If you have digested The Independent’s list of 15 bands you should listen to in 2020, you will already know that Junodream is in quite spectacular company. However, the guitar band hailing from Hampshire has faith in their own identity, acknowledging that ultimately the other artists on that list will too. “We’re aware of them all and are happy to be seen in amongst them.” They proclaim as we get to know them better. “It’s been interesting watching people pull the trigger and go for it and release their debut albums. So far, it's been pretty good. Fontaines D.C. has smashed it and has already released their second album. Sports Team entered an album chart battle with Lady Gaga. So no pressure for when we hit album time.”
Consisting of Ed (vocals), Tom (guitar), Dougal (guitar), Will (bass), and Jake (drums), they met at school when they were thirteen and have played music together ever since. “In 2018, after years of much-needed practice, we launched as Junodream. So if you’re new to Junodream, you’ve come aboard at the perfect time.” There were various grounds to form the group, with youthful hopefulness taken the reigns, only for them to strip it down to what truly matters. “Our initial inspirations include every rock and roll star you can imagine: money, fame, girlfriends, boyfriends. We were sold a dream and left bitterly disappointed. On the upside though, we get to focus purely on the music. Probably for the best." they muse.
The quintet classes their sound as British Space Rock as they ponder the significance of sitting in a genre in the industry today: “It depends on how you view yourself fitting within the world of music. For us, we definitely think long-term and have our hearts set on this as a life choice rather than a passing hobby. With that in mind, we appreciate that it’s no overnight success and that you have to earn your way to the top by offering something truly unique. Having our own Junodream sound is really important and something we’ve always been working towards. Otherwise, you can try and clone a current sound and ride the wave in the hope of quick success.” That approach holds no appeal to them.
Current single and first release of the year is Easy Life: weighty, full, and engaging with a little Radioheadesque drama. They reveal, “Lyrically, it's about escaping real life in favour of an online persona. Although it wasn't written about lockdown specifically, there's something in the air right now that seems to fit with the song. Everyone's been living as avatars for so many months now; maybe people will feel more anxious meeting in person than they did before. Maybe people will be more prone to staying inside now, avoiding social situations. It's sort of a cautionary tale, but the ending comes sometime in the future.”
The composition of the track was a mash of ideas where they invited a wider palette of styles into their sound. “Tom came to the rest of us with these lovely chords, inspired by a mellow night playing Hushaby Mountain from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Ed brought over the vocal melody from a (bad) track he was working on and added the lyrics. Dougal then added some much needed melodic finesse and instrumentation to top it off. A cluster fuck of Junodream-ness.”
Creating a neat artistic package, their music videos have a distinct style that suits the band considerably. “That’ll be Ned Botwood. He’s a camera wizard and has the patience of a saint. We’ve all been close friends since our early teens, so there’s always been an understanding between us artistically. In terms of the animations, that’ll be our dear friend Milly McAlister who we met at an early gig of ours. She is also insanely talented, and we’re lucky to be working with her.”
We conclude by considering how lockdown has slammed shut a vast number of creative doors but also has opened some unexpected ones. For Junodream, it gave them precious time to prepare for a record. “Ironically, at the start of the year, we named 2020 as the year of live. Safe to say that plans had to change pretty drastically. BUT, this was no bad thing as we’ve used the time to write and record a ton of material and to finally start thinking about gearing up towards an album.”
Article by Beverley Knight