With Download this year being stacked with smaller bands that are starting to show signs of genuine success, Junior find themselves to be one of these many well hidden gems of the line up. Boasting not only a fantastic stage show courtesy of the three lads having excellent chemistry and bassist Mark Andrews being a professional wrestler, the trio of pop-punkers pack unashamedly huge tunes to boot and aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zone. Sitting down with Si Martin (drums) and Matt Attard (guitar), we had them spill the beans on becoming an actual band and how limbo fits into a live music set.
Here’s a really generic question to start things off, but how does it feel to actually be at Download?
Matt: Well the thing is, I’ve never actually been to Download at all, this is the first time I’ve been here and it’s great. I’m used to Reading and that’s a cool vibe, I wouldn’t say its volatile but it’s quite intense in bits. Everyone here is super chill, really nice and it looks incredible.
Are there any bands that you never thought you’d share a line up with?
Matt: What’s mad for me is that Biffy are headlining. Biffy are my favourite band, it’s not support-support but we’re on the same day so I’m counting it. Even just bands on the whole line up like System Of A Down, like when you were 14 and used to listen to them and it’s just mad.
Si: aha, Aerosmith…How do you mean though, like bands we have already played with or…?
Kinda like when you look at this years Download line up and go ‘shit, our name is alongside…’?
Si: Yeah man, fully. This is the sort of thing that you look at line-ups and look at festivals and think ‘wow, these are actual bands’. I think there’s this kind of step up bands have to make, from being locals bands playing local shows to actually playing alongside actual bands.
Is this the step up for Junior then?
Si: I dunno man, it’s definitely the biggest gig we’ve done to date. We’ve played a lot of really cool bands, when you mentioned bands we’re stoked to share the stage with, playing with The Wonder Years, Zebrahead, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, we’ve played with all these bands who we’ve listened to and been fans of for ages, and now we’re sharing the bill which is mad in itself, but being a part of something as huge, and dare I say it, prestigious as Download? Yeah man that’s awesome.
In terms of your stage show, does Mark Andrews’ improvisation from his wrestling play into it?
Si: There was an occasion when we played Bristol on a tour and we were doing a break in a song, trying to get people to clap along. Mark just puts his bass down, we hadn’t rehearsed this, and just jumps into the crowd and he starts doing Macarena or something. That’s kind of evolved and developed into the limbo that has become a staple part of our set now.
Matt: He loves gimmicks; as many weird and wonderful things that we can fit into set that doesn’t involve music, we’ll try to. That’s really cool cause it brings a bit of fun and playfulness to a scene that is a little bit Poe-faced sometimes.
Has Marks exposure on NXT helped the band out at all?
Matt: Oh plenty, wrestling fans love music cause they love entrance themes. Junior is Marks entrance theme so it’s a double whammy.
I’d be a little pissed if I were you guys if he didn’t have his own bands music as his theme…
Matt: So would we! It’s a double whammy of wrestling fans being super stoked on music and one of Marks gimmicks being that he is in a band and also that band is his entrance theme so its double investment. We get loads of wrestling fans going to live events not knowing what pop-punk is and leaving fans, it’s cool.
You’re latest release Veronica shows a different side to Junior’ sound, was this a conscious effort or something that naturally occurred?
Si: I think Matt is the person to talk to on this one…
Matt: I think, um, the thing is we’ve been sitting on that demo for a while now and with what I do in my spare time, I write and record themes for wrestlers so there’s a couple of people on NXT, I’ve done Pete Dunne and James Drake, I’m always trying to write songs. We’ve had this demo for ages, even when we were doing Fall To Pieces, I think it even pre-dates that, but it came to a point we were like ‘think we should release a curveball’ and release something a little different. Doesn’t have to be the direction we go, but I think we needed to release something people don’t expect. We’ve done Fall To Pieces and that’s a pretty standard pop-punk song and then when we tried something a little bit darker. I like to think it paid off, it adds another texture to the live show.
How has it settled into the live set?
Si: We were playing it on tours before we actually released it so it’s been nice to, for one, play it live and get peoples reaction to it before we actually tracked it so we were able to learn from that. It’s gone down real well. It’s nice because its the one people come away and remember the chorus from it. I guess that’s the point, when you write a song you want people to remember it.
Does it mean there is a full length somewhere on the horizon?
Are we looking at a 2017 release?
Matt: The only thing I’d say is, I wouldn’t use Veronica as an indication of the way it’s gonna go. Veronica was purposefully something quite out there, to show what we can do rather what we will, and there might be bits of it in the full release, but we’re writing the record.
Si: The demos sound huge.
Matt: Yeah, we’re really stoked on it. We’ve got a really good team behind us as well which we’re stoked for. We’ll play it by ear, maybe this year, maybe next year.
Well if that last statement isn’t a massive tease then I don’t know what is to be honest. Be sure to give Junior the attention they deserve and swing by their live shows for a spot of limbo.