.
D: Who are some of your favorite songwriters?
J: My all time favorite is Billy Joel Armstrong from Green Day. A few of my other favorites are Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse, Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol, Ian Curtis from Joy Division, Nick Drake, and David Bowie.
D: Who is your favorite instructor at DIME?
J: Probably Antea. She is not afraid to put me in my place, as a person or a songwriter. I might come up with something that I think is the greatest thing that’s ever been written, and she finds ways to make it better. She’s really broken me down as a songwriter and built me up at the same time. I feel like I’m forever changed as an artist since having her as an instructor. I think I’ve grown a lot since having classes with her.
D: Tell me more about BLED Fest! It’s exciting to see YRYJL in the lineup this year.
J: The local band Mover Shaker is the root of all of my experience with BLED Fest. They were the first indie local band that I went to see, and because of them, I was introduced to the entire indie emo community. Through the scene, I met a band called Dads from New Jersey and loved their music. They ended up moving to Ann Arbor and we became friends. They played BLED Fest in 2013, along with Modern Baseball, Tiger’s Jaw, and other bands I loved. I went to the fest and loved it; I’ve gone every year since. Then DIME got involved, and I was excited to see that. I’ve wanted to play BLED Fest for almost five years now, always submitting whatever band I was in to play. But this time, with the new release, we had some momentum to build off of. Some of my best friends and favorite bands are playing this year, so we’re all really excited.
D: What is your favorite local venue?
J: The Sanctuary! It was the first local venue I’d gone to before I knew anything about the DIY and indie local music scene. I had no idea that community existed. My friends in Mover Shaker invited me to a show of theirs at the Sanctuary. I didn’t know anybody there, but everyone made me feel really welcomed, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I started going to shows there all the time and meeting a ton of people and bands. At one point, I was going to a show almost every day. You Rest, You Joy Life played their first show there, so it’s really special to me. I’m really glad that they’re re-opening in the same location where Paycheck’s was.
D: What are your goals for the band?
J: We have a small tour booked for June and we really want to dive into that, especially since that’s when I’ll be graduating from DIME. We want to tour non-stop, playing more festivals and shows out of state, really getting our name out there. Continue to use network and experiences gained through DIME to boost that. My ultimate goal for the band is for someone I don’t know to say they like something I wrote. That, and to see one of our records on vinyl. If I have that, I’ll be good.
Connect with You Rest, You Joy Life:
Listen to their new EP on Bandcamp!