Contemporary Christian synth pop group Joy Electric is the brainchild of Orange County, CA, native Ronnie Martin, formerly of Rainbow Rider and Dance House Children (which also featured his brother, Jason Martin, of Starflyer 59). Originally conceived as a solo project for Martin, Joy Electric featured bouncy pop songs with religious and whimsical lyrics set to sweet synthesizer melodies. The group debuted with 1994's Melody on Tooth & Nail Records, one of the premier independent Christian record labels, and home to Christian indie rock bands Velour 100 and MxPx. Melody and 1995's Five Stars for Failure EP were recorded with samplers, synthesizers, and drum machines, but on 1996's We Are the Music Makers Martin switched to using only analog synths for all melody and percussion parts.
After the release of 1997's Old Wives Tales remix EP, Joy Electric added the band's manager and keyboardist, Jeff Cloud, as an official member of the group. That year also saw the release of the band's most popular album yet, Robot Rock. Soon after, the group added another member, Caleb Mannann, and moved to the BEC record label. As growing interest from the secular music scene added to an already strong Christian following, Joy Electric continued gaining fans with 1998's The Land of Misfits EP and the following year's Children of the Lord EP and CHRISTIANsongs album. Along with their duties in Joy Electric, Cloud continued to run his Velvet Blue record label and promotion business, while Martin founded his own electronica label, the aptly named Plastiq Musiq.
2001 saw the unveiling of The White Songbook: Legacy, Vol. 1, a high-concept synth rock album that showed the growing ambitions of Joy Electric. The following year, a collection of new and old songs called The Art and Craft of Popular Music was released. But Martin wasn't done, no sir. In 2003 the prolific synth maestro issued the clickety pop, glitchy sweetness of the Tick Tock Treasury LP, followed a year later by the chillier traditionalist synth pop of the Friend of Mannequin EP and Hello, Mannequin full-length. Martin also found time to tour Christian festivals and develop Shepherd, an experimental guitar side project. The fourth volume in the Legacy series, The Ministry of Archers, came out the following year, accompanied by an EP, Montgolfier and the Romantic Balloons. Both albums were produced at the newly revamped Electric Joy Toy Company studio. The fifth and final Legacy album, The Otherly Opus, arrived in 2007. It was followed in 2008 by My Grandfather, the Cubist. ~ Heather Phares