Junior Boys hail from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The duo’s music is categorized as electronica indie synth pop. Whatever you want to call them, they are cutting edge and much admired in the techno world. It is the background music to your space flight, or the backdrop to being entrenched in some heavy-duty creative process.
Junior Boys formed in 1999, with original members Greenspan and Johnny Dark. Greenspan and Dark made some recordings, but it was not until 2002 that they caught the attention of KIN records, in the UK. It was then that Dark made his way out of the duo and Matthew Didemus stepped in. Didemus was the band’s engineer. In 2003, Greenspan and Didemus wrote and recorded the first album for the band, titled “Birthday/Last Exit.” It is a four-track EP, and one track features the Austrian guitarist Fennesz.
IN talked to Greenspan at his home in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
“Johnny and I started together, but the majority of the years as a band have been under Matthew’s influence.” Greenspan says. “Our background as kids, teenagers coming up in the 90’s, was industrial-electronic music. We got into the Detroit techno scene. There was an underground music scene happening and all-ages rave parties. Dance music is infectious. It became our roots; we loved the music so much. We were into artists no one had heard of and are not household names like Robert Hood.”
Touring is something this band does rarely.
“We take really long breaks. We are not like a usual band, we have a strange life,” according to Greenspan. “Half of the time, we are in isolation, in Hamilton, living a laid-back lifestyle. Then we decide to tour or make a record. We are kind of like musical reservists, called up to play music and create.”
Junior Boys have traveled all over the United States, Canada and Europe. They have released four albums to date, and are constantly writing new material. In addition, the band has been very busy playing festivals like Pitchfork in Chicago and Coachella in Indio, California.
“Yeah, it is great to play when we do,” Greenspan says. “It is normally three of us on stage: me on keyboards and signing, Matthew on synth and computerizing sounds, and Dale on an electronic drum kit. We keep it simple.”
Greenspan also offered his take on the differences between American and Canadian music scenes.
“We both come at it from different perspectives,” he says. “What amazes me about the American music scene, is the variation of people, it is unbelievable. Although Canada is bigger, the variation of people, from area to area within the country, does not exist as it does in the United States. You can go from Philadelphia to Memphis and there is a gigantic difference in who shows up to hear our music. So for us it is not so much about playing in America, but more where are we playing.”
Greenspan says this about the music scene today: “When you are thirty years or older you listen to the music of your childhood. Seems that much of today’s music has become cheapened, leaving the listeners disillusioned. Live music shows used to be about being really into the music, getting into it, listening and tuning in, now they have been reduced to being seen at the scene.”
The music Greenspan is listening to now would surprise many, current R&B, Wiz Kahlifa, Lil’ Wayne, Detroit artists like Kyle Hall and an assortment of dance music, like Kelley Polar.
Plans beyond tour remain unclear.
“I don’t know,” Greenspan says. “We feel like we completed something when we come off tour. Also, I have been doing some producing.”
Keep an eye out for their next adventure, coming down south to Pensacola’s own Vinyl Music Hall.
The opening band for the Junior Boys at Vinyl is Egyptrixx. Like Junior Boys, Egyptrixx hails from Canada. Toronto, that is. In just over a year, his distinct sound has become an acclaimed presence in underground music. All of his recent recordings are in heavy rotation on BBC Radio 1 and Kiss FM, among others. His unique and energetic shows have been booked all over Europe and North America.
WHAT: Junior Boys with Egyptrixx
WHEN: 9 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 1
WHERE: Vinyl Music Hall, 2 S. Palafox St.
COST: $10 – $12