The five members of Junior Under The Moon have made an EP. It is called My Head At 3am. Ahead of the launch on Saturday, Rob Junior tells us the tale of the band so far.
It started with Jay Junior:
“Junior Under the Moon was started by Jay Junior a couple of years ago as a solo project. He’d been fronting the hardcore band, I Explode Like (IEL) but wanted a change of pace. He was starting to get into soul, jazz and acoustic music. He locked himself away for a few months just finding his true voice but using the skills he’d learned screaming for IEL.
Jay started looking around for a guitarist and that’s where I came in (Rob Junior). We hung out listening to classic records and realised we had loads in common. To top that, Jay showed me some songs he’d written and they just blew me away. I was used to playing in bands where I would write most of the material, but as soon as I heard Jays music, I realised the bar had been raised out of my reach.”
The main purpose of playing music together was for the enjoyment of it:
“Music is never just about the music. We’re friends first and everything comes from that starting point. When musicians hang out, it’s pretty inevitable that someone’s going to pick up a guitar at some point and luckily Jay had all these fully formed songs just ready to go.
In the early days, we didn’t have a solid plan, we just wanted to take our time to get the sound right.
We spent the first six months playing a residency at a video rental store in West Footscray, playing a mix of Junior songs and covers to people who were dropping in to return videos. The guy who ran the place would pay us with free wine. We didn’t care, we were just hanging out and having a blast.”
The early recordings were basic but captured the songs well:
“We started experimenting with recording early on. They were pretty loose, sound wise – it was all put together on a laptop in Jay’s front room –but they had a naive charm. A couple of those early recordings actually ended up being used on the soundtrack to the movie Under A Kaleidoscope. It was this cool film by a Melbourne director called Adison Heath, and was about a guy with agoraphobia who never leaves the house – He takes loads of LSD and creates these little fantasy worlds in his living room. I don’t think the character was based on Jay, but I could see a lot of reflections there.”
Jay Junior is the secret songwriter:
“Junior Under the Moon’s songwriting process is like the Coca-Cola recipe- It’s a closely guarded secret I’m afraid. All I know is Jay disappears for a few days and comes back with these little masterpieces. I think he makes an offering to the Gods in exchange for genius.”
The EP recording process was assembled by Duncan Junior in the country, about an hour or so from Melbourne:
“The EP was recorded at house in the countryside. Our drummer Duncan Junior is also this really talented sound engineer and he converted the house into a studio for a few days. There were wires and equipment all over the place. Jay and Lee Junior (our backup singer) had to sing in the kitchen, while the rest of us played in the living room. The drums, bass and keys were recorded live together in one take.
Once we had the basic tracks down, we spent a fair bit of time doing overdubs and recording the vocals properly, and getting the guitars down.”
The EP, My Head At 3am, is for the listener to decipher as they will:
“I have my own ideas about what Jay’s music means, but I think it’s more fun for people to check it out themselves and let the songs speak to them personally. I think a lot of musicians write exactly because they can’t verbalise their feelings in normal conversations. No one wants to hear a man bleat on about his problems… unless he reframes his problems with poetic words and beautiful music.”
The EP launch is going to be a great end to the recording and production process:
“Hanging out with the Juniors is never dull. We’ve had fun making the EP, but we’re really looking forward to the launch party at Toff in Town on Saturday. We’re being supported by The Valley Ends, this awesome math rock band that we know is going to blow everyone away, and by Harry Brown – a total legend on the Footscray music circuit. I think it’s going to be a massive release once the EP is out and this show is going to be a blast. Lee Junior has been shopping on EBay for the perfect dress.”
The music speaks for itself. It’s not perfect, but it is real:
“The songs feel right. We didn’t play to a click track or auto-tune the crap out of everything, so it sounds human. It sounds like a band playing in front of you, not a laptop.
Yes, there are parts I would change – I am a perfectionist – but I’m not going to point out the errors.”
In the end, it has all been utterly worthwhile:
“There were a couple of moments I had my doubts we would ever release this EP; any band will tell you recording can be a brutal process. I think any group who can get through that process without killing each other and have a CD that plays music that isn’t totally horrible, should feel proud of that accomplishment.
It represents five people, led by one crazy genius, sharing some music with the world.”
Junior Under The Moon launch their EP My Head At 3am this Saturday at the Toff in Town.
Date: Saturday 13 June (8.00pm)
Venue: Toff in Town
Tickets: Moshtix / or on the door