Joji Malani is leaving Gang of Youths

Originally published at: https://www.deepestsighs.com/joji-malani-is-leaving-gang-of-youths/

You’ve surely seen the news by now. Shortly after finishing up their opening slot for Mumford & Sons tonight in Dallas, Gang of Youths announced that guitarist Joji Malani is leaving the band. His last performance as part of GOY will happen Friday night in Oklahoma City, at the band’s final support set with M&S.…

I just don’t know what to think or feel. I mean, I feel terribly sad in a selfish way because I love this band and Joji’s contributions to it, and I love the obvious friendship that exists between Joji and the band – especially Dave – and it just hurts inside to imagine them without him, y’know? OTOH, I feel happy for him because this had to be a difficult decision and you must have Reasons if you’re gonna leave a band that you’ve been with since it started, and just signed a worldwide record deal and is potentially about to Go Big … and so if this is what he needs or wants to do, then it’s what he absolutely should do and we should be happy for him.

But damn … just so many questions, I guess. Why? Why now? What happens next – for Joji and for the band? Does this impact the record contract in any way? How does it impact the next album?

Anyhoo … I’m glad I got to see the version of GOY with Joji and I’ll always enjoy hearing him play on these early songs/albums. God speed, Joji Malani.

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Wowsers! I’m really shocked and didn’t expect this.

I hope it doesn’t impact their new record contract also. No matter what the reasons, it has happened at a big crossroads in their career to date.

What surprises me is that I had believed that Jojo and Dave were schoolmates if I recall correctly.

This was shocking for me as well, waking up in the morning and reading the news. Was I still dreaming? Well no.

I wonder how long the band has known this news? Does this affect the new album? Do they already have someone else? So many questions as Matt has said.

For whatever reason he needs a change in his life, I wish him the best moving forward. The one selfish thing I would hope is that he doesn’t give up music and he continues to play the guitar elsewhere.

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Last night, probably around the time this was being posted, I was just telling a friend about Gang of Youths.

It’s hard to imagine them with a new band member at this stage of their career but I’m sure they’ve had something in the works for awhile. Obviously want to let the dust settle on this announcement before they signal the new direction.

If the new album is partially / mostly recorded, do they hire on a guitarist to play parts Joji wrote and then eventually that guitarist gets to stake their own claim to Gang of Youths sound in the future? Rewrite music with a new guitarist?

Plenty of big bands have had members change over the years. It’s just life. But it kind of always feels like the band isn’t the same afterwards. It’s like there’s an * beside their name somehow.

That’s a great question. He’d have to have been signing the contracts and things at that time. Maybe that’s what pushed him over the edge to make the change - realizing this was going to be the next “x” years of his life if he doesn’t do it now. I’d imagine the back and forth to America touring must have been a factor too.

I don’t think any of us expected this news, especially with the momentum on so many exciting things on the horizon for Gang of Youths.

It seems like there is a genuine respect in this departure. All the best to Joji - his influence will live on in the GOY music he contributed to.

GOY will make it through this, and as they say “Persevere”. Who knows maybe Dave will write a song about it?!? :slight_smile:

As close as they seemed on stage and in interviews I would be shocked if Joji just dropped this bomb on the band last week. I am guessing that Joji wasn’t comfortable with the bigger stage the band is heading towards over the next couple of years. I would love a song to come out of it, Great idea.

Yes it raises lots of questions around the album and contract - and at such an interesting stage of the band’s career. It certainly is hard to imagine someone else on stage with the boys - I know Donnie wasn’t a founding member, but it feels like he’s been there for the significant milestones and I can’t imagine who they will find to fit in with such a tight knit group. Also I notice Adam Duritz of Counting Crows said that Dave was his new roomie on insta. So maybe the share house in London is no longer too.:woman_shrugging:

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That’s what I’m thinking about too, @KateB – I’ve only seen them 3 times in the past 5 months, but it feels like it’s gonna really strange to see the next version of GOY with someone else up there. This odd feeling is also due in large part to the fact that I spent 35 years following U2 and they’ve never had a lineup change, so…yeah. It’s all very new and unusual and hard to process.

Working on an article/essay right now with some thoughts about it all, including the album/contract stuff.

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Also, if money and work were no issue(s), I’d get on a plane to Oklahoma City to see tomorrow’s gig. Jeez louise, even though it’s not their own show/audience, what’s that gonna be like when they all walk off the stage after their set … and again at the end of “Blood”? Can’t even imagine.

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That’s the thing – from what the band has said in the past, Dave writes every song himself – music, lyrics, everything. And the band just performs, I guess?

I remember last year when I was reading everything I could about them, watching all the interviews, etc., that subject came up a few times and it was the only “red flag” I had about what I was learning. Because in a group of five creative/intelligent people, I don’t know how long you can survive with one person being the only source of the thing that’s being created. Surely the others would want to be able to contribute to what they’re performing, right?

And maybe they do – maybe that happens in the studio, and while Dave writes things originally, the band members bring their own ideas in during the playing/recording process? I have no idea. But I hope so.

That’s what I’m thinking as well. Hopefully there’s somebody there who can record some video of those final walk off moments.

That final gig will be a milestone in the band’s career for sure - especially if they go on to make many more albums (which we hope they do obviously).

In the little bit that I’ve followed those discussions I always take that to mean that Dave writes a version of the songs by himself, say on acoustic guitar + voice, and then brings it to the band and they flesh out what a full band version of that would sound like. Which isn’t the same as Dave dictating to everyone what they should play, when, and where. They seem to have too much fun playing together for that kind of “hired gun” situation.

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I have a strong feeling that, apart from other reasons, the drama with Jung’s Aussie work visa that forced them to relocate to London is somewhat responsible for what’s happened. Fijian families are incredibly tight. Family is everything. Whatever Joji intends to pursue, whether it’s starting/joining another band or doing solo stuff, my guess is he will stay in Sydney to be close to his parents, sisters and brothers.

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interesting angle. thanks for sharing

You could see the family love and bond in his Instagram posts when he’s been home. I was never super close with my two sisters, so that stuff really shines bright when I see it in other families.

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Great point.

Everything about the way this was announced and presented, including the IG joke about them appearing on a reality tv show to find a new guitar player, seems to point to the fact that this was a very amicable parting.

It’s refreshing in a way, in this day and age of controversies, fights, and #hotdrama that they just worked things out and aside from the sadness of the whole thing, will remain friends and everyone continues on with their lives.