Though it’s not uncommon for 20-somethings to want to get as far away from their hometown as possible and never look back, Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper can’t seem to get the Main Line out of their systems. The Conestoga High School grads have been residing in Los Angeles for a few years now. It’s where they assembled their quintet, Mt. Joy, which is now touring the country in support of its self-titled debut on the highly respected Dualtone label, home to the likes of Delta Spirit, Shakey Graves and the Lumineers.
But Quinn and Cooper did name their band after what’s really more of a big hill in Valley Forge National Historical Park, and they talk of coming back to the area for good sometime in the not-so-distant future. “We’re still living there in our minds,” says Cooper.
The two started writing songs together at Conestoga, playing as duo at Burlap and Bean in Newtown Square and the now-defunct MilkBoy Coffee in Ardmore. “I remember the MilkBoy gig was like a pretty big deal for us,” says Quinn, whose family lives in Devon.
Now, Mt. Joy is a like a pretty big deal. In a fairly remarkable turn of events, the group is getting airplay and support from radio stations like Philly’s WXPN, performing on the late-night talk show circuit and opening for established rock bands like the Shins and the Head and the Heart. “That was the first moment where I was like, ‘Whoa,’” says Quinn of his reaction when he first got wind that Mt. Joy was being played on XPN. “I grew up listening to that station.”
Just a few years ago, Cooper and Quinn were college graduates barely scraping by in L.A. while contemplating their next move. Then they uploaded a song they’d been working on called “Astrovan” to the music streaming service Spotify. “I just thought it would be fun to have a song on Spotify to show our friends and family,” says Cooper. “Then it just took off and had like a million plays in the first month. We weren’t thinking of music as a career, but things changed pretty quickly.”
Now, Cooper and Quinn finds themselves in the enviable position of returning to the area as conquering heroes—or something along those lines. “I think Philly is always gonna be home for us,” says Cooper.
Mt. Joy performs May 19 at the Fillmore Philadelphia’s Foundry. Visit www.thefillmorephilly.com/foundry.