Joy was recorded at Chung King Studios in New York City. It was helmed by Steve Lillywhite, the producer behind Phish's previous 1996 studio album, Billy Breathes. Guitarist Trey Anastasio told Billboard magazine: "Steve Lillywhite produced the first record we did, Billy Breathes, and when he did it he had never seen Phish live. After he finished it, he went to a Phish concert and came backstage, ran into the band room and said 'I want to do it again. I had no idea you guys could play like that.' So when we did this one, the one thing he did was make us always play together, all four of us. There's not one single overdub guitar solo on this record; there's all the original interplay between the band. The drums and the piano are clearly interacting, for real. I thought that was such a great production decision on his part."