It’s taken Swedish trio Junip more than a decade to release its first full-length CD, “Fields.”
But it’s not that the band members have been goofing off for all that time. Drummer Elias Araya was studying at art school and keyboardist Tobias Winterkorn was working as a teacher. Oh, and Jose Gonzalez was touring the world with his solo act. Such a chaotic schedule made it difficult to find time for recording.
After Gonzalez released his critically acclaimed “In Our Nature” in 2007, the three men made “Junip” a priority. The dreamy, electro-inflected pop of “Fields” will sound familiar to fans of Gonzalez’s solo work, but the band keeps it fresh, not repetitive.
We spoke with Gonzalez about the band.
Because of your solo career, Junip has had to take many breaks over the years. Was there any time you thought that a hiatus might be permanent? I think we weren't dramatic enough to call it quits. Once in a while we talked about getting together and giv[ing] the band a proper try, so I guess we felt that it would happen someday.
You create your songs through group improvisation. Do you have a great “aha! Moment” when you you've hit on something? When we improvise we do get aha! moments all the time and that's when we start recording. But it's only afterwards that we realize if it's crap or gold. We have a lot of gigabytes of crap. We continue working on the sketches and at the last minute I write the lyrics at home.
What made you decide to write lyrics in English as opposed to Swedish? When I started to write when I was 14, I just what everyone else did. It's very common for Swedish bands to sing in English. Swedish felt too direct while English was more enigmatic, but now that aspect is gone since we're touring mainly in English-speaking countries. So now it's only because of habit — we'll see what I'll write in the future.
On the website, you guys discuss each track from the album in detail, but some musicians are reluctant to share that process. What made you open to it? I think it depends on what you're saying about each track. With lyrics I like some sense of mystery, that's why I usually don't explain in detail what I mean. But if you’re talking about anecdotes of the recording sessions or some nerdy facts about our sound then it doesn't matter at all.
Junip is at Irving Plaza Wednesday.
We asked Jose Gonzalez what bands he's listening to:
- Gold Panda
- Little Dragon
- Boy 8-bit
- Tabu Ley Rochereau
Give them a listen here.