For The Turnstiles: Junah Interview

Junah are hands down one of Ireland’s most talented bands. Junah have been making music together for a number of years, played some high profile gigs and have released a single in 2009 called ‘Low La Day’. I’m a massive fan of Junah’s mature folk rock sound and their harmonising melodies. Here bassist Rob explains how Junah have developed over the last number of years and discusses the future plans for the band.

Hi Rob, I know Junah has been together for a number of years now. How did you guys form the band and what inspires you to make music together?

The band formed like so many other bands, school friends deciding to have a go at it. Mick, Graham and Tony got together to perform for their leaving cert music practical exams.

Being free from school then it seemed to make sense to keep playing together. I met Mick and Graham in music college and Loik didn’t come along till a few years later. That was a real defining point for us. It finally felt complete.

Making music together just seems to click with us. We have played together so long that we kinda know what will work and what wont. when there’s time to leave space to compliment what you know another band member will do and things like that. its all about working together and complimenting each members abilities.

What’s the Junah sound like? Who would be the main influences for the different members of Junah?

Our sound is directly linked in some way to what we listen to and like. its not that you try to rob other peoples ideas, but they just inspire you to go a certain way. When you finally reach the end you’d struggle to remember or hear the various reference points. Our main influences collectivlly would be The Beatles, Radiohead, Bob Dylan, Oasis and all the usual ones. Each member does have music they like that they know has no time or place within the junah rehearsal room. some secrets are best left that way.

Are there any unsung heroes in your musical career so far that’s had a big effect on the sound or direction of the band?

Not really, everything we’ve achieved with our sound has been our own doing. We’ve met other musicians that have thought us valuble lessons but more on how to act and handle things rather then our sound. Fiachna, Cait and Dave from Prenup come to mind with that. Even more valuble are learning from other bands mistakes. I often see what other bands do and say to myself “dont let that happen to Junah”

Expand on that a little! What would you consider to be the biggest lesson learned so far by looking at other bands mistakes?

Well there are lots of different bands out there, some are great at capturing their image and sound like they look. I’m thinking of bands like Fight Like Apes, O Emperor and Republic Of Loose. While these sound nothing like us and are not what we would consider to be our style. At least they look and sound true to themselves.

I hate when I see artwork for a band that doesnt suit them or they look like they wanna be in another band. Everything we do we try to be true to ourselves and our music. That would be the thing I see some bands do wrong. you just have to be true to your music and make sure that your artwork and online presence does not throw people in the wrong direction from your sound.

What are the main themes or topics in Junah’s songs?

Mick writes all the lyrics, its really his thing and he definitely has his own feel and tone. I have my own views on each song but i’d usually not want to discuss this with Mick as I feel more attached to the song with my own impressions of it.

Its also a case of knowing the song’s meaning can ruin it for you. While the songwriter might have meant one thing, what you get from it will most likely be much more appropriate to you.

What are the current plans for Junah especially in relation to the debut album release scheduled for this year?

The album is our highest priority. We keep getting closer to what we want day by day. We kind of have a agreement that what if we only ever make one album, then we’re gonna make sure its the best album it can be. We could have released this debut album before now but we want a great album. Something that will stand out and be impossible to ignore. Our plan is to keep working at it, but also filming our regular acoustic sessions has been great and we plan more of them. There will be an ep coming out before the album. It’ll be a good way to ease people into what Junah are about.

The recent videos for the songs ‘In Your Time’, ‘Feel Safe’ and ‘Burning in the Hallway’ are of the highest quality. What’s the thinking behind them?

It just strikes me that youtube is were I spend a lot of time finding new music. We thought it would be a good way to build on our fanbase. Some people say the internet makes people not respect music as much and the thrill is not what it used to be when finding new music. I can understand what they mean but for me its such a valuable tool for a band. We love the idea that people can watch these videos all over the world any time they like. We aren’t really gigging much either so its just something for people while we’re focusing on our album.

I see Junah are booked for the Shamrock festival in Co. Cavan. Are there plans to play some more festivals this Summer? Or is there a plan to tour the EP when it’s released?

We’ve been very selective in our gig booking lately. Its only the Shamrock festival on June 5th and The Purple Room in Drogheda on March 18th.
We may be playing more festivals as well, because at the end of the day they’re a good laugh. You’d have to have a good reason to turn down playing in the sun with a few drinks. The EP will be out before the festival time of year and it could be a good time to play more gigs. Touring may be an option but we haven’t put much thought into that yet as its all music and artwork around here at the moment.

Thanks Rob for the interview! I really can’t wait to hear that album which I suspect could be arriving towards the end of 2011 or maybe into 2012. Check out this track recorded recently at The Ruby Sessions.


About Peter444

For The Turnstiles is the Folk Column for 4FortyFour! I'm an experienced maths teacher moonlighting as an unqualified freelance music journalist! I'm also behind the 2UIBestow website. If you're all about folk send me a message mixtape4melfi::at::gmail::com
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