Why Am I Doing This, Then? Interview with Junior Boys

JrBoys_BAJunior Boys is a highly acclaimed Canadian duo creating fine and unique electronic music. The pair started out around the millenium and has released four albums since then; the last one, It’s All True, came out last year. JB gave a short, but great concert at the Electronic Beats festival in Budapest in September 2012, which was a perfect occasion to meet singer/mastermind Jeremy Greenspan for a brief conversation. 

You are the singer, the main songwriter and the spokesperson of the band. Why do you need anyone’s help then?

I like collaborating with people. When I work, I work by myself a lot, but if you have a partner, you can find out if your ideas are bad, and your mate might have a good idea that you can borrow or elaborate on. Generally speaking, my favourite songs were those when Matt [Didemus – the other half of JB] started something. I just like that. I got together with a bunch of people over the years, not only with him. I started the band with another friend, John [Dark – Greenspan’s first partner], and that was also good, it had its own vibe as well. So, you know, I just like it.

Is the writing process a real collaborative work? How does it happen?

It depends on the songs. There are songs that are just me, and, well, there are ones that are collaborative. [laughs]

Could you compare working with John to working with Matt?

Well, it’s a funny kind of situation. Because I still live in Canada and Matt is in Germany, so I see John way more than I see Matt. But it’s been a really long time since we last did something together, however, we’re still friends. In fact, I have a small club in my hometown Hamilton, and he is the main DJ promoter. Even when I and John started, we weren’t really like a band. There was a thing called mp3.com and we were just posting songs there. And by the time Junior Boys was even noticed John had moved out of the city because of a job. So the half of the first album consists of songs that I’ve done with John and the other half of the album was only me finishing the album.

You mentioned that Matthew lives in Germany. How do you put together an album then? Via e-mail?

No, he still comes to Canada because his parents live there. He’ll come and stay for a few months, and then go away and come back again. That’s how it is.

What do you think: what could have happened if Last Exit hadn’t got the success it did? Do you think that you would discontinue the band?

Oh yeah, definitely. The band happened because there was a guy called Nick, who was really into us.  And he said: „Can you make a whole album of it?” And we said „Yeah, OK”. That’s why the first album happened. Then I thought we were going to put it out and maybe someone will hear it. I literally was finishing University at that time and I already applied to different schools to go further, but it happened.  And that was like 10 years ago.

Junior-Boys-1018x1024

Your second piece So This Is Goodbye is really like it consists of two completely different albums. What did you want to achieve with this work?

The whole idea of the album started when I worked on a song, the cover of a Frank Sinatra song, and the two first tracks that we did for that album were the title song we played tonight and that cover. The principle was to make an electronic crooner album, and that was how the material developed. It just came out that way. All my albums are about elaborating on some particular idea, but that usually don’t translate well, people often don’t pick up on it, but that’s how I work.

Begone Dull Care, your third record, marked a shift from your previous works. What made you going towards another direction?

We were listening to a lot of disco at that time, that sort of sad disco. And we wanted to do stuff with this kind of weird tempo. Not quite like dance music, like 110 beats/minute. We wanted the songs to be really long, just like disco songs, and that was the idea. It was a bit weird. But with that record I still feel that it’s really like my misunderstood baby

I’ve read an interview in which you said that your last album It’s All True feels like a good conclusion, and that your four discs stand as a complete scenario for the band. Is there any chance that you stop Junior Boys, or release music under a different moniker?

I don’t think that there’s a chance that we won’t do other stuff because we are already working on it, but it’s probable that we are not going to create an album, at least not in the foreseeable future. I like the idea of doing 12” records, because albums just piss me off. I don’t like the process of them, I don’t like that they get leaked, and I don’t like people who are just so thankless. I mean, with our third album Begone Dull Care, we worked so much it basically took two years to make. I spent so much time putting effort into it. And then I remember that two months before the official date it was leaked, with somebody’s own album cover and there was a review which said „Oh, this sucks”. Well, fuck that, why am I doing this, then? So the process of making the third album really killed my love to do it.

by Bence Judák

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