Interview :: Junip
May 13th 2013
There’s nothing quite like music that transports you somewhere else. Somewhere softer, smoother, more poignant.
For those of you familiar with the mellow acoustics of Swedish solo-artist José González… brace yourselves. His band, Junip, released their self-titled album a few weeks ago, offering you the gorgeous echoes of a purer world.
There’s something hauntingly beautiful about each track, with José’s gentle vocals juxtaposed against the darker undertones of the heavy synths. While the music reaches within you to touch something raw and vulnerable, his voice comforts you with a gentle ear-cuddle, almost seeming to say…
“Stay calm, creature. I’m here to whisper your worries away”.
José González and band-member Tobias Winterkorn were able have a little chat with us amidst the frenzy of their European tour — fresh from the shower, with wet hair no less! (Am I allowed a moment to fangirl over José’s curls?) (Pretend I didn’t ask that. I’m being professional here. Shhhhh. SHHH!)
FBi: So it’s a week into your European tour, where are you currently?
José: We just arrived a while ago in Amsterdam… we haven’t done anything yet except shower.
Have you had any favourite experiences from this particular tour as yet?
José: Well, we’ve just had two birthdays. Our tour manager and also our bass player, so… a lot of cake!
Is there any significance with Junip being a self-titled album?
José: We gave it some thought and since it was only written by us and we played all the instruments, it felt like it was truly our album. I also think it was also a matter of just finding something simple, and it felt like the album could be just Junip.
From your Fields album in 2010, do you think your sound has progressed or changed in any way?
Tobias: Yeah, absolutely! I feel like it’s a completely different band. Between Fields and the Junip album there are huge steps. With Fields, we just jammed for hours and hours, and only afterwards did we sit down and listen to it. With this album, José already had some lines and riffs that he showed us and we tried to make music out of it. Now we write more of our music too. Now we sound really great.
Is there a song on the new album that either of you like the most?
Tobias: I think Line of Fire is a really good song, and Baton is also a favourite of mine.
José: I like the song Walking Lightly a lot, but there’s actually no song on the album that I don’t like or that I feel uncomfortable with. It usually happens with albums that there are some tracks that stand out and some that you feel could be better or different, but on this album we’re really proud of every song.
The music videos for Line of Fire and Your Life Your Call were particularly intriguing and cinematic, and I noticed that they’re labelled Part 1 and Part 2. Was there some kind of story you were trying to tell?
José: Mikel Karlsson directed the videos. He only had a weekend to film so we decided to do two videos in one and use the same characters, and he came up with a story for those two songs in that order. It’s basically his art and his great and twisted mind (laughs), with that Nordic, almost vampire, type of feeling.
Your music style has often been described as indie pop, alt-rock and folk — is there any genre you personally feel like you most identify with?
José: Not really. I think when we do our music we’re not thinking too much about genres. It’s more about the sound. There is only one genre that we don’t identify with that someone mentioned, and that’s baroque rock.
José: Hmmm… maybe I agree, but I don’t know why they call it that. It’s a horrible name for a genre! It’s basically whenever you have acoustic music or baroque music that brings in orchestral elements. I looked up which other bands are mentioned as baroque rock like the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Love, and I like those bands, I’m okay with being grouped with them, but I just don’t like the term.
Tobias: It sounds so strange.
I guess the question everyone wants to know… any intentions on touring Australia any time soon?
José: Invite us!
Tobias: We’re sitting here just waiting for some bookers to call us and say, “Hello, can you come to Australia”. So anywhere, anytime! Please pick us up and we’ll do some great shows for you! Maybe we can bring our families too and everything and make it like a holiday.