joan is bringing superglue to Manila for their first solo headline concert in the country. Here’s what you need to know about their grandest show yet.
When Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford formed joan in the late 2010s in Little Rock, Arkansas, they hoped that their music would resonate with listeners. But little did they know that their music would become a mainstay of playlists around the world, particularly in the Philippines. From the American South to Southeast Asia, joan earned themselves a loyal and ever-growing fanbase in the Philippines who are eager whenever the duo returns to the country.
At this point, Alan and Stephen are no strangers to the country as they performed here multiple times. But their latest show in the Philippines on September 19 at the New Frontier Theater is something special. No longer is the duo doing a festival gig or a supporting act, they have NFT to themselves in their first headline show in the country. In fact, according to joan, it’s the biggest show of their careers yet.
“That’s really special. I’m really, really excited about it. I literally wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else other than Manila,” they share. Add to that the release of their long-awaited debut album superglue, and joan’s Philippines reunion may very well be a celebration with some of their biggest fans in the world.
Ahead of their show this September, we got the chance to catch up with the duo as they opened up about having a headlining concert, making music, their daughters, and more. Read on below for what they had to say.
You guys are coming back to the Philippines in September and this will be your biggest show in the country to date. So how are you feeling that you get to come back with this headlining show?
I think it’s our biggest show we’ve ever done. That’s really special. I’m really, really excited about it. I literally wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else other than Manila. I’m stoked. And I’m also nervous, but I’m always nervous.
How do you handle nerves?
I definitely get like pre-show jitters. I guess you’d call them like little butterflies in the stomach kind of thing. Once I get on stage, when we start going, I’m usually pretty good. Like, it kind of calms down when I see the crowd But there’s definitely sometimes where it takes me a few songs. The hardest part for me, is when I mess up, even if no one else notices, I know. And then you’re just like in your head the whole time. I think just forcing yourself up there is a big part of it.
How different is your Manila show from your past performances in the country?
It’ll be longer. We’ve only really done like festival and support stuff. So you get to tailor the show top to bottom to fit you as a band and your fans and so I think it’ll be a lot different. It’s our first headline show so we’ve really carefully tailored it to be the most joan thing ever.
Are their specific songs that you’re excited to play on stage?
No spoilers, but we play a lot of the album on this tour. And honestly, those songs feel like another level for us live, it just feels. They just feel really cool and fun to play. And we will have a full band with us. We’ll have two other people on stage with us, which is a first for Manila, as well. So I’m, I’m really excited about that. Because I mean, that just makes it more fun and more special as well.
You recently collaborated with Zack Tabudlo on a remix to superglue. Is it safe to say then that we can expect the two of you together during the Manila show?
Let me just say that if Zack wants to come on our stage and sing a song with us, he’s got it.
Going from the high of the stage to the lull of being in your hotel room can be a lot to handle. How do you manage to balance that almost like roller coaster of emotions when on tour?
We’ve been doing it for a while now. Both of our girls are just about two years old and it’s still an adjustment. It’s really important to me to feel connected to home. And I think Stephen would say the same thing, so some of that energy shift is making sure that daily, I’m getting to actually connect with my girl. The hard part about international travel and touring is that the time difference is so drastic. It’s tough to like balance that for sure. But it’s so worth it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What does a joan tour rider look like?
We’re very boring when it comes to hospitality riders? We usually have like some sort of fruit and vegetable spread. And we usually have like, chips and salsa or something of the sort and sparkling water.
How would you like your superglue era to be remembered 5-10 years from now?
My immediate answer is joan, and that sounded very third person. We try to write every single song in a way that in, like you said, 5-10 years, we can really listen to it. Anyone could listen to it, and it still feels relevant and impacts them. It has meaning and purpose. We tried to write this whole album, both thematically lyrically, melodically production, all of it to be such that you could hear it in 30 years, and it still would hold its own. And I think we did that.
I think it’s all about timelessness. Like, we’re constantly chasing timelessness. So if we have new fans in five years, we want them to be able to listen to the song to this album, and it feel new and fresh to them.
And speaking of timeliness, now that you’re both fathers, does your children play a consideration into the way you make your music?
We’ve like intentionally, and nothing against music that has like explicit lyrics, tried to choose lyrics that make sense. Jerry Seinfeld was once asked why he never cusses, and he was just like, if you tell that same joke without the F word, and it doesn’t hit as hard, it’s not funny. And that’s always stuck with me. So for us, it’s more just like maybe one day we’ll write a lyric that’s a little risqué because it just like really fits the narrative. But otherwise, what’s the point? Like, does it need to be there for us? I do think about that now with my daughter. I don’t want to write music that makes her wince
Finally, fans often like to debate where the best place is to stay at a concert. As artists yourselves, where do you think is the best place to stay at in a joan concert?
Nothing makes us happier than to look at the front row or the first 10 rows or whatever full of people that really love us and our music because we feed off that energy like so much more than you know. But usually we are at the sound booth area if we’re going to a show because that’s probably where it sounds best. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the show is better there.
The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
joan’s superglue world tour in Manila is presented by Live Nation PH. Get your tickets now to their September 19 show at the New Frontier Theater here.
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