Welcome to our exclusive interview with Joey Pollari, where he shares insights into his latest musical journey. Today, we delve into ‘Efforts Of Love’, the second single from his highly anticipated album, I’ll Be Romance.

With a pace that slows to a hushed lilt, Joey reveals the depth and breadth of his musical vision, offering listeners a glimpse into the soul of his record. Accompanied by a gorgeously cinematic and dream-like video, the single transports us into a world of delicate psych-folk, where every note seems to ache with longing.

Join us as we explore the quiet intimacy of ‘Efforts Of Love’ allowing Joey’s musical and vocal nuances to shine through. And stay tuned as we dive deeper into his music, inspirations, and the complexities of relationships.

How did you mix folk elements and synth sounds into “I’ll Be Romance”? What was your approach to making these different styles work together on the album?

Folk and synths are both primitive expressions. “Organic” acoustics extend easily to an “organic” Prophet synth; “primitive” guitar is simply a sine wave like a synth can produce. To make them congeal together was a concern; go another inch on the synth and you go space-age. That’s not this record, but it could be. I thought this record needed a fantasy of synth, but rooted earth of the acoustic guitar, and neither could cancel the other out.

‘So Close’ talks about a tough breakup. How do you turn these personal feelings into a song?

I woke up with the song from a dream. You can never remember words for very long from a dream, so I had only the melody. That’s life! I think the same goes for personal feelings; they like to retreat with your awareness or waking of them — soon, another feeling will tell you it’s the only one, like a child saying “Pay attention to me, ignore my siblings.”

My breakup sort of meandered out because we both agreed it wasn’t worth working on anymore. That left me with many feelings, but sadness said it was the only one. But a song isn’t very good in one tone. So, the lyrics to “So Close” are making sure that each feeling complicates the other feelings’ demands for centrality.

Your statement about memory, love, and the gaps they leave is profoundly poetic. How does this theme of memory versus possibility inform the entire album, and can you share how it influenced specific tracks?

Memory is shaped by the present as much as the present is shaped by memory, but the future is a gap, a potential space. Usually, we fill this gap with more memory. I thought this would be interesting as it pertains to romance.

So, while the record starts in memory — on “A Porch Made of Me,” I sing as my father 20 years ago working as a carpenter — I also try to cast off memory to imagine the future on sonss like “I”ll Be Romance” and “Peach Blossom Spring.”

Am I successful at this? I don’t know. A childhood memory of my aunt smoking cigarettes is not far away from my declaration, “I’ll be romance.” Being collapsed by angels is certainly a future, but does that mean I’ve left the past? Does that make it romance?

When I sing the lyrics “It’s no more painful to die than to dance” or “When I finally feel it, there will be no cloud left,” those are each ways to imagine the gap of death and the possibility of love. But maybe these lyrics have forgotten the present. That’s why, on a song like “Riddance is a Natural Feeling,” I’m singing about having an encounter with your phantoms right here and now in the park. Raise a glass, you know?

Directing the video for ‘So Close’ added another layer of artistic expression to this project. How did your vision for the video complement or expand upon the song’s narrative?

The song roils in memory and private desire, the conflict between them, and the video interplays the conflict between many people. When I was editing the video, I realized there was a certain melancholy in that conflict becoming dispersed to multiple people. The song is imagining one person, torn up by one person, but the video says “No, it could be anyone.” This is not some melancholy against polyamory, it’s a reflexive warning of blind endeavor. The problems of our past will choose any lover to project upon — it doesn’t matter who. We’ve got to get ourselves on the case.

Working with Theo Karon and other noted musicians brought a new dimension to your music. What was it like collaborating with them, and how did their contributions shape the sound of “I’ll Be Romance”?

The collaboration with Theo was very nebulous and tenuous, and I’d do it again. It was tenuous because the sine waves so easily took us into too much fantasy, and it was nebulous because I had written a record in the midst of my relationship about my relationship. A little bit like trying to get dressed while driving a car. This makes feelings immediate to write a song with, but makes it hard to shape one. Should the record be open or closed? Harsher or more lush? What voice is being used?

Thankfully, Theo is a producer working from the gut. They shaped the soundscapes into great contradictions — trembling guitars thrown into cathedrals, boomy basses squished up against the left ear, drums reversing tenor in the same phrase. And best of all, Theo’s incitations for my voice were dramatic and clear: try it like your voice is a husk, straddle the piano bench and sing, stand in the corner and try the chorus. The results surprised me.

Our drummer, Elizabeth Goodfellow, added the Hare Krishna drums to “Efforts of Love” and gave “So Close” it’s thrust, while guitarist Steven Van Betten made swords on “Riddance” and then made whispers on “Peach Blossom Spring.” I am also grateful to Mike Richardson, our trombonist, who gave “Romance” a swan song triumph in the choruses.

You’ve said this album is about the kind of love you experience in your early 20s. Looking back, how has your view on love changed since writing these songs?

I’d say it’s changed entirely and not enough. The love we experience in our early 20s — projection and infatuation, expectation and self-protection — lasts a long time for everyone. It’s the universal lifelong work.

What’s changed for me is how long it takes for me to realize what I need to realize — now, it’s shorter — and I’m also more willing to see my own downfalls. But strangely, I was writing about my downfalls at the time of this record, and I saw them, but it takes time to see how far back these go, or where their tendrils extend. I’m very happy to have this album as a nose on the scent. My glass is raised.

Additionally, what can our readers expect from you this year?

I’ve got a weaselly role in the Apple TV show “Sugar” with Colin Farrell out the same day as the record. Catch me snarling and idiotic there. I’ll also release some more music video visuals, I’ll go record another record (maybe two), and I’ll perform some live shows. Hope to see you there.

Watch ‘Efforts of Love’ below: