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The Calamatix is the self-titled debut album from reggae-rooted, punk-flavored quartet, The Calamatix. Pulling influences from Jamaican rocksteady, and old-school ska, the heart of The Calamatix’s sound is lead singer-songwriter, Raylin Joy. Born in Ventura, California, Joy grew up in Scotland and moved back to the US when she was 23. Joy’s writing and the life experiences that inform it, propels The Calamatix’s triumphant songs about love and life. The contrast between the optimistic spirit of these songs and the struggle that produced them gives each song a real power and weight. 

“When this record first came into existence years ago, I was going through one of the hardest periods of my life.” Joy explains. “I was really struggling with depression and I didn't have a lot to live for, honestly, at the time. I was really, really struggling. Then I would go in the studio and we'd write a song and I'd just be on the biggest high. So, for a long time, this record was one of the main things keeping me going.”

To bring these songs to life, Joy partnered with guitarist Tim Armstrong (Operation Ivy, Rancid) and the duo began laying the album’s foundation, funneling the darkness and depression into music that was bright and uplifting.

“When Ray and I started writing together we weren’t sure what it would be for.” Armstrong recalls. “I quickly recognized how easy it was for us to construct songs together so it was a super fun process. She’s an incredibly talented storyteller and the way she connects and communicates is amazing.”

Recorded over the course of about two or three days in a whirlwind set of sessions, the band’s chemistry throughout these performances is palpable. With the studio providing a place of release, each musician found the freedom to pour their emotions into a handful of great songs. Recalling the album’s recording, drummer Clarence "Pocket" Kidd III says that the process was enjoyable and quick.

“It didn't take long at all. It was just an organic feeling and just natural. It was a good vibe. It was actually fun, being in the session actually having fun.”

With guitarist Adam Porris, bassist William “Matty” Taylor contributing to the mix, the result is a fun and fiery soundclash of styles. The brashness of punk meshes beautifully with slinky, uptempo rhythms of Jamaican ska on tunes like “Love Lies and Alibis”. The band’s chops and mastery of various styles are on full display on bittersweet rocksteady songs like “Rootstyle” and the groovy, understated jam “Boom Bap”. Throw in a tight horn section and The Calamatix shoot out into the stratosphere. The arrangements are rich and tastefully fleshed out while maintaining the heart of Joy’s lyrics. Like the lotus flower that grows out of the muddy waters to blossom and stand tall and unblemished, The Calamatix have created something good out of less than ideal circumstances. Raylin Joy sums up the album and the process of its creation simply and powerfully.

“At the end of the day, some of the best things are born out of terrible situations. We had all of this adversity and we turned it into something really beautiful.”