Tone Deaf’s Anaya Latter spoke to Jose Gonzalez on the phone about his new album with Junip. The band are playing at The Falls Festival in Victoria and Tasmania, as well as the Southbound Festival in Perth and Sunset Sounds Festival in Brisbane, with sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney.
This is the first tour of Australia as Junip, where have you toured solo before. Do you have any standout gigs or stories from the tours?
We have been touring since May this year around Europe and the States and Canada. We played in Iceland at the Airwaves festival, it was a nice show, people [went] crazy. We played a couple of days ago in Paris… that was a fun show – it was us, Caribou and Beach House.
How does working in a three piece change your music from your solo work?
We write the music together, so it is less about the guitar and more about finding the songs and finding the groove. It comes out differently, I guess that is the main thing. People always compare it to my solo shows but it is good to have a nice gang of people up there instead of just me.
Is it right that you’ve been together as Junip since early 2000? With Elias Araya on drums and Tobias Winterkorn on organ & synth…
We’ve been together since 1998, a very long time. The three of us write the music and record it. Now that we’re playing live we have two more musicians [on stage] with bass and percussion, flute and effects.
Do you feel that you are exploring new things as a three piece that go beyond your solo acoustic work, or are you keen to continue releasing solo albums as well?
I will continue to do both. But yeah it’s nice with Junip, it’s not as important to stick to our own instruments, it’s a bit more free. I’ve been playing bass and also doing some stuff with the synthesisers – feels like it’s different both in style and in the way that we produce [it]. Which has been it’s nice for me because I’ve been stuck with my guitar, I mean it’s what I do best but it’s sometimes good to break from the pattern.
Can you talk about your creative process in making music, for instance what inspires you, sustains you etc?
Musically it’s all about listening to music and finding stuff that is interesting and being inspired by sounds and harmonies or rhythms. I think that’s the main inspiration.
Also when we jam together it’s fun to almost not talk to each other but see what happens when we start playing. Just [the] pure fun of playing music I think.
With the lyrics it’s a bit different, I always write the lyrics last minute and the sounds are always mostly finished.
I always try when I write try to find metaphors, ideas, and search the web for poems or maybe watch a movie or two to get inspired.
What were some experiences you had in recording the album? Can you describe the process?
We spent a lot of time just jamming and recording jam sessions. We set up to record in our rehearsal space, it became a lo-fi studio, it was so we could record everything off the computer. We recorded months of jams. After a while, going through the stuff we found stuff that was interesting, and continued jamming but with a specific riff or groove and slowly it becomes the song and then I go home and write the lyrics.
Can you paint a picture of the Gothenburg music scene? I’m interested that you were in a hardcore punk band, Back Against the Wall. You clearly have a broad range of musical influences and tastes – do you feel that they inform your work?
The first band was called Back Against The Wall, we were inspired by punk bands we had some punk songs but some stuff was a bit poppy, a year later, me and Elias formed a hardcore band we played hardcore for 5 years – it was through the hardcore scene that we met Tobias, he was singing in another hardcore band.
So back then it [must] sound like we were part of a scene that was going on in Sweden in general. But right now even though we know a lot of musicians we don’t really feel like it’s a scene in the sense that everybody plays in other bands.
We hang out with Little Dragon of course, with my girlfriend Yukimi and we share a rehearsal space. Soundtrack of Our Lives, (a legendary Swedish rock band) have a huge studio where a lot of Gothenburg musicians have their studios, so that is like a hub where recordings and sessions [take place] and people hang out.
You have received both notoriety and criticism for the use of your cover of the Knife’s song Heartbeat in a high profile advertising campaign. Is the knock on the door by marketing & advertising companies an inevitable challenge for successful artists today?
Um yeah I mean I think a lot of established artists get offers like that. But I think there are two schools. A lot of Indie bands don’t like ads at all and say no things and [then there are] people maybe like me, that depending on the advert you do it or you don’t and see it as a way to pay the rent or buy microphones. And I think usually the younger you are the more anti, or, the more hardcore you are about these types of things. I think as soon as people who work with music have families, it’s not as black and white I think.
If you were in charge of the lineup for the last party on earth, who would you invite to play (living or dead)?
That’s a good one. Maybe Fela Kuti, Chet Baker, maybe like early versions of Misfits, also MF Doom, Daft Punk, David Axelrod… If I had a moment I would write a long list, but that can be a start.
What is your favourite word?
It’s a Swedish word, Gothenburg slang ‘gödigt’. It means good or cool. It’s a bit nerdy but it’s local.
Junip Australian headline shows – details below!
Tuesday January 4, 2011
The Corner Hotel
Tickets from www.handsometours.com, Corner Box Office (57 Swan St Richmond 12-8 Mon-Sat), ph. 9427 9198 or online www.cornerhotel.com & Polyester Records (City & Fitzroy store)
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