The Official Chat with Joel Corry: "I've played every postcode in the UK"
Joel Corry's life has been the party.
Even before he was a chart-topping hitmaker, the man behind chart smashes with an eclectic roster of British talent like MNEK (Head and Heart), Charli XCX (Out Out), RAYE (Bed) and Tom Grennan (Fearless), he was a jobbing DJ, travelling up and down (literally) the breadth of the country, playing every venue in every town or city he could.
"I've literally played every postcode in the UK," Joel tells us, dialling in as he's on the road, starting a tour in support of his debut album, Another Friday Night. "I've been so busy, I've been on a journey, and you've been on it with me, every step of the way."
That debut album, Another Friday Night, may as well be considered a greatest hits collection at this point. Containing all the hits, including his six Top 10 singles and a bunch of brand new tracks, featuring established heavy-hitters like MNEK (whose vocals are featured in the album's title track and opener) and Rita Ora (whose mogul vocals are mixed to perfection on the Chance The Rapper-sampling banger Drinkin') to up-and-coming acts like Elphi (on the Charli XCX-esque Do U Want Me Baby?) and J Hart (album highlight Do You Mind).
"I want someone to listen to Another Friday Night and forget about the stress in their life," Joel says. "You can escape for a moment. Enjoy the bangers, feel the positive vibes, get yourself out there. Have an amazing weekend...and then you can think about work on Monday."
For you, I think a debut album has always been the plan, it's been in the back of your mind. But when was the point where you actually committed to it?
We have to go back to when [major label debut single] Sorry came out in 2019. That was my first single, and my breakthrough record. Before that, all I wanted desperately was one hit. Even if I'd had one song in the Top 100, I would have been so happy. [Sorry eventually peaked at Number 6]. And then when I did get it, I didn't want to be a one-hit wonder. I needed to follow it up, there was a lot of pressure, but then Lonely did even better [peaking at Number 4].
When Head & Heart got to Number 1, then Bed [hit Number 3], I was on a roll. Then the thought of an album came into my mind. It felt like it was really happening! And for the last two, three years I've had my head stuck down, working. And 2023, it was always going to be the year it was going to happen.
I don't think anyone would have blamed you for rush-releasing an extra six tracks out when Head & Heart went to Number 1, but you've really been working on this for a while
I honestly wanted to build momentum into this year. I knew the album was going to come this year. I wanted to switch things up, because previously, I was releasing singles, but one every four or five months, in these long, drawn out campaigns. I wanted to get loads of bangers out, lead people into the album.
The title, too - it plays into your story and journey. You have played every club, every Friday night, for years
You're right. I have literally played every postcode in the UK in the last 10 years. That's why it's called Another Friday Night. The concept, at least, was just filling it full of tracks that you want to go out to, let your hair down. After a hard week, you're just ready to party. That's why every night is another Friday night...oi oi! Had to get that in there.
Was there ever a point where you considered not putting all the old singles on the tracklist? (I personally don't think I would have forgiven you if Out Out wasn't on here...)
I know how much you love Out Out! No, they all had to go on there. I really wanted to put some nostalgia into the album too, I really think it shows my journey over the last five years. Musically, I think it draws that era of my life to an end. The chapter is closed. And the other reason was, I've released so many singles now. I wanted them all to be on the same album. I couldn't put 30 tracks on there. Well, I could, but my label wouldn't be happy about it...
Let's talk about some of the new tracks - the title track is a great start to the record, right?
I don't know if you noticed, but that's actually MNEK's voice. We've reunited for the first time since Head & Heart! I love this record so much, I've had it for about a year now, I've been slowly refining it. That's why it had to be the name of the album and the first track, it really embodies everything this album is about. It's one of the only new tracks with those classic Joel Corry vibes. A lot of my newer stuff has a different style, so I had to bring it back for one! I'm interested to see how people react to it. It's definitely got something special...
Speaking of new vibes! Hey DJ is very representative of the space you're moving into I think, almost Y2K vibes?
Hey DJ is the launch single for the record. I've been teasing it loads, it's been in my sets all summer. I've honestly never had this much buzz about an unreleased song. People are messaging me all the time asking when it's out. I played a show in Dundee last night and everyone already knew the words! That's giving me a lot of confidence.
Do you Mind with J Hart could be a dark horse...
I'm really glad you said that, because nobody knows about that song yet. I wrote it in LA with J Hart, we'd never worked together before. He's really great, we got out of that session feeling like we'd known each other for years. That was a song that came about really quickly, it's about when you're not with someone anymore, but you see them on a night out, and there's still that little of bit chemistry. It feels fresh, and it has a sneaky sample too, from an old The Wanted song. I'm glad you picked up on that. You've got good ears!
The closing track, The Parade, is a proper club track too, when it's 6am and the lights come on
It's a sample of Meet Me At The Love Parade, which is one of the iconic 90s dance tracks. I actually remixed it years ago, it went to Number 1 on Beatport. We did release it, but it was more for the clubs, it was never meant to be a commercial thing. But it did so much for me, back in the day. A big part of my life is DJing, and definitely I love the underground too. It's a part of me, and I wanted to pay tribute to that. If I was going to choose one of my old club records to include, it had to be The Parade. I wanted to finish it with a bang!
I know you have literally just released your debut album, but you must be thinking about the second one now. No pressure!
I'm really excited to get back into the studio. I just need to get this album wrapped up, then I'm taking some time off. I've got the winter just to get into the studio, and start making those bangers for 2024...
Another Friday Night is out now via Atlantic.